Dear Snarky – Is It a Bad Thing I Turn On My Sprinklers During Trick-or-Treat?

c13c24927c3ab6b0bd965c3e1a893661Dear Snarky,

I’m getting some pretty serious attitude from my neighbors for not being “Halloween friendly” all because last year I turned all my sprinklers on during trick-or-treat. I don’t do Halloween and I thought by having my sprinklers going full blast people would get the hint to not come to my house. How is this a bad thing? One neighbor said it was hostile. Am I in the wrong here?

Signed, Not a Witch

Dear Witch,

Let’s look at this from a kid’s perspective. Sprinklers on equal not squandering my precious candy getting time on your house. So let’s call that not  a bad thing.

 As far as your neighbors are concerned I suggest you, in an effort to not be the witch of the cul-de-sac, abandon your sprinkler attack and just go old school – and by that I mean turn off your freaking lights and get over your bad self.  A dark house is the  traditional sign that nobody is home. Plus you won’t be wasting water. Now get off your broom and go eat a Kit Kat. Maybe that will improve your mood.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice with an Attitude – please email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on my Snarky in the Suburbs Facebook page.

 

Halloween What Happened?

9979003Halloween is so misunderstood. How did an evening devoted to kids, costumes and candy turn into something so controversial schools are banning it? Now, that I’ve asked that question I think I know the answer. In fact, I can give you a timeline that will prove adults ruined Halloween.  Well, really it’s two intersecting timelines.

Give me a second I’m getting woozy here. I’m having a flashback to 9th grade geometry and it’s not pretty. Is it just me or did that last sentence just sound like the makings of a geometry word problem? The whole two lines intersect and form a linear pair blah, blah, blah. Deep breaths, deep breaths. Alright now I’m better, still a little light-headed, but I’m going to power through. So, let’s get back to the original topic – Halloween.

Let’s first examine timeline A that I will label Gruesome Grown Ups. This is where adults have taken Halloween and over the years have turned it from a focus on costumed kids collecting assorted Hershey’s miniatures into hoochie fest that today has swelled and festered into to a downright tramp-a-doodle-do. I’m not saying we all need to shop the Duggar costume collection of Biblical characters at Hobby Lobby, but come on if you’re a 45 year-old-mother it might be time to retire the French Maid Costume with white thigh highs. Same for you dads. Some things you can never unsee like your accountant in a “hottie Scottie mini kilt.”

To prove my point all I need to do is suggest you walk into any Halloween super store which is doing double duty as a wholesale club for Frederick’s of Hollywood and the lair for the criminally insane. It could just be me, but I don’t think the Star Wars and toddler Disney Princess costumes should be next to a life-size bloody female torso. And this is just a personal aside, but can we all just get over Zombies?

Timeline B is Halloween Whiners (also known as anti-Halloweeners). This is where some parents have imagined Halloween to be a sinister celebration. (Can you say over thinking trick-or-treat?) Using anecdotal evidence I will now flesh out a series of events that illustrate the disintegration of Halloween.

October 31, 2001 –  My son at that time was five  and his school embraced a full Halloween environment. Lesson plans included a study of spiders and Sam the Skeleton was used to teach about femurs and fibulas. By the time he was seven due to parental concern over a “ritualistic Satan based event” Halloween was replaced with a Fall Festival. This was basically Halloween without using the H word.

Two years later the Fall Festival gets kicked to the curb and it’s a Story Book Spectacular where kids are required to come as a character from their favorite book. Most parents didn’t so much as ignore the edict but sashay around it by explaining that Spiderman was in a book and just a little fun fact here there are more than 35 children’s books that feature candy corn as a character. How do I know this you may ask? Well, I had a kid that wanted to go as a candy corn for Halloween so I made sure it was book related.

By 2006 due to parents not “following the spirit of the guidelines” Halloween became “Great American Day” and kids were instructed to dress up as their favorite historical figure from the good old U.S. of A. This prompted a PTO throw down due to parents complaining that they now had to do two costumes for their child. One for school and one for Halloween. Also, there were problems with some families being confused over just which historical figures are American. Two kids came as Jesus. (I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these children were both from  the same family that always brought “Jesus is the reason for the season” cookies to the Winter party.)

By 2007 the school staff had given up. No matter what they did parents complained so October 31 became just another day of reading, writing and arithmetic. And who can blame them? It’s the educational equivalent of “so this is why we can’t have nice things.” Schools don’t have the time to waste negotiating the emotional and politically correct minefield that is Halloween.

Using my timeline as empirical data I believe we can blame the take down of Halloween on the  intersection of the Gruesome Grownups and the Halloween Whiners. Yes, indeed folks that’s all it took for a kid centered event to go poof and disappear like someone cast an evil spell of childhood disappointment.

cover_1-3-21* While you’re enjoying stuffing yourself with your children’s Halloween bounty add to your pleasure by purchasing the latest Snarky book for just 99 cents! All treat no tricks I promise. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂

 

Halloween Etiquette

halloween-candy-ecards-someecardsI love Halloween. It’s an event based on candy and that’s something I embrace one fun size Snickers bar at a time. I do, though, have some rules about trick-or-treating. Well, maybe not rules so much. It’s more of a level of standards that I adhere to. The one I enforce with a vengeance is teenagers trick-or-treating. I believe if you’re old enough to vote and serve your country in the Armed Forces it might be time to retire you candy bag. Also, do not come to my door sans costume and tell me you’re going as a “teenager.” This will earn you zero candy but I will give a number two pencil for taking your SAT’s. Sure, I fear these teens, I tick off with my no candy edict, might come back later and exact a little revenge – ie – toilet paper my house. But, that’s why I leave my sprinkler system on all night.

Another thing that yanks my Halloween chain is adults trick-or-treating. Oh, they do it very discreetly or at least they think they are being all sneaky, but no one is fooled. I’m referring to the grown up who is taking a group of kids around and yet has their own candy bag. Scandalous, right? And this is how they do it. As all the kids are opening their bags for the goodie drop the adult scoots their bag into the fray. This is when I stop mid treat release and ask, “Oh my, do you have your own trick-or-treat bag?” I usually get a sheepish grin. My response is to give them, you guessed it, a pencil.

It’s also a parenting fail. What kind of lackluster parental authority do you possess if you don’t have the upper hand in the post trick-or-treat candy dispersal? It should be a given that mom (and dad) get first dibs on some select items from their kid’s treat haul. This negates the need for a parent to shamefully venture out on Halloween with their own candy bag. Also, for the love of sucrose, why wouldn’t the parent just go the store, buy themselves a 70 piece bag of Hershey’s assorted candy for $8.99, then hid the loot  from their family (my go to is the linen closet because God forbid someone I live with changes their own sheets) and secretly enjoy the sensuous pleasure of eating chocolate alone while watching something shameful on Bravo?

Speaking of chocolate, my trick-or-treat standards also apply to the quality and quantity of the confections. Last year, my daughter had to learn a hard lesson about life. She and her friends insisted on leaving their subdivision and venturing off to what they called the “rich neighborhood.” I tried to warn them that the bigger the houses the less candy. Plus, there’s the time suck of having to walk through all of the estate size yards to reach the front door. This really cuts down on your treat haul. They all looked at me like I was crazy. To them it didn’t make sense. Wouldn’t the bigger house signify that all the candy would be king size? All they could think about was saying hello to extra-large Reese Peanut Cups.

Three hours and a half full candy bag later my daughter arrives home crestfallen. She had to begrudgingly admit (oh the horror) I was right. Not only, were most of the homes “dark,” the universal sign of don’t waste your time knocking on this door but the people who were doling out sweets believed in downsizing their caloric offerings or worse, handed out healthy snacks, as in Whole Food soy treats. This is when I unearthed my secret stash of “me” chocolate, topped off her bag and as we unwrapped Kit Kat’s I shared some cold, hard truths about trick-or-treating.

First, you want to stick to our own hood. The people there know you and are going to give you extra candy because they’ve watched you grow up from Disney Princess to Goth Vampire. Two, the more average the neighbor the more above average the candy. This is where the younger families live. They are 100 percent into Halloween. It’s ground zero for full size candy bars or at the very least, four mini candy bars, of your choice. Lastly, big isn’t always better. Just because it looks like someone has the extra income to spend on upgraded treats doesn’t mean they’re going to open their wallets and go full Hershey bar. They might have all their ready cash tied up in stocks or something.

Lucky for me, this time of year all my assets are in chocolate and my savings account is a Costco size bag of candy in the back of my linen closet.

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 

To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

Dear Snarky – The Trick-or-Treat Throwdown

dear_snarky_logoDear Snarky,

My daughter just got bounced from a Halloween trick-or-treating group! 14 kids and six mothers were all going to go together to trick-or-treat. This has been planned since the first of October. All the girls are going as Disney princesses. My daughter is going to be Anna from the movie Frozen. Yesterday, I got a text message from a mom (who organized the trick-or-treating outing) telling me her daughter now wants to go as Anna and since it would be “weird” to have two of the same Disney princesses trick-or-treating together it would be “best if I found another group to go with.”

I’m so angry and upset for my daughter I wish I could do a throw down. How do I even begin to explain this to a six-year-old?

Signed, Can’t Let it Go,

Dear Can’t,

Don’t be angry and don’t, no matter how much you want to, engage in a throw down. Instead be happy, relieved and joyous. You, and your daughter, have been freed from spending Halloween with a bunch of evil, controlling witches. The fact that an adult would be such a freak about Halloween and what costumes kids are wearing, scares me, like a lot. And seriously, pretty much every little girl is going to be trick-or-treating as either Anna or Elsa from Frozen. The mom who sent you that text must have been off her meds.

The way I see it you can do one of two things – pick up the phone and find your daughter another kid or kids to trick-or-treat with or go just as a family and savor the experience. Also, on the plus side, I have found you can cover a lot more trick-or-treating ground when you are with a smaller group.

I would tell your daughter an abbreviated version of the truth, as in her Halloween has just been upgraded, and celebrate the news with a full size Kit Kat bar. As for that texting witch, I would get 48 rolls of toilet paper from Costco and decorate her house with it.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice With An Attitude – email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on my Snarky Facebook page.

Hold On Halloween I’m Coming to Save You!

All you Halloween Hijackers need to cease and desist. Seriously, you better back off trying to mess with my second favorite holiday.

I don’t know how and I don’t care why, but every year it seems more people try to take an awesome celebration that is totally costume and most importantly candy focused and attempt to turn it into a healthy dried apple snack pack, carrot and zucchini stick platter with non dairy ranch dressing dip, pumpkin, gourd and corn festival.

Halloween is not any of those things! It is an extraordinary wonderful time of junk food and flowing costumes that disguise an ever-expanding middle-aged midriff, all experienced under the influence of a sugar high. In other words – perfection. Why, I ask you, do so many people have a problem with that?

Halloween is a huge part of childhood. Doubt me? Then do this little test. Can you remember what you got for your seventh birthday? Probably not. Now, can you remember what you were for Halloween when you were seven? Of course you can. I was a pumpkin. Even back then I was already going for comfort over style. Who needs to wear the tight, skimpy fairy costume when the pumpkin outfit gave me an infinite waistband.

Time for the bonus round. I bet you can even name which neighbors delivered on the good stuff, brand name chocolate bars and which neighbor handed out the disappointing discount flavored caramel nougats.

Now, the Halloween Hijackers are trying to rob our kids of these precious Halloween moments and memories. It saddens me, really I’m having to reach for a tissue and blow my nose, as I think of the millions of young Americans growing up without the childhood touchstone that is Halloween.

Besides the priceless memories what about the educational value of Halloween? The math skills it teaches our children are considerable. There’s the counting, adding, subtracting and grouping and sorting by like characteristics. There’s no better math game than “Dump the Treat Bucket.” What child wouldn’t want to hone their numerical know how than by taking their Halloween candy and using it as a math manipulative.

First you sort, by taking all your candy and grouping it into like piles. For example, Snickers in one pile, Reese Peanut Butter Cups in another. Then you count how much candy is in each pile, proceed to add up the piles, then subtract the candy you just ate from each pile. The game is so much fun it can go on all post trick-or- treat night or until some light weight who “can’t hold their candy” gets a stomach ache.

In fact, the extensive research I’ve done on Halloween participation and how it correlates to increased math aptitude (funded in part by the High Fructose Corn Syrup Lobby) shows that the decline in U.S. math scores can be directly linked to our nations decrease in trick-or-treating. Empirical data shows that in the 1950’s when neighborhood trick-or-treating was at its apex the United States led every developed country in math. Now, as the number of trick-or-treaters has declined precipitously we’re dead last in math scores and second to last in science!

That’s right, we’re the cellar dwellers in the smarty pants Olympics. That information alone should be your rally cry.  It’s go time people. If you’re a good American. If you love this great country of ours then get your kids in a costume and have them work the neighborhood for candy. Nothing less than the future of the United States depends on it!

Be brave and stay strong my Trick-or-Treat Patriots because your biggest enemy in the battle of the “Re-Halloweening of America” is the ever-growing Anti-Candy faction known as the “No Funs.” The No Funs are everywhere. Sadly, I must report they have even infiltrated our schools with their candy free Halloween propaganda.

Children are being encouraged to bring all their candy to school to donate to charity just a mere 36 hours after trick or treating. Notes are being sent home encouraging parents who “allow their child to engage in trick-or-treating” (Please, with the whole “engage in trick or treating” verbiage. The school makes it sound like we’re letting our kids slam back whisky shots.) to hand out non food treats like stickers, rings, pencils and those idiotic rubber band bracelets.

Our enemies in the fight to save Halloween are vast. Almost as lethal as the Anti-Candy faction are the Harvest Hallelujahs. These are the people who are deathly afraid of Halloween. Some feel the holiday is Satan based and promotes evil, others are just haters of sugar infused fun.

They prefer that October 31 be celebrated as a Harvest Festival in a large, well-lit room, gymnasium or hall decorated with corn stalks and uncarved pumpkins. The whole Harvest Festival movement is wrong. Primarily, because October 31 is not about a good harvest that holiday is called Thanksgiving and it comes on the last Thursday in November. This bewildered bunch needs to be stopped.

Yes, I will agree that some Halloween celebrators can be gross. Thank you Costume Express for having the Ob/Gyn costume of “Dr. Feltersnatch” greeting me when I walked into your store with my 10-year-daughter and all the zombie baby stuff is particular disgusting this year.  But, the real reason for the season, the purity of the holiday deserves to be celebrated. Halloween is all about love.

The love of sugar, hydrogenated soybean oil, cocoa butter and red dye # 4.  The love of family that children experience by giving their mother first right of refusal on all Hershey’s miniatures and fun sized bars. Halloween is also about love thy neighbor by being the house on the street that hands out full-sized Snickers bars and not mini bags of baked apple chips.

If we fail in the noble fight to Re-Halloween America I shudder to think what maybe next.  Valentines Day certainly would be on the chopping block. It has chocolate and nude cherubs sure to offend both the Anti Candy Faction and the C.C.T.K.C.C. – “Concerned Citizens to Keep Cupid Clothed.” July 4th would be extinguished because of the excessive use of dairy, specifically sweet, creamy butter in apple pies, ice cream and flag cake frosting. Fireworks would be kaput due to the “Quiet Skies on the 4th Foundation.”

This is it. Halloween is the line in the sand. If we let the forces of No Fun infiltrate and take over Halloween than the sanctity of the American way of life will be forever harmed.  We will have let down our forefathers. We will no longer be a country that lives under the motto of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But a country that functions without fun, without freedom and without festivities. This is why I pledge to be a valiant warrior in “The Re-Halloweening of America” movement.  Our battle cry – Party On! Won’t you join me?