Equality and fairness have been underlying themes in my upbringing. This is owed in part to my mother who valued having happy kids that understood life wouldn’t always favor us. Halloween candy, back in my day, was handed out in amounts that favored the best costume and ranked kids based on perceived effort. Becausw of social and economic factors, she knew not all kids could afford to go all out for treats she could very well buy us at the store. There was no point or value in dressing us up and going out in groups if at the end of the night we all hated each other because of candy counts. This sentiment permeated birthday parties and christmas holidays. We either got a fair share of the prices or got nothing at all!
Learning to share wasn’t easy, especially since accumulating candy and treats can be one of the most competitive environments for children. Every time there was a piñata at a party I would get elbowed in the face or pushed and pulled by the rush of greedy hungry eyed attendees. I had to work hard to earn those treats, device strategies to defend my bounty, and have the scars to prove it! After the dust settled, my mom would grab a stash of my candy and take a few from my cousins to gave treats to the kids left crying, bloodied or injured and empty handed. It was such a beautiful gesture, in retrospect, but I took it to mean I didn’t deserve the candy because I had too much privilege already. The lazy side of me reasoned that working hard was stupid if she would tax me, unfairly, to be fair to the other kids. It took me a while so see that my sister and younger cousins didn’t deserve to be plowed through to get to the candy and were actually not enjoying the experience because of their age and place in the totem pole.
It wasn’t until my teen years that I understood it was better to level the playing field than to beat everyone and then have to redistribute the spoils. If we all banded together we could get more for less effort, which is how we learned to pool resources to eat pizza or order a shake for everyone at Denny’s. The happier we were together, the more we would accomplish. Being selfish didn’t serve us as well as sharing or being fair. I’m grateful my mother didn’t desist and encouraged me to fight for the little guys, even if I didn’t value it at first and took me years to figure out on my own. Those little guys are my greatest allies today and they fight battles with and for me that I never imagined were possible to win.
All these are the reasons why I put treats in bags and make sure they all compliment each other. With allergies and other health considerations, we make the bags heavy on gifts and toys instead of candy giving out pencils, bubbles, airplanes and many other Target and Dollar Tree offerings. For less than the amount of bags of candy, we can hit 100 plus kids with a unique experience. My neighbors love this because the kids get alternatives to candy that they can keep and use right after leaving my door step, gifts that they can trade amongst themselves as they see fit and just. It makes their lives so much easier as they don’t have to ration more unhealthy treats for their offspring.
To us, our effort levels the playing field and lets us prepare in advance to give out treats fairly, per child. Taking a different approach in a saturated market helped us ensure we hit all our targets, were able to hand out treata to all kids of any age, and made our house stand out in an environmet full of competitors. The more kids we get, the happier we feel because we are spreading joy to those who had the bravery to show up at our haunted mansion. 😱 This bag with gifts approach helps us honor the teal pumpkin campaign and gives us good karma. A happy neighbor is a grateful neighbor. Everyone gets the same treatment. We get to enjoy not running out of goodies for the kids by making bags and adjusting for actual trick or treater counts each season.