23 votes

How I miss Halloween and why I'm not handing out candy

Halloween has always been one of my favourite events of the year. I loved dressing up (though we always had to wear a winter coat over our costumes), I loved going trick-or-treating with my friends, and I loved sorting through our pillowcase of loot at the end of the night. I remember entire streets decorated as graveyards and how lively it was with kids everywhere. A few houses down from us, a neighbour set up a haunted house in their garage every year, and it ended with a warm hot chocolate with little marshmallows. We always planned to hit that house when we started getting cold.

When my partner and I starting handing out candy, we were in a relatively newly developed neighbourhood, and had very few kids. We handed out full sized chocolate bars and chips, the best prizes when we were trick-or-treating! We took turns answering the door and just loved to see the costumes. We counted Darth Vaders and witches and whatever was popular that year. It was always a lot of fun.

We stopped handing out candy about two years ago, mostly because I didn't want to get Nestle candy, which was the nut-free stuff that we usually got, and because it felt wasteful. There are a lot of drives right after Halloween where people basically dumped pounds of chocolate (either trading them to their dentist, or using them to make Halloween art). At work, every parent would bring in bags of candy to share. It was honestly just too much, especially considering the individually wrapped plastic. I've also started noticing that everyone is starting to sell plastic "Halloween candy reusable" bags, and I just really dislike that.

We're always looking for an alternative because I still really want to take part in Halloween again. This year, we again decided against handing out candy, and I'm already missing seeing the little trick-or-treators and their costumes, and their joy in getting a little treat.

28 comments

  1. [6]
    somewaffles Link
    Are these not reusable bags like I think they are? It sounds like a good thing. Also, I admire your guys ability to give up something that obviously gives you a lot of joy. Have you told people...

    I've also started noticing that everyone is starting to sell plastic "Halloween candy reusable" bags, and I just really dislike that.

    Are these not reusable bags like I think they are? It sounds like a good thing.

    Also, I admire your guys ability to give up something that obviously gives you a lot of joy. Have you told people your reasons for quitting at all? While I am 100% in line with your reasoning, I can see this being a situation where people would get bent out of shape because they think you're being a buzz kill of some sort.

    11 votes
    1. [4]
      nsz Link Parent
      Reusable bags are only good if you actually reuse them, probably till they fall apart. A plastic bag, while totally wasteful has a far smaller co2 foot print to a reusable bag, it only balances...

      Reusable bags are only good if you actually reuse them, probably till they fall apart. A plastic bag, while totally wasteful has a far smaller co2 foot print to a reusable bag, it only balances out over the bags whole life cycle.

      I doubt a themed Halloween bag would be around for long enough to reach that threshold.

      12 votes
      1. [2]
        ali Link Parent
        I never get the argument with the co2 footprint. Isn't the problem with plastic that it doesn't biodegrade? So the bigger worry is just that you produce this immense waste instead of reusing something

        I never get the argument with the co2 footprint. Isn't the problem with plastic that it doesn't biodegrade? So the bigger worry is just that you produce this immense waste instead of reusing something

        2 votes
        1. nsz Link Parent
          Yeah, that's good point. I would say co2 has the potential to make the world completely unliveable for it's current population, and while plastic waist is shitty, it's still a liveable planet....

          Yeah, that's good point. I would say co2 has the potential to make the world completely unliveable for it's current population, and while plastic waist is shitty, it's still a liveable planet. Though I feel uneasy using that argument because you can justify all sorts of weird behaviour, like you allude to.

          I think a good example of this kind of trade-off is nuclear power, it produces toxic waist that'll remains like that for millennia, but it removes massive co2 producers from the power grid, a net positive in my opinion.

          2 votes
      2. Parliament Link Parent
        I think a sustainable alternative would be pillowcases. That's not good for consumerism though.

        I think a sustainable alternative would be pillowcases. That's not good for consumerism though.

        2 votes
    2. Catt Link Parent
      I think my issue with this is just that it's an unnecessary product. We use to use our pillowcase or whatever bag we had around to go trick-or-treating. I do feel like a bit of a buzz kill on this...

      Are these not reusable bags like I think they are? It sounds like a good thing.

      I think my issue with this is just that it's an unnecessary product. We use to use our pillowcase or whatever bag we had around to go trick-or-treating. I do feel like a bit of a buzz kill on this one. I just see these bags constantly sold for every season.

      Have you told people your reasons for quitting at all?

      Sort of. People who know me, already know. As for the neighbourhood kids, I'm guessing they just assume we're too lazy to hand out candy. Unlike some of the posts I've seen on ~ talking about vandalism, that doesn't really happen where I am. And when the neighbourhood was newer, and there were only a few houses handing out candy, I thought it was more important to participate. Now, a lot of houses put up decorations and hand out candy, so I don't feel as bad.

      5 votes
  2. [5]
    Thrabalen Link
    It's been easy for us... the kids on the street have grown into teenagers and adults, and there's just so few kids of T-o-ting age that it's not really worth the bother. Mostly, I just stopped...

    It's been easy for us... the kids on the street have grown into teenagers and adults, and there's just so few kids of T-o-ting age that it's not really worth the bother.

    Mostly, I just stopped "feeling" Halloween about a decade ago. It just felt like "kids in store-bought costumes going up to store-bought decoration laden houses and getting store bought candy", and it kind of ruined it for me.

    7 votes
    1. [4]
      Catt Link Parent
      I totally get that, a lot of uniqueness has been eroded over the last few years. I don't mind seeing store-bought costumes, but everyone having the same decorations handing out the same candy is a...

      I totally get that, a lot of uniqueness has been eroded over the last few years. I don't mind seeing store-bought costumes, but everyone having the same decorations handing out the same candy is a bit sad.

      I would love to start handing out baked goods, but it's just so much more work, and I know most parents will toss them.

      5 votes
      1. [3]
        Archimedes Link Parent
        Is there something else that you could hand out that would be fun? It doesn't have to be edible. I don't know... stickers maybe? Homemade toys/decoration?

        I would love to start handing out baked goods, but it's just so much more work, and I know most parents will toss them.

        Is there something else that you could hand out that would be fun? It doesn't have to be edible. I don't know... stickers maybe? Homemade toys/decoration?

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          Catt Link Parent
          I'm always looking for an alternative. Having really come up with a good one yet. We try to avoid most cheap plastic toys. Not sure what homemades things I can give out. Briefly thought about...

          I'm always looking for an alternative. Having really come up with a good one yet. We try to avoid most cheap plastic toys. Not sure what homemades things I can give out. Briefly thought about little photo shoots with the Polaroids that are making a come back.

          2 votes
          1. Archimedes Link Parent
            That would be cute to give them a physical photo of themselves that they could keep.

            That would be cute to give them a physical photo of themselves that they could keep.

            3 votes
  3. [2]
    randomcoder Link
    I used to carve pumpkins, if I was feeling up to it, setup some motion sensor or something to add to the fun of my front porch. I didn't hand out the big candy, mostly because I knew I couldn't...

    I used to carve pumpkins, if I was feeling up to it, setup some motion sensor or something to add to the fun of my front porch. I didn't hand out the big candy, mostly because I knew I couldn't trust myself with that much candy in the house, but still, I looked forward to seeing all of the costumes and creativity, especially from the young ones.

    Something changed around my house though. Kids didn't seem to be trying as hard, they were no longer characters, even totally made up by the kid. Now if I ask "who are you?", I'll get a grunt or "dunno, just a thing I threw together". They just want the free candy and that's it.

    Maybe I'm just older and less approachable to the kids, but whatever it is, it's not as fun as it used to be. Last year my porch light was off, and I'll probably keep it off this year too.

    6 votes
    1. Catt Link Parent
      Haha, I do find I don't recognize a lot of the costumes nowadays and have to ask. Usually the kids seem up for explaining it though.

      Haha, I do find I don't recognize a lot of the costumes nowadays and have to ask. Usually the kids seem up for explaining it though.

      1 vote
  4. [5]
    tomf Link
    Bottled water, while still wasteful, is actually something the kids could use for their sugar-begging trek. The bottles are recyclable, etc etc, and you're not contributing to big-dental's plan to...

    Bottled water, while still wasteful, is actually something the kids could use for their sugar-begging trek. The bottles are recyclable, etc etc, and you're not contributing to big-dental's plan to give kids cavities. :)

    4 votes
    1. [4]
      Catt Link Parent
      Not a bad idea, but for myself personally, I won't buy bottled water (especially knowing less than 10% of our recycling is actually recycled). I remember we use to get apples and such when...

      Not a bad idea, but for myself personally, I won't buy bottled water (especially knowing less than 10% of our recycling is actually recycled).

      I remember we use to get apples and such when trick-or-treating as kids, but I believe they'll likely be tossed nowadays.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        tomf Link Parent
        yeah, there's no really way to do a low-waste halloween... unless you give out Stanley thermoses.

        yeah, there's no really way to do a low-waste halloween... unless you give out Stanley thermoses.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          Catt Link Parent
          yeah, that's the dilemma. This year has been super busy for us, so we didn't get around to it, but I would like to set up a bit of a station of some sort in my garage next year so that kids with...

          yeah, that's the dilemma. This year has been super busy for us, so we didn't get around to it, but I would like to set up a bit of a station of some sort in my garage next year so that kids with their parents can come by, sit and build a little something or take a picture or something like that. Just to warm up a bit and have some coco maybe.

          2 votes
          1. tomf Link Parent
            oh man, a photobooth-like setup would be a huge hit with minimal waste. Cocoa would also be fantastic. We always have the crappiest weather of the season on Halloween. Right now its a torrential...

            oh man, a photobooth-like setup would be a huge hit with minimal waste. Cocoa would also be fantastic. We always have the crappiest weather of the season on Halloween. Right now its a torrential downpour.

            On my block I am about one of six or seven homes giving out candy. The kids still show up with a lot of candy, but its nothing like it was in the 80s -- though, that could be a question of scale.

            2 votes
  5. [5]
    Greg Link
    Have you thought about homemade treats? Rocky road, rice crispy squares, cookies, even homemade fudge - all super tasty, good fun & fairly easy to make, and you can choose the ingredients to...

    Have you thought about homemade treats? Rocky road, rice crispy squares, cookies, even homemade fudge - all super tasty, good fun & fairly easy to make, and you can choose the ingredients to exactly fit your needs.

    Wrap 'em in wax paper to hand out, take any leftovers to work the next day, and you've made a lot of people's days with ethical ingredients and zero non-recyclable waste.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      timbertop Link Parent
      Unless you give them to the kids next door whose parents know you, nobody will eat these. They would be tossed as soon as the kid gets home. Unfortunately single serve candies in plastic are...

      Unless you give them to the kids next door whose parents know you, nobody will eat these. They would be tossed as soon as the kid gets home.
      Unfortunately single serve candies in plastic are wasteful, but they are safe for kids with allergies. Some kids are allergic or sensitive to trace amounts of food that you wouldn't expect.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        Greg Link Parent
        That's a shame... I'd expect maybe one or two where the kids are at risk & parents wouldn't want to risk taking your word for it, but I'd have thought the vast majority wouldn't have allergies. I...

        That's a shame... I'd expect maybe one or two where the kids are at risk & parents wouldn't want to risk taking your word for it, but I'd have thought the vast majority wouldn't have allergies.

        I suppose homemade might just "look less safe" than mass produced in general, regardless of allergies or lack thereof, but I figured if you're literally taking candy from strangers anyway, something clearly wholesomely homemade wouldn't be an issue.

        Edit: for what it's worth, this is all hypothetical for me anyway! Flats in London don't really lend themselves very well to trick or treating.

        3 votes
        1. timbertop Link Parent
          Unfortunately here in North America, food safety is a big scary liability for people. It isnt even just allergies. What if someone made something and their kitchen isnt clean? What if they have...

          Unfortunately here in North America, food safety is a big scary liability for people. It isnt even just allergies. What if someone made something and their kitchen isnt clean? What if they have mice in their place? What if the apples they used weren't washed properly?
          I can go on and on and on... Generally homemade foods are not recieved well here. There is too much of a variety in food safety knowledge and kitchen cleanliness when it isnt an inspected kitchen.

          What I find even weirder now is the whole "Trunk or Treat" thing they do in the USA. Instead of going door to door, people decorate their cars in a parking lot and you go from car to car. Like a candy tailgate. So odd.

          4 votes
    2. Catt (edited ) Link Parent
      Yes definitely. But, where I am, it won't get eaten. Parents will toss them out. Though about just setting up a table in my garage with baked goods and sitting out there with it to explain what's...

      Yes definitely. But, where I am, it won't get eaten. Parents will toss them out.

      Though about just setting up a table in my garage with baked goods and sitting out there with it to explain what's in them and all that.

      2 votes
  6. [5]
    Tau_Zero Link
    A friend of mine gave trick-or-treaters a choice last year between candy and small Play-Doh tubs. The Play-Doh was a huge hit, even with older kids that I would have expected to think it's lame.

    A friend of mine gave trick-or-treaters a choice last year between candy and small Play-Doh tubs. The Play-Doh was a huge hit, even with older kids that I would have expected to think it's lame.

    3 votes
    1. [4]
      Catt Link Parent
      I was think little toys like Lego one year, but it would either be too expensive, or just cheap plastic toys. Still on the look out for something like that though.

      I was think little toys like Lego one year, but it would either be too expensive, or just cheap plastic toys. Still on the look out for something like that though.

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        ali Link Parent
        This might be a super far fetched idea but what about some of these : https://www.aliexpress.com/item/-/32819683968.html The ESP8266 is a small micro controller. You could hand these out along...

        This might be a super far fetched idea but what about some of these :

        https://www.aliexpress.com/item/-/32819683968.html

        The ESP8266 is a small micro controller. You could hand these out along with an led and a small printed guide how to make an led blink

        3 votes
        1. Catt Link Parent
          I really like this idea, and I actually have a lot of LEDs from various projects. Will definitely consider for next year. Thanks!

          I really like this idea, and I actually have a lot of LEDs from various projects. Will definitely consider for next year. Thanks!

          2 votes
        2. Akir Link Parent
          On the same train of thought, it would be interesting to give out little booklets of low-cost entertainment ideas in the same vein as The Dangerous Book for Boys. But you'd probably get dirty...

          On the same train of thought, it would be interesting to give out little booklets of low-cost entertainment ideas in the same vein as The Dangerous Book for Boys.

          But you'd probably get dirty looks from people who think you're giving them bible tracts. 😥