Carina has been typing on the internets before there was a www in front of everything. This is why she’s cranky and wants to know when you’ll get off her lawn. She resides in a hopelessly outdated home in the Mountain West with a mathematician and three children hell-bent on destruction. Her laundry is not done, but her Twitter is totally up to date. Carina does not have a Tumblr, because get serious.

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Don’t Ruin Regular Halloween

Alright, remember when we were kids and those stories went around about razor blades in apples being handed out as Halloween treats? And how we were conditioned to turn down any candy that wasn’t factory wrapped because it could be poisoned? We all understand that that’s nonsense now, right? Nobody even uses razor blades anymore! Oh, you know a guy who knows a girl who found a razor blade in an apple? That was probably a hoax.

But check your elementary school newsletters and hysterical helpful local news shows and you’ll hear the reminder to accept only properly processed and wrapped treats. What a load. I realize the irony of saying that we’re being scared into ruining regular, normal Halloween, but doesn’t it feel like we’re trying to make something safer that wasn’t ever dangerous?

Some parents are so terrified by the idea of poisoned candy or freaky neighbors that they organize Trunk-or-Treats.



Most of the Trunk-or-Treats I’ve known are held by suburban parents in middle class areas whose children are more in danger of being helicoptered to death than subjected to a bad trick-or-treating neighborhood. Are there exceptions? OF COURSE (like the Trunk-or-Treat I attended in the parking lot of a homeless shelter…for the homeless children.) I’d got so far as to say that 90% of Trunk-or-Treats are complete B.S. Chances are that your neighborhood is perfectly safe. No, really. And you know what makes it even safer? When you choose to walk with your kids trick-or-treating and meet your neighbors. Yes, walking around your neighborhood and visiting the houses of the people you ought to know anyway makes for a safer 364 days of the year.

Does you child want to go trick-or-treating with their friends? I have no opinion on that. I’m not your kids’ mom. My kids either aren’t big enough or are just stupid enough to need me to walk with them. The most dangerous thing that could truly happen on Halloween is to have a car hit your baby, and that’s why I’m supervising our walk.

AND YOU, with your keys in your hand on the way to Costco to buy the same stinking mixed candy bag as everyone else on the planet, knock it off. Branch out. Get something that isn’t the same as everyone else. Hey, if you want to, you could even decide that you don’t want child slaves making your Halloween treats.

This year I’m even considering handing out homemade treats. Vegan carob bars. I kid, I’m not that militant (yet.) Part of me wants to go homemade just for the horror and uncertainty. Can you imagine the pure fear that will over come some hyper-vigilant mother when her darlings Braxtonia and Haizlee dump out the usual suspects…and then the terrifying specter of a clearly homemade, plastic-wrapped square of rice krispy treat emerges? Positively ghoulish, I tell you.

Tell me, are you as sick of the silly hysteria over Halloween as I am? Do you think we need to calm down and handle trick-or-treating the same way as when we were growing up? What are your deep feelings about Trunk-or-Treats?

Plus, whatever happened to pillowcases?




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Comments (42)

  1. Dylan 10/20/2012 at 6:42 pm

    I Hate trunk or treats they ruined my sons halloween last year! He dressed up like a zombie and worked on his special FX costume for hours and when i offered to help he said no no im going to do this myself. I was so proud of him and we live in Alabama by the way. Nobody was trick or treating or home. ALL AT A TRUNK OR TREAT CHURCH! I was tempted to dress him up as the devil or let him go as a zombie to the trunk or treat and show those nuts they wont ruin it for him. In the end we went to his grandparents house and just ate a bag of candy and hamburgers. Screw trunk or treats and all this overreacting about “Poison”.

  2. Leisha Mareth 11/02/2011 at 4:11 pm

    I vote homemade. My elderly neighbor made homemade caramel corn last year which was rejected by the mommy mafia. I went back for seconds. Also, my children (of their own free will and choice) brought pillow cases for bags this year. I feigned embarassment but was secretly delighted.

  3. Home Haunter 11/01/2011 at 6:03 am

    I agree with you 100%. I grew up in a small town in southeast TX, and every year the school would have its fundraising Halloween carnival, ( which is now called the fall festival) and we would go door to door trick or treating. I have fond memories of the houses where the owners would go all out to give a litttle or a lot of spooky ambience and a little scare to the kids. I try to recreate that spirit for the kids that t.o.t. at my house. I also grew up in the Baptist church where the holiday was chastised as the Devil’s holiday. Now I’m older, have a child of my own, and there’s nowhere to trick or treat except the churches. The hypocrisy kills me. I still decorate and for a few years I still held vigil for some t.o.t.s. granted I never got that many. But those that I did get went away with heaping handfulls of good chocolate candys and such. Now, I live less than a block away from a church that does trunk or treat for halloween. So that means, no t.o.t.s. I sucked it up last night and went with my son and wife, our friend and his son. Pure crap. I don’t need to see bible verses while trick or treating, nor do I need to stand in line so my kid can get one dum dum sucker from the goody good parishiner. That is not trick or treating. Hell, I don’t think I heard one kid utter the phrase. Next year I’m going to go scout around until I find a neighborhood that actually still has door to door and take my son there.

  4. Susan 10/31/2011 at 11:15 pm

    We used to get tons of kids at our house and we loved it! I also loved to take our kids out trick or treating while my husband stayed home to hand out candy. It was a great way to meet neighbors. A few years ago the kids suddenly seemed to disappear. Hardly any trick or treaters, and half of the ones we got looked old enough to drive. Where did all the cute little kids go? Well, the local wards started Trunk or Treat. Maybe I’m too sensitive, living in Utah and not being Mormon, but I felt kind of…left out. Like the parents didn’t want to expose their kids to neighbors who aren’t “members”. Someone please tell me I’m wrong.

  5. Laura 10/31/2011 at 1:32 pm

    I am annoyed when people ruin “regular” Halloween, but we have a trunk or treat at our church every year, I’m not sure if it was the “safety” factor that started it, I think it was just to try it out. The members of our church are spread out between 4-5 different cities and so it’s fun to see our friends kids costumes and give them goodies. The kids have so much fun, that we do it every year. How about this…Just embrace it and take your kids trick or treating twice. We take our daughter to the truck or treat (usually not planned on Halloween night) and around the neighborhood. Just because it’s fun! 😉

    As far as the razor blades and poison…I totally remember that rumor! Once, we had a guy that gave out apples and said “Be careful when you eat it… Wa ha ha ha!” It was awesome.

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  7. Polly 10/26/2011 at 6:00 pm

    When we were kids (in a rural farming area) we were driven to all the old ladies homes so they could ooh and ahh over our costumes and give us homemade treats. Then we went to the carnival at the elementary school where there were all sorts of games and fun and best of all trick-or-treating from classroom to classroom. This again was because there were miles and miles between neighbors.

    When I was in middle school my parents moved to a suburban area and my girlfriends had a lot of fun introducing me to the joys of a “real” halloween.

  8. Clisty 10/26/2011 at 10:47 am

    Right as I was about to take the kids to the fabric store for some hallo material for pillowcases…we saw the BIGGEST candy bags at Cracker Barrel for $.99. I caved.

    Long licorice ropes or cans of soda at our place. My dream is to do hot dogs and cider out of the garage.

  9. cardine 10/25/2011 at 6:46 pm

    Yeah, last year there was a church trunk-or-treat for my neighborhood. I went to it and handed out candy. And then the parents took their kids out trick-or-treating to the neighborhood, so I ended up giving treats to the same kids as I did at the trunk-or-treat. It was really weird, especially because I couldn’t say “Cute costume!” the second time. Instead it was like an awkward, “Hello, again.”

  10. whitneyingram 10/25/2011 at 3:20 pm

    Braxtonia and Haizlee? You just made my day in so many ways.

  11. Christy 10/25/2011 at 2:36 pm

    A sweet old lady in my parents’ ward made popcorn balls every year for like 50 years in a row. They were SO good and by far my favorite Halloween treat ever, and I only found a razor blade in one of them.

    Also, while we’re grouching about stupid Halloween things …
    Dear people in my town,

    Please trick or treat in your own damn neighborhood. Your huge long line of cars up and down the streets in my in-laws’ “fancy” neighborhood makes it less safe for the kids who actually live there, and make the people there feel obligated to buy quadruple the candy to accommodate the influx of kids from other neighborhoods. Come on. Stay home and meet your own neighbors. Candy is candy.

  12. Kalli 10/25/2011 at 1:18 pm

    Emily leave the name and address of your husbands office if you’re in UT COUNTY, I will gladly donate and maybe bring my kid in too.

  13. Emily 10/25/2011 at 10:28 am

    I only want a trunk or treat if Halloween falls on Sunday. My husband would NEVER sanction Sunday trick-or-treating, though I’m sure I could find a way to justify it for myself.
    This year our ward is doing a Trunk or Treat on Halloween night and I’m a little annoyed. Honestly…there is no point.
    HOWEVER, I will be in attendance to hand out glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth, business cards, and flyers for my husbands “Candy Buy-Back” at his new pediatric dental office. (Don’t hate—it’s cheep advertising.)

    Here is our (Dentist-Dad mandated) Halloween rule:
    The night of Halloween, the boys can eat as much as they want. (Occasionally leading to vomiting.) The next day, they sell back (whatever is left) to us for a nickel a piece.

    Then we take them to the dollar spot (formerly 100yen store) and they buy a new toy. They get a toy and it’s better for their oral and physical health. Win/win/win.
    (And I get to eat their Twix. Win.)

    This year, we’re doing the buy back on a large scale so we’ll be donating the candy to our friends who are currently deployed to Afghanistan. They give it to the little Afghan kids who actually need the fat and calories.

  14. Jillybean 10/25/2011 at 9:58 am

    One of my earliest memories of Halloween was watching my parents make taffy to hand out to the trick or treaters. My dad was wrapping the candy in wax paper as fast as my mom was handing it out to the kids.
    I have never been to a Trunk or treat, however, from what I’ve heard from my friends is that the kids go to each of the cars until the candy is gone, then they go home and go trick or treating.
    I like going out with my kids because I get to talk to some of our neighbors that we don’t always get to chat with.
    The people in our neighborhood give out really good treats, one older couple dresses up as a witch and a vampire and hand out hot cider and doughnuts.
    We have carloads of kids that come to our neighborhood from who knows where to get in on the goodies.

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  16. Sue M 10/25/2011 at 6:58 am

    I have a hard time not feeling superior to people who still believe those old tropes about razor blades in Halloween candy.

  17. Amy Allen Johnson 10/25/2011 at 12:26 am

    Am I evil as I trick my kids into “training” for trick-or-treating? My kids used to love endless hours of walking/exploring the neighborhood with me. Now, if we go past the school, it’s like the world is coming to an end. I have some specific old people friends who adore my kids and they don’t all live in a row. So we’re into endurance training with all 3 kids, up and down the hills, not just one street and then on 10/31, I’ll tell them it’s not all about the candy.

  18. Sarah Penrod 10/24/2011 at 8:47 pm

    Amen, er…right on! It’s such a big ordeal here in Utah when Halloween falls on a Sunday. It’s ridiculous. Remember the Berenstein Bears Trick or Treat, when the cubs go out on their own and while scheming to pull some pranks on old Ms McGrizz, she invites them all inside for homemade candy apples? Although I was never allowed to go inside houses and my parents always wanted to see my candy first, but it was so that they could get the good stuff!

  19. Deborah 10/24/2011 at 8:30 pm

    I used to take my Return of the Jedi pillow case out with me. A heavy cloth sack just *feels* better than a heavy plastic container. Like my own private Santa bag.

    And the razor blades? Yeah, we got official warnings about it during elementary school . . . as if police couldn’t locate the culprit. Hundreds of kiddos would have memorized the face of the fool who handed out fruit.

  20. Miggy 10/24/2011 at 6:11 pm

    Haizlee…that is dead. on.

    Goodness…lets see…I don’t think my parents ever checked for that kind of stuff. Shoot, they also let me walk out of the house at midnight to go TP-ing when I was in middle school with the only rule being “If you get caught we don’t know you”, so perhaps they were a little too relaxed. But still… yes I think it’s silly to be concerned about razor blades and such.

    Trunk or Treats. We’ve only attended ones put together by our local church (that would be “ward” for all your Mormons). In that context I like it as I think it’s geared more towards younger children and parents who don’t want to spend 2 hours in chilly weather for all of six houses. If it was a neighborhood thing I’d be totally opposed.

    And pillowcases? Sure, why not.

  21. annie (the annilygreen one) 10/24/2011 at 4:25 pm

    of course trunk or treats are dumb, but i love them because they’re so easy! and they have an end. it’s hard to convince my daughter that we can’t keep going endlessly to house after house until she collapses. but we CAN run out of cars in the parking lot. 🙂

  22. Momoko Fritz 10/24/2011 at 4:11 pm

    Haizlee. Ha!

  23. ANDREA LANIER 10/24/2011 at 12:25 pm

    Funny…I am hosting a Halloween party. I live in rural Texas. We will be doing trunk or treat AND a pinata…AND candy and cupcakes and chili…hot apple cider…cheesecake and anything else that people bring !
    Some of the adults will be dressing up in costume as well.
    Love it all !!!

  24. Cynedra 10/24/2011 at 12:24 pm

    I love this post and I love the comments. It is so nice to know that I am not the only person who feels that way have Halloween inflation and trunk or treats. I can’t fathom, in most circumstances, how trunk or treats can be safer. Of course, we only trick or treat in our neighborhood and not some place we don’t know so we know what houses we’ve been to (and so on and so forth). I will admit that my children do not get to eat all their candy – primarily because my oldest does not tolerate foods with Red Dye in them. Other than those, it is fair game though.

    Thank you for writing this.

  25. Stephanie Porter 10/24/2011 at 10:47 am

    This post made me giggle. Me gusta.

  26. Zina 10/24/2011 at 10:45 am

    Oh, I did mean to say that I think trunk-or-treat’s a great idea for people who live in (as justjayma says) rural areas or areas where most people don’t turn their lights on or give out treats. It’s just that so many people who don’t have those circumstances seem to think we need it, too.

    Also I have realized before that in my anti-Halloween-inflation stance I am something of a Halloween Grinch–which is a pretty funny concept.

  27. Zina 10/24/2011 at 10:41 am

    I’m fully in agreement with you about trunk-or-treating; every year someone seems to suggest it and every year, if I’m in hearing, I say some as-polite-as-I-can-muster version of “IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT.” With the supporting argument of “What could be more lovely than the little kids walking around the neighborhood and knocking on all the older folks’ doors?” But the people who bring up the trunk-or-treating can’t be permanently talked out of it; somehow they just can’t let it go. One year some of the trunk-or-treat enthusiasts got us to have a ward one on a *different* night than Halloween. This in addition to (and as part of) the full-scale Halloween party with carnival games, a cupcake walk, etc. Even without the trunk-or-treating, the Halloween party is always too long, too loud, and too chaotic for anyone but the kids to enjoy it (and about half the kids have meltdowns). And nobody who doesn’t have to be there (i.e. anyone whose church calling doesn’t require it, or who’s not a parent of young kids) comes to the party.

    I love Halloween–love dressing my kids in cute costumes, love walking around the neighborhood with them–and have been absolutely thrilled that someone finally had the common sense to move the Daylight Savings time change to *after* Halloween (so it’s less dark and cold for trick-or-treating) but I’m fiercely opposed to the kind of Halloween inflation that has my kids’ costumes coated in lollipop juice, melted chocolate, and blue frosting long before the actual holiday. Some years I’ve even had to throw together extra costumes other than their “real” ones because their real costumes weren’t finished in time for the ward party.

    So this year I was thrilled that our ward had a fall social instead of a Halloween party.

    And then one of the moms felt sad we didn’t have a ward Halloween party and has organized one herself. To each her own, I guess–but I just don’t understand. The party’s on the same afternoon as my sister’s annual pumpkin carving party, so my kids won’t be going, but I hope my kids don’t find out and hold it against me.

    • Carina Wytiaz 10/24/2011 at 11:35 am

      I am wholeheartedly against such silly Halloween inflation. Just thinking about the planning and execution of such things exhausts me.

  28. justjayma 10/24/2011 at 10:30 am

    I’ve never thought of the Trunk or Treats being because they are safer. I attend trunk or treats because we live in a rural area, with 5-10 miles between neighbors. We have no neighborhood.

    • Carina Wytiaz 10/24/2011 at 11:27 am

      See, and that’s why I said there are legitimate reasons for a trunk or treat! I know nothing of your wild and special rural ways. Educate me!

  29. FoxyJ 10/24/2011 at 10:06 am

    I hate Trunk-or-Treats with a passion. How is a bunch of kids walking around a dark parking lot full of cars any safer than walking around your neighborhood? Really? Plus it feels like the only focus is just to get candy, not to meet people or to have fun. I could do without the Most places I’ve lived it also works out that the people in the neighborhood are at the Trunk-or-Treat, so it’s just pointless.

    Last year at church we had a Halloween party that did not include any sort of candy giveaways or trunk-or-treat. I like that; personally, I could live without the party. We never had that growing up and I still felt like I got plenty of celebrating from the school party/parade and trick-or-treating at night.

  30. Jessi 10/24/2011 at 10:02 am

    Why do you have to hate on trunk or treats??? They rarely take place on Halloween. I like to think of it as a fun way to get a little extra costume time in for my kids. : )

    Pillow cases…yes! I cannot stand that a lot of costumes have a special treat bag to match. Nothing tops a pillowcase, especially since you can fit a ton more candy using one.

    Enjoyed this post! Thanks!

    • Carina Wytiaz 10/24/2011 at 11:29 am

      I hate them ESPECIALLY when they are on a different night than Halloween. Another night of hauling kids in costumes somewhere? Giving them MORE candy? Having to see the same people three days later during regular trick or treating? I need to pass.

      How about we just agree to not tell MY kids that there’ll be a trunk or treat?

  31. Leslie 10/24/2011 at 9:43 am

    We do both a trunk or treat AND trick or treat around the neighborhood. Our trunk or treat with our ward is never on Halloween. It’s like a few days before or week before usually. I’m all for a chili cook off and parade of adorableness! The sad thing last year was when we took the kids around our neighborhood a lot of people had their lights turned off. Sad. But we went over to my Mothers neighborhood and hit that up too!

    And I’ll take your rice krispy treats any day. Those are my favorite!

  32. Laura--The Sushi Snob 10/24/2011 at 9:04 am

    Oh dear, I haven’t gone trick-or-treating in years. I though Trunk-or-Treats were exclusively a ward party thing, but seriously?!

    Now that I’m expecting baby #1, I probably should think about this. Perhaps I’ll do the homemade thing too…just for some shock value. Oh man, what is this world coming too if homemade treats are contraband?

  33. Rachael Herrscher 10/24/2011 at 8:47 am

    It’s all fun and games until someone gets helicoptered to death. You can make some subway art for pinterest out of that one!

  34. Kalli 10/24/2011 at 8:26 am

    And you are welcome for Haizlee.

  35. sarah k. 10/24/2011 at 7:57 am

    I’m thinking of giving out homemade beef jerky. Marinated in pepper spray, of course.

  36. von 10/24/2011 at 7:30 am

    PILLOWCASES!!! I forgot about that. So making my kids do that this year.

  37. Michelle L. 10/24/2011 at 7:21 am

    I agree 100%. Walking around the neighborhood, talking to the old people meeting the new– it’s the best. And yes, I also let my kids keep their candy and actually EAT it.