Occupy Halloween! Hand Out HOMEMADE Treats This Year!

Hi Readers — It occurs to me that maybe the best way to fight Halloween paranoia is with cookies.

Start with the fact that there hbhhsfitba
has NEVER been a case of children poisoned by a stranger’s candy on Halloween
. That’s according to University of Delaware sociologist Joel Best, who has studied the urban myth since 1985. Nonetheless, the advice we ALWAYS hear is to “check your child’s candy for tampering,” and treat homemade goodies like radioactive waste. All of which is based on the belief that we are quite likely surrounded by psychopathic child killers  (who hold it in till Oct. 31st).

But that idea isn’t just wrong,  it’s corrosive. Start thinking of your nice neighbors as potential killers ONE day a year and how are you supposed to trust them the REST of the year? It begins to seem just plain prudent to treat everyone as evil, especially where our kids are concerned.

Result? A society where we don’t let our kids roam the neighborhood, interact with adults or do much of anything on their own. It just seems “too dangerous.” All adults are creeps and killers until proven otherwise.

So this year: Let’s prove otherwise.

Let’s be like “The Fudge Lady” my friend Kelley remembers from her childhood Halloweens. Along with her fabulous fudge wrapped in Saran Wrap, the lady included her phone number. Anyone worried could call  her, thus taking the terror out of the treat.

Do the same and anyone who is worried can call us. We can chat with them, explaining that we want  to spread community (and cookies). And we can remind them that even though it seems strange to get a homemade treat, we are part of the the 100% of people who have never poisoned a child on Halloween. — L.

By the way: Witches aren't a real threat, either.

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161 Responses to Occupy Halloween! Hand Out HOMEMADE Treats This Year!

  1. gina October 29, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    How lovely! 🙂

  2. kimberly michelle (@kim_michelle) October 29, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!!! 🙂 Off to print little calling cards now!

  3. RobynHeud October 29, 2011 at 12:32 am #

    We’re making vegan oatmeal-cranberry cookies (my husband’s recipe and soooo delicious) to hand out at the trunk or treat at our church. One of my favorite trunk or treat stations from a couple of years ago was a woman handing out hot apple cider. I’ll take the homemade treats over the candy any day!

  4. Matthew E October 29, 2011 at 12:33 am #

    I have taken to handing out comic books instead of candy on Hallowe’en. This is because a) I like comic books, and b) you can only eat a piece of candy once, but you can read a comic book as many times as you want. It’s gone over big the last couple of years. So I support the homemade-treats idea but I’m sticking with my current practice.

  5. Momof2 October 29, 2011 at 12:36 am #

    My favorite was always the homemade popcorn balls!!! 🙂

    Should hear the chatter and flack I’m getting for mentioning I’m going to let my 10- and 6-year-olds go it alone this year. “But the weirdos out there.” It’s almost as bad as talking politics.

  6. Cara October 29, 2011 at 12:40 am #

    Love this idea! Next year (when I’m not 8 months pregnant and about to move so all my stuff is boxed up) I am definitely going to do this and print a little card with this study’s link and maybe a little something about how many regular candy manufacturers employ child slave labor in Africa to get their chocolate.

    I remember a few years ago my dogs got out one morning. A kind neighbor grabbed them and called me. To say thank you I baked them a cake and brought it over one afternoon. The level of suspicion was incredible! I’m pretty sure they threw the cake straight in the garbage. Too bad . . . it was a really good cake!

  7. Kristi October 29, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    Two Halloweens ago, my daughters and I made “Bloody Eyeballs” and “One-Eyed Purple People Eaters” (cake pops) to pass out. It was a huge hit and we plan on doing it again this year.

    My husband had dire predictions of all our hard work being tossed in the trash by paranoid parents. They might have been, if the kids hadn’t ripped the wrappers off and inhaled them before they ever made it back to the sidewalk.

    I guess the absence of little poisoned bodies on my sidewalk was testimony to the fact that I wasn’t out to harm anyone.

  8. Lila Folster October 29, 2011 at 12:55 am #

    LOL, this is soooo wonderful! Everyone COULD actually make contact with neighbors they have never even met, even though they might have lived in the neighborhood for say, 5 years or more. I can honestly say many people who say they long for the good ‘ole days when life was simpler, are the very ones who have let unfounded paranoia about even the most miniscule things destroy that dream. Is this REALLY the legacy you want to pass on to your children? Life is a gift, open it, use it, ENJOY IT!

  9. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 1:04 am #

    As I stated on the other thread: we don’t eat homemade treats. Not because of poison fears but from food allergy and dirty kitchen fears.

    I need to be able to read ingredient lists to know if something is safe for my kid to eat. I also have seen or heard about some gross kitchens and I don’t know how comfortable I feel eating something unless I know they are clean people. I don’t always follow this rule but it is something I sometimes think about and worry about. I have seen cats on counters eating out of mixing bowls when the person’s back was turned and they were never the wiser. So you know…..that kind of thing makes me nervous.

    So I am not a fan of the homemade treat movement and I guarantee most of the stuff will end up in the garbage. I will be handing out peanut free Hershey bars, smarties and dum dum pops. My kids favorite treats.

  10. Marie October 29, 2011 at 1:06 am #

    What a fun idea. I wonder how many escorting parents will just have their kids turn away immediately on seeing homemade treats. None, I hope, but the way some parents I know are, I’d expect some flat out rejections. Sigh.

  11. Meagan October 29, 2011 at 1:10 am #

    As perfect crimes go, poisoning the children of people who SAW YOU HAND THEM THE CANDY AND KNOW EXACTLY WHERE YOU LIVE BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, THAT’S WHERE THEY WERE WHEN YOU POISONED THEIR CHILDREN doesn’t seem like it would make the top of the list. Nonetheless I suspect many , if not most, of the treats will get tossed in the trash. The more thoughtless parents will badmouth the people who went to the extra trouble of making treats as inconsiderate, because people should KNOW BETTER these days. After all you can NEVER BE TOO CAREFUL.

  12. Meagan October 29, 2011 at 1:17 am #

    @Dolly The vast majority of halloween candy handed out has one of those “this product may contain peanuts” labels. I realize you didn’t state what kind of allergy your kids have, but allergen labeling is far from standardized so if your kids have severe allergies you’d be better off avoiding pre-packaged candy, period. Homemade treats as Lenore describes them have the potential to be safer, because you can call the cook, and they can TELL you what went in them, how they were made, and even how clean the kitchen is if you can figure out a polite way to ask. Much better than the vague non-answers you’ll get from calling the 800 number on the back of the candy wrapper.

  13. EricS October 29, 2011 at 1:30 am #

    I really do feel sorry for kids these days. Our halloweens growing up were sooooooo much better. I think the only time I ever had my parents with us, was our first halloween. After that, it was just me, my brother, sister, and a couple of friends. From age 8-12 (stopped trick or treating at 12). We went to various houses, apartment buildings, and even the corner stores. There were times when we actually ran back home to empty our full bags of candy, and went back out. Not once, did anyone ever try to nap us, entice us into their homes, or jump us for our candies. Keep in mind, this were times when crime rate was much higher than it is now. And my neighborhood wasn’t the exactly the best at the time either. But our community (as most back then), kept an eye out for each other. Parents we didn’t know would set us straight just like they did their own children, if we were misbehaving. Sometimes they, would even take us home and let our parents know what were doing. And our parents would never be upset at them. They would thank them for setting us straight, then we would get a stern talking too. A lecture in respect and courtesy. And on the occassion, a good wack in the butt (if we did something REALLY bad) to get the point across. Boy did we learn fast. lol Back then even strangers became an extension of our families within the community. Pretty much growing up, we were always being taught one way or another. That’s how we became street smart at such a young age.

    These days, there is no more community. Too few still believe in the old school way, and too many are just fearful. The anology of very few sticks being much weaker than a bunch of sticks still holds true to this day. Whether people believe it or not, or practice it or not. It’s just like any other tool. It’s only useful if you use it. And no, we didn’t eat everything we got. We went through our candies as well back then. No unpackaged treats. Everything else was free game. It was even customary back then for us to bring some of those treats to school the next day to share among our classmates. We were ENCOURAGED to share. And NOT ONE parent ever came back to the school to complain about anything. Even if their kid(s) came home with a tummy ache from all the candy. Most kids got home and heard “told you not to eat so much candy…go wash up for supper.” lol If I were still a kid, and I knew what childhood was back then, I would trade all the video games, social sites, and smartphones to experience childhood like that with the rest of my friends. The ironic thing is, the children, the news, or even the community didn’t take that away. The parents did. The parents and their fears.

  14. Orual October 29, 2011 at 1:31 am #

    Really eye opening what a little fear mongering can do. My friends are taking it one step further. They are taking homemade cookies to thier neighbors houses while they are out with treating with thier boys. A great way to meet the neighbors (hey we live four doors down, here’s some cookies).

  15. Heather October 29, 2011 at 1:34 am #

    I love the idea, and if anyone were to give my child a homemade treat I’d be so very grateful. But, I’m also lazy, so we are giving out Snickers and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.

  16. EricS October 29, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    I can understand the fear of ingredients, such as peanuts. More kids these days do have allergies to certain foods. Not very many back in the day. Which some researchers say it has to do in how the children are raised these days. What they eat since they were born, the environment conditions they grow up in. Even what the mother eats while pregnant. But that’s another topic. But to say “dirty kitchen” fears?! That’s really all it is, FEARS. Fear is fear. And dirty kitchen fear is as ridiculous as razer blades in sealed in package candies fear. Sure it’s possible, ANYTHING is possible. For all we know, all candies bought at your local grocery store are laced with carcinogens. Hey, ANYTHING is possible. Yes I’ve been to places were the kitchen is less than clean, but so is the whole house, including outside. If one knows their neighbors, they’d know how they live. And most of my neighbors, I have no doubt keep their place, including their kitchen as clean as I do. Dirty kitchen fears. So your saying, you are the only one that keeps your kitchen “lick off the floor” clean? And everyone else is just filthy. Wow. That’s some fear you got there. Let me ask you this, do you ever participate in bake sales? Whether it is to buy or sell? If you have, than you pick and chose what you fear. Which isn’t society based, it’s you. Dirty kitchen fears. lol I have to admit, I’ve never heard of that one before. But it doesn’t surprise me from people these days.

  17. Sera October 29, 2011 at 1:59 am #

    Probably not the best idea, to be honest.

    As Dolly points out, there is much to worry about in terms of food hygiene and handling.

    The immune systems of different people vary greatly, and bacteria that may not affect you may make other people pretty sick. Yes, you may be able to say “I’ve lived with X, Y and Z bad food practices/bad hygiene around me and never got sick once” – but that is because your body has adapted to that environment.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a ridiculous hygiene freak and I don’t disinfect my hands every five minutes, but I am well aware that there are quite a few people around that don’t observe even reasonable modicums of hygiene such as washing their hands – with soap – after every time they use the toilet. I’ve been in people’s kitchens which can only be described as squalor. I do not want to eat ANY food that is prepared in an environment such as that.

    Homemade treats are fine IF you follow this set of guidelines:

    – Make sure that any work surfaces you use, including cutting boards, benches, and containers are cleaned well before any food goes near them.
    – Make sure that YOU, and anyone helping you (especially children), are hygienic. This means that you habitually wash your hands after using the toilet or doing anything that makes your hands dirty, ESPECIALLY anything that involves handling animals, or getting soil on your hands. Make sure your fingernails are clean also. You should also shower habitually.
    – Animals should not be allowed in a food preparation area. Do not prepare food on surfaces that ANY animals – cats, dogs, birds, even the hairless or hypo-allergenic varieties – normally walk, stand or sit on.
    – The food preparation area should be free of excessive dust, mold or fungus.
    – Any food ingredients that are perishable, such as milk, butter or cream should have been kept refrigerated prior to use (leaving butter out to soften is fine). Do not use any of these if they are past their use by date, or look, smell or taste wrong.
    – Keep any finished food items covered between completion and distribution. Always refrigerate things that you suspect may be perishable – like fudge. If you don’t know if it’s perishable, refrigerate it anyway. Cold doesn’t hurt cookies.
    – Do not allow “sticky, runny or wet” perishable foods to come into contact with the food you’ve made.

    Yes, I do realise that most of those are ridiculously obvious, probably to an insulting degree. I wouldn’t have written this if I hadn’t actually seen multiple people who fail to do these things, and yet will still cook food items to share or sell at fetes and so forth. It’s foul, it really is. This is why I’m generally leery about accepting homemade food from strangers. There are people who I wouldn’t accept a piece of candy out of a bag they’ve had their hand in, let alone homemade food.

  18. survivinginsweden October 29, 2011 at 2:08 am #

    I think this is a great initiative, but I must admit as an anxious kid of two relatively free-range parents, I wouldn’t have eaten any home baked cookies.

    See, we were bombarded by ‘individually wrapped’ candy talk at school, including a Halloween assembly and this was 20 years ago.

    When I got a bag of popcorn from an old lady on my street, I looked at it in horror. My Mom said I could eat it. Of course I could eat it. But I was terrified, of needles and poison and everything else. After all, that’s what we learned could happen in school. I think I ate three bites.

    But as I say, I was an anxious kid. In first grade a Police Officer came in to tell us how sometimes drugs could look like candy, and that’s why we should never take candy from strangers. He mentioned that Tic Tacs in particular looked very much like drugs.

    I didn’t eat a tic tac for a long time after that.

  19. Lisa M October 29, 2011 at 2:08 am #

    What would happen to you if you ate a cookie that came from a bowl that a cat licked. Cat scratch fever?? Or a brownie from a house with a sink full of dishes and a dirty floor. ???? I bet you would be fine. Just as fine as a person eating a cookie from a house filled with chemicals from obsessive cleaning.

  20. Brian October 29, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    Sera if those rules aren’t followed, what is the worst that would happen? I mean what are we worried about? A cold? We are talking about cookies not meat products. The odds of a fully baked product causing a bacterial infection is pretty slim. Cookie dough can carry e-coli and other potentially harmful diseases but once it is baked its pretty darn safe.

    Again, common sense, if you or your loved ones have allergies or compromised immune systems best avoid homemade treats. For the other 99% of us its much more social, more communal and more neighborly to exchange homemade treats then simply passing “fun size” junk from one house to another.

  21. pentamom October 29, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    “I will be handing out peanut free Hershey bars, smarties and dum dum pops. ”

    Yes, as others have stated, that does no good for severe nut allergy kids. Even if the food is of a kind that the parents know is manufactured in a peanut-free environment (and parents of nut allergic kids are really up on this stuff) they don’t know that it didn’t get contaminated in your kitchen, or from being next the Hershey bars which are not nut safe because of the manufacturing environment. Realistically, kids with severe nut allergies simply don’t trick or treat.

  22. Brian October 29, 2011 at 2:12 am #

    Lisa, your answer posted as I wrote mine. yours is better. 🙂

  23. Janet C October 29, 2011 at 2:15 am #

    For those of you leery of homemade treats because of food allergies and immunity issues, could you perhaps pass on taking said treats so those who have no allergies/immune issues could enjoy them?

    Thanks in advance.

  24. Emily October 29, 2011 at 2:15 am #

    I love this idea. I’ve been horrified learning about the child labor going into chocolate production, as well as the expense of Halloween candy and danger that I’ll eat it all myself before we’ve had a single Trick-or-Treater. I would much rather make healthier treats (I use white whole wheat flour for my cookies, and you can’t tell the difference) to give out and go back to the days when a treat didn’t necessarily mean something with a licensed character on it or a marketing campaign behind it.

  25. Quincy October 29, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    I did this last year. My kids and I made sugar cookies and decorated them with orange icing, etc. People took them and no one made any comments. I would hope the fact that I had my 5 year old hand them out made them slightly less terrifying.

  26. Donna October 29, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    Any bacteria that entered baked goods (which is I assume what we are contemplating giving out and not raw broccoli) from a “dirty house” would actually be killed in the baking process.

    I think it’s incredibly sad that so many of you are worried about the cleanliness of your neighbors kitchens. I happily eat foods from bake sales, allow my child to eat homemade items brought to school and would allow her to eat homemade Halloween treats. We are going trick or treating in the same neighborhood that my daughter’s classmates live in, not in the local dump. It’s safe for her to eat their homemade cupcakes on birthdays but not Halloween? I do understand allergies but assuming that your neighbors live in squalor until proven otherwise seems ridiculous.

  27. Margo October 29, 2011 at 2:39 am #

    We do homemade treats sometimes – especially for the kids and neighbours that we know. We ALSO make some grown-up drinks to offer in paper cups to the adults with whom we are acquainted who are doomed to trudge the dark and rainy streets with their costumed offspring. Here’s to a cheery Halloween!

  28. SKL October 29, 2011 at 2:43 am #

    I am not against this as an idea, but I personally would not consider it practical. I don’t think we are yet to the point where the home-made goodies would all (or mostly) be eaten. And I have no desire to cook / bake anything that is likely to be wasted.

    What I could see is a smaller step. When I was a kid, the neighbor lady used to put together goody bags for the kids she knew (most of the neighborhood kids), and have a general pile of stuff for other kids. I could see making a personalized goodie bag/box including homemade stuff for kids you know, and including who made it, the phone # and the recipe (with ingredients list). This might start a trend among neighbors who actually know each other. (Then again, it could appear to be an ad for selling the stuff, ha ha.)

    But for me, it won’t be happening, because (a) hardly any of the kids who T-or-T here have ever spoken to me other than to say “Trick-or-Treat,” and (b) I very rarely bake even for my own kids.

    I guess this just would not be the torch I’d choose to carry.

  29. Jane October 29, 2011 at 2:48 am #

    I guess that there’s poisoning, and then there’s poisoning. It’s great to know that kids haven’t actually encountered razor blades or strychnine, but those hygienic individually wrapped treats from the big candy companies are horrendously poisonous!

    Of course I am talking about things like red dye and hfcs and all kinds of other toxic crud, but, really, does anyone think that the giant candy factories are models of cleanliness??? You know, don’t you, that the USDA sets limits on numbers of insect parts and rodent hairs that can be present in mass manufactured food, and that is not because the level of those things is zero.

    And I’m sure that those with hygiene concerns never eat in restaurants.

    If no one has ever been poisoned, where did all these individually wrapped candy admonishments come from? Could it possibly be that Big Candy is desperate to keep us from slowing down their business by baking brownies from scratch?

    Dang, if that’s the case, then let’s be sure to make our own Halloween treats!

  30. Sera October 29, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    @ Brian – when I was a kid, my family and I all got worms – as in, the little white wriggling worms that live in your bowels and make you itch – from baked goods that a neighbour with a vile kitchen gave us.

    Normal people with normal hygiene are already sticking to those “rules” I wrote. It’s the ones that aren’t already cleanly that don’t – you’d be surprised how many people don’t think they need to wash their hands after using the toilet “if I don’t get any on my hands”. Seriously.

    There is a VAST area of grey between “obsessive cleaning” that Lisa M describes, and failing to follow even basic hygiene, as I described. As you say, you don’t generally get fatal illnesses from things that don’t contain meat etc., but you CAN end up making a bunch of people unpleasantly/inconveniently ill. (By the way, Lisa, I really hope that you are not feeding anybody anything that was prepared in a bowl that your cat licked the inside of and you haven’t washed thoroughly since.)

    You do not want to become a disease vector if you can help it. Spreading illnesses – even if they are generally as innocuous as a common cold, or worms, is an incredibly bad idea. Sure, it might not affect you much – you have your cold, you get over it – or even the people you give it to. The problem is that colds spread through workplaces, schools etc., and LOTS of people get sick. Some of those people really need to not get sick, because they have assignments due, exams coming up, or they really CAN’T miss a day of work, or can’t go to work sick. Illnesses that are no big deal for you can actually KILL the elderly, infirm, and immunocompromised.

    Diseases, especially viruses, are capable of evolving rapidly. The best way to stop them from evolving into something really dangerous is to do your best to stop them spreading and getting that chance – especially the chance to mingle with other viruses. A lot of recent health crises have been to do with controlling outbreaks of new diseases for this very reason – not because they are dangerous NOW, but because they have the very real potential to become dangerous.

    The fact that I have to tell grown adults these things is depressing. If you seriously think that it’s ok to spread diseases – bacterial, viral or parasitic – even if they are the “harmless” kind, there is something wrong with you.

    No, seriously. I perfectly understand that it isn’t necessary to have a shining, sterile house and kitchen before giving people homemade food, but the prevelant attitude of “oh, it’s ok if the cat licked this” or, “so he baked these cookies after he took a dump and didn’t wash his hands, what’s the worst that can happen?” is exactly WHY I distrust homemade food from people I don’t know well enough. The evidence is here in this very thread – it’s not a case of people assuming>/b> that others are hygienic, it’s a case of people not caring whether or not others are hygienic, which makes a pretty strong case for assuming that those people are not hygienic themselves.

  31. damaged justice October 29, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    I will be cooking and giving out bacon. If anyone gets up in my grill, I will proceed to tell them how much healthier it is than candy.

  32. Jenny Islander October 29, 2011 at 2:57 am #

    And yet, the same people who are convinced that the neighbors they see every day would poison their kids will happily buy things baked by complete strangers at a bake sale fundraiser, off of a table that has been hovered over by who knows how many people with colds.

    I won’t be baking for Halloween this year because hardly anyone ever comes to our house, but I agree that it’s a good idea. I would bake brownies in a gem pan to produce bite-sized treats. Or buy a bag of small apples and make mini-candy-apples.

  33. Peter October 29, 2011 at 3:01 am #

    Great story about an October observance in a classroom:


  34. EricS October 29, 2011 at 3:07 am #

    I can respect your “list” Sera. But most of those are just pretty much just common sense. And you do make it sound like, the kitchen should be quarantined, and the person has to wear a haz-mat suit. lol Not saying that’s what you meant, but as I was reading off your list I kept thinking of a room in the CDC. My rule of thumb, I wouldn’t cook for anyone anything, or anyway I wouldn’t find acceptable for myself or my own family. And I would think my neighbors would think the same way. So in essence, we are all pretty hygienic and we don’t think anymore of it. Let alone fear. As well, if I’m cooking or baking for others I would make certain to know who has what allergy, and set aside cooking time for them. So that there is no cross contamination from the other food. I have recipes for baked goods that are as close as you can get to allergy proof. They aren’t the best tasting, but they aren’t bad either. Lets face it, if you can’t use the proper ingredients for a cookie, your not going to get the full flavor of the cookie. Close, but not the actual cookie as it was intended to be. Classic case of “to gain something, you have to lose something”. I guess what it all boils down to is trust within your neighborhood. That’s where the ball starts to roll. And to be able to do that, people need to stop being so paranoid.

  35. Barbara October 29, 2011 at 3:12 am #

    We just take our kids to people we know in our rural neighborhood. So maybe 10 places. They get enough.

  36. Mom's Journal October 29, 2011 at 3:18 am #

    When I read your headline I thought, but I don’t want to go through all the trouble of making a treat that’s just going to be thrown out. Adding a phone number is a nice touch. We already bought candy for this year, but I might do this next year. I’ll even add my home address and email. 😉

  37. justanotherjen October 29, 2011 at 3:19 am #

    My kids always get home baked goods on Halloween and we’ve lived in 3 different states. At least 1 person always hands out popcorn balls or rice crispie treats or something.

    They love them. I’ve never stopped them from eating the homemade stuff and it’s always a big hit.

    I won’t be baking, though. I don’t have the money or energy to bake that amount of stuff. And I won’t be home on Halloween since I’ll be out trick or treating with my own kids. We don’t pass out candy.

  38. pentamom October 29, 2011 at 3:26 am #

    “You know, don’t you, that the USDA sets limits on numbers of insect parts and rodent hairs that can be present in mass manufactured food, and that is not because the level of those things is zero.”

    Yes, it is because it is physically impossible to keep the level at zero. There is no such thing as absolute purity in this world, so they have to set a non-zero standard. It is not because we are all daily consuming rodent body parts.

  39. Donna October 29, 2011 at 3:32 am #

    Sera, I don’t think those of us who are saying that this is not a big deal don’t care that others are not hygienic, we simply are pointing out the obvious that you are just not going to die from baked goods so this dire emergency attitude and 100% ban on baked goods from neighbors is overkill.

    If I KNOW someone is non-hygienic, I’m certainly not going to eat their food. But I’m not going to assume that all my neighbors lack basic hygiene skills until proven otherwise on the outside chance that they don’t. If I happen to be wrong, and one of my neighbors does lack basic hygiene practices, it’s not going to be the end of the world. I’m going to be grossed out if I find out about it, and I’m never going to eat at that house again but I’m highly unlikely to die.

  40. Cynthia October 29, 2011 at 3:46 am #

    I don’t trust my neighbors. Specifically, I don’t trust my neighbors not to freak out about home made treats.

    I’ve had my kids returned by friendly neighbors concerned they were out for a walk on their own (kid was 8 and only a few houses away) and the police called on the other kid who was out biking on a fine summer’s morning because she appeared to be “lost and crying.” She was singing about the sunshine at the time, near as we can figure.

    I don’t want that kind of hassle over treats; I would rather encourage kids that go out in the dark and go to neighbors houses by giving them the expected rewards for their bravery in the face of ridiculous parental fears. Certainly it would be best if neighbors didn’t freak out over homemade treats, but it’s good enough that they let their kids run around at least that night of the year.

  41. Library Diva October 29, 2011 at 4:06 am #

    I’m terrible at baking, and give out about 5 pounds of candy a year…no way I could make enough brownies for everyone, even if I started tonight. But I agree that this is a nice idea.

    The literacy rate in our city is terrible, and I’ve always wanted to collect kids’ books throughout the year, from second-hand sales, and give them out on Halloween. Maybe next year.

  42. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 4:12 am #

    Umm Meagan: I think I know how to manage my son’s peanut allergy, thank you very much. He has never had a reaction since I have been in control of it in over 4 years. That is why I said I have to read the label! Clearly said that. Most of what people give us even prepackaged is not going to be something he can eat. I accept that. No problem. I got him stuff he can eat. But at least with prepackaged candy I can check the label and know if it is okay or not. With homemade goodies I won’t know because there is no label and it is a definite no. Many candy he can eat. Smarties, Hershey bars, hershey kisses, a lot of lollipops.

  43. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 4:18 am #

    Um Eric you can kiss my butt. My kitchen is not perfect. I don’t expect people’s to be. But I have also SEEN or HEARD about some pretty gross kitchens too. My mother takes care of a lot of older ladies at her church. She told me she would visit them and they had all kinds of issues with their kitchens like using food past the expiration date, cats on the counters, etc. She knew not to eat what they brought to church dinner. One time she was the only one that didn’t eat a dish by one of these women and she was the only one who didn’t get sick that night either. Coincidence?

    So yes, there is always that fear that they could be a closet hoarder or something and we would not know. I eat a lot of food from other’s kitchens. So I don’t follow that rule hard and fast, but it is something to think about. Ever watch an episode of “Hoarders”? They are not so rare as you would think. My friend’s MIL is a cat hoarder. She has about 50 cats in her house. Yeah, not eating anything that woman makes in her kitchen. The thing is she comes off as totally normal. She is actually has a very prestigious job. So yeah, you never know.

  44. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 4:22 am #

    Lisa: Seriously? Wow….ever heard of listeria? Cats carry it. If you are pregnant it could kill your baby.

    Also many people like myself have cat allergies so it could cause some allergic reactions.

  45. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 4:24 am #

    Pentamom: ummm what!? My son is a severe nut allergy kid and he WILL be trick or treating. Talk about anti-free range. So even if the label shows the candy as being safe I am not supposed to let him eat it? That would mean my son would never eat anything that was manufactured. The labels have to tell you if it contains or was processed with peanuts. So I should just lock my peanut allergic son in a bubble and never let him eat or do anything? I don’t think so. Allergies can be managed easily enough but eating homemade goodies is definitely out.

  46. thinkbannedthoughts October 29, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    I totally freaked my brother in law out last year by letting my daughters eat homemade candy from a neighbor (who we had never met before) last Halloween without even trying it myself first!

    The neighbor had had two bowls of candy, one store bought and the other homemade. All the kids were offered both bowls and told they could choose. My kids looked at me and I told them they could have either one and reminded them they already had lots of candy bars.

    They both chose the exotic looking homemade candies. The neighbor seemed shocked that I had subtly encouraged them in that direction. He didn’t put a phone number on them, but I knew where he lived.

    That’s the thing that people seem to forget, child killers aren’t going to be poisoning strange homemade candy on Halloween because kids and any adults who travel with them would remember those houses. We did.

    The kids were fine, the candy wasn’t their favorite (Some sort of baked and flavored meringue.) but it didn’t make them sick in any way. At least not any sicker than a night of candy binging ever makes kids.

    I’ve already bought my individually wrapped, factory made, store bought candy for this year, but next year… watch out. I’ll be whipping up something tasty for the more daring kiddos in the ‘hood.

  47. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 4:28 am #

    Sera is right about people not washing their hands after they use the bathroom. I see people leave the public restroom without washing their hands all the time. The men’s room is even worse. My mom was in charge of changing the soap dispensers at her church. She changed the women’s dispenser about once a month because it would get empty. The men’s dispenser??? Well in over 7 months it was never emptied. That means pretty much NONE of those men were washing their hands. OMG!

  48. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 4:34 am #

    Cynthia: No matter what someone gives us homemade goodies or not, we would smile and say “Thank you”. I cannot imagine someone yelling at someone for handing out homemade goodies. As long as they don’t pressure me to feed it to my kids right there in front of them, then they will never have to know it is getting tossed later.

  49. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 4:35 am #

    Library Diva: That is an AMAZING idea! Honestly we only get like 10 kids so I could totally do that if I wanted to along with candy too. I guess get some in various age and reading levels. That would be super neat. I might do that next year. Thanks for the great idea!

  50. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 4:38 am #

    Thinkbannedthoughts: That is a good idea your neighbor had to have both kinds and let the kids pick. That way if they are cool with homemade ones they can get them or if not, they can get the other kind and therefore you don’t have to throw anything out later.

  51. Ali October 29, 2011 at 4:50 am #

    We’ll keep to the commercial stuff for Halloween. For close neighbors I sometimes bake n send some treats, but for the vast majority, I’ll stick to the commercial candy. As for letting my kids eat treats someone else made, I’m sure they’re fine, but the thought of food coming from a kitchen I don’t know grosses me out a bit. It’s a personal thing, not because I distrust my neighbors or think something may have poison. I don’t like bake sales for the same reason….I don’t know the person who did the cooking and can’t vouch for cleanliness.

    Last year a neighbor made tootsie pop lollipop ghost by tying a white napkin on them and drawing a little face on each one. Very cute, and hygienic 🙂

  52. Donna October 29, 2011 at 5:08 am #

    Not that I advocate sharing food with cats but they may have toxoplasmosis, not listeria, and it is only a problem if you are exposed for the first time while pregnant. And I’ve never heard of anyone with an animal allergy have an allergic reaction to food prepared in a house inhabited by animals. I know some extremely cat allergic people (severe asthma attacks if in the same room as a cat) and they regularly eat food prepared in a cat home (mine) and have never had an allergic reaction to the food. I don’t let my cat lick bowls (gross) but he’s around.

  53. Marlet October 29, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    We moved into our neighborhood in July. It is a mountain community with unlit, windy, non-sidewalked roads. TnTing is not a huge thing here. However, there is one house which is a must see (or so I am told). The owners create a mini-haunted house, inviting people to come in, tour the house, and enjoy homemade rootbeer and cookies at the end.

    Due to the geography of the neighborhood, I am guessing not everybody knows everybody in the neighborhood (not just newcomers, like we are). However, for this one night, many converge on this house for the FUN of it. I like M&M’s as much as the next soccer mom, but I am really thankful for this fun couple who brings the neighborhood together. The only reason I am not sending my children there alone is because I really want to see it too!

  54. dearfriends October 29, 2011 at 5:16 am #

    I’m so glad I stopped by. Yes! We know everyone in our neighborhood and I’m delighted to think of making something sweet that isn’t totally stuffed with sugar and chemicals. I’ll include a card, especially for those who have allergies.

  55. Lollipoplover October 29, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    *throws eggs at Dolly’s house*

    Homemade is a great way to share treats with your neighbors. I have fond memories of my Mom reaching in her apron pocket and pulling out her imaginary secret ingredient, a little love, that she always tossed in to cookies. Thanks for inspiring me to do one her best recipes, butter cookies right now. I’ll put them in the witch finger mold and make homemade Butter Fingers.
    They might not make it to Halloween, though.

  56. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 5:26 am #

    uses bleach to spell out in Lollipoplover’s grass “Piss off”

  57. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 5:27 am #

    Donna: Whoops yeah that is what I meant. Wrong disease. Both cause problems in pregnancy so I got them mixed up! Der!

  58. pentamom October 29, 2011 at 5:29 am #

    Dolly — maybe I spoke too generally. I know people who function in the way I described.

  59. Mike October 29, 2011 at 5:35 am #

    Homemade sweets are a great idea, but have to be presented the right way. I’m thinking of brownies, because I’m in the mood for brownies now.

    Each brownie will require individual wrapping, so it doesn’t fall apart in the bag. I’m thinking saran wrap crinkled on top, tied with a ribbon. Presentation is important. I’m not too keen on the idea of putting name and number on each piece though. If someone asks, have the recipe ready so you can say exactly what is in the brownie (sugar, cocoa, flour, etc).

    Sadly, might get some static from screeching nutjobs brainwashed into the OMG TEH HORRORZ fear cult. Realize they are just not as smart as we are, be kind to them. Offer them a separate batch of homemade fudge.

  60. Michelle the Uber Haus Frau October 29, 2011 at 6:06 am #

    The reason the “check your kids candy” idea came around is because once a bunch of kids were poisoned by their candy a really long time ago but the culprit was the father of one of the children who took out life insurance on them and poisoned the kids he went with to avoid suspicion.

  61. EricS October 29, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    Oh Dolly…kissing your butt wouldn’t be hygienic now would it. And I’m surprised hearing that from you, since you are a germaphobe. See, now your just reacting on emotion, and not reading what I wrote. We aren’t talking about an old ladies room or apt. We aren’t talking about hoarders. We aren’t talking about squatters. We are talking about the houses in your neighborhood. Let me reiterate…if the outside looks clean; lawn cut, porch clean, no sign of the house being neglected, the chances are the inside will be treated as such. A messy inside, is a messy outside. Trust me on that, my old neighborhood had a few houses like that. Even the family looked unkept most times. So…you stay away from the houses that look like they’ve been neglected. Ummmm…that’s just common sense. But if you just have strong paranoia, and don’t trust your neighbors than that’s YOU. It doesn’t mean people have dirty kitchens. With your mentality, I can say you have a disgusting kitchen, with mold growing in all the corners, and rat poo everywhere. And I would never be caught dead in your house, for fear of catching something. Doesn’t feel very nice someone saying that about you does it? And I don’t even know you or been to your house. It’s pretty ignorant of you to have “worse case thinking” for others just the same, just because your mother had experience with an old lady. Who probably wasn’t all up there, with cats and dirty dishes, and stuff strewn all over her apartment. It happens to some people when they get old, and are alone most times. I don’t think they do it intentionally.

    “You never know”. That is one of the phrases we here at Free Range, keep ourselves from getting caught up in. You never know. You never know, if the earth’s core is suddenly going to explode and the earth blows up. You never know, if big ass meteor slams in the earth and all life is obliterated. You never know starting your car suddenly causes it to explode and you with it. You just never know. So to be on the safe side, you should just either end it all so you don’t have to keep wondering, or lock yourself up in a bunker and avoid all contact with all possible danger that could happen no matter how far fetched. Because you never know. lol

  62. EricS October 29, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    “No matter what someone gives us homemade goodies or not, we would smile and say “Thank you”. I cannot imagine someone yelling at someone for handing out homemade goodies. As long as they don’t pressure me to feed it to my kids right there in front of them, then they will never have to know it is getting tossed later.”

    That’s just terrible. If you don’t want it in the first place, be honest about it. If someone offered me something that I didn’t want, I’d respectfully decline. I wouldn’t be mean about it, I wouldn’t be disrespectful, I would be honest. “Thank you, but respectfully we prefer to have packaged treats. Or we make ourselves. It’s nothing against you or anyone that likes to bake and share.” That would be my honest opinion, and if they are as decent a person as I think they are (them sharing and all), they would respect my views. And that would be it. Personally, I like homemade baked goods and I’d take it. But if someone told me that, I’d respect it. I wouldn’t feel offended at all. Not everyone is the same. What I would find disrespectful AND hurtful, is someone smiling, accepting my baked item, saying thank you so much, and it being tossed away. Whether I know it or not, the fact that YOU tossed it out is disrespectful. If you didn’t want it in the first place, you shouldn’t have accepted it. The hard work and care put into baking those treats, for the sake of being kind and sharing to neighbors shouldn’t be treated like it was nothing. Someone else would have honestly and gladly taken that treat if you didn’t want it. Who are you to put it to waste? tsk tsk. Shame on you for making that comment. “…they will never have to know it is getting tossed later.” May karma have mercy on your unhygienic butt. Cuz there’s no way I’m kissing were you take a crap from. lol

  63. Laura October 29, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    I’m glad most people here don’t hand out homemade treats, but not because I fear the treats, nor because my son has any allergies (so far, he appears to have escaped that entirely, despite my own family history!).

    It’s just that we limit how much he can eat in one night (severely, right now, while he’s small) and can ration keep-for-a-long-time wrapped store bought treats for months. You can’t really do that with homemade goods…. 🙂

  64. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    Pentamom: Its okay. I want people out there to know that not all mothers with peanut allergic kids are total freaks who try to control everything and take the fun out of everything. My son does what ever other kid does and actually he does more than most kids I know. We just have to be more careful and plan ahead more etc but I don’t let it ruin his life.

  65. michael October 29, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    give money then they can chose there own candy or whatever

  66. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Eric: For the most part you are absolutely right. But as I said my Friend’s MIL has a very clean house on the outside and even her inside is pretty clean because they pretty much devote their life to cleaning up after the cats. However they still have around 50 cats and multiple dogs running every which a way. So no matter how clean their kitchen is you absolutely will get cat hair and/or dog hair in your food. There is just no way around it. The cats are also on the counters and tables and everywhere else. Trust me, she holds a very prestigious job and they are well off and seem totally normal. That is way I am pointing out that with some people you never know.

    She makes extra sure to keep things appearing normal so that her neighbors won’t find out and call the law on her because you are not allowed to have that many animals in a regular sized home.

  67. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    And ps Eric- I often offer to bring food to new moms I know when they have a new baby. I do it regularly. But I always leave it up to the family to refuse if they are not comfortable eating food someone else makes for whatever reason. I leave it to them and also tell them that I will pick up take out if they would prefer that. I won’t be offended either way. I understand that some people have issues about that kind of stuff and I don’t mind because sometimes I am the same way. It just depends on how well I know the person. Sometimes I offer it to people I have never met but just know through friends of friends or moms clubs and so to them I am a stranger.

    So it can go both ways and I am fair about that.

  68. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Eric: Piss off. That is not how trick or treating works. Have you ever even been trick or treating? You don’t take anything. You hold out your bag and they put things into it. At least that is how I have always done it and seen it done. Sometimes you don’t even know what you are getting until you look at it later. Plus the whole idea of ringing someone’s door bell and saying trick or treat and then saying “NO thanks I don’t want that” is just weird. I think that would create ackwardness all around. If I offer candy someone doesn’t want I would rather they NOT tell me and just toss it or trade it. I don’t want to have to be like “Okay sorry I didn’t get the candy you liked…..” If you are pissy enough to get offended about what happens with anything you give out at Halloween you should probably just not hand stuff out.

  69. Jenn October 29, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    @Dolly: You say that you aren’t one of those parents of an allergic kid who freaks out over everything but I’m reading your posts and think you are (and I’m sure there are a few out there who agree with me). I am the parent of an allergic child, and have food allergies as well. My kid eats homemade treats and so do I! Last year when my daughter was 3, she was offered a popcorn ball while trick or treating and she asked the neighbour, “What food did you put in it because I’m allergic to nuts?”. The neighbour, whom I never met before, came out to speak to me and explained that her husband is deathly allergic to dairy products and took precautions for nut allergies since she knows they are an issue. She had her phone number attached to the popcorn ball wrap. I allowed my daughter to eat the treat (and many others that included a phone number so I could verify with the neighbour that the food was safe from possible cross contamination) and allow her to eat many homemade treats. She eats at other people’s homes all the time, and she needs to be an advocate for herself. She asks people if the cutting board used to cut cheese was washed in the dishwasher, or if a knife has ever gone PB first, jam second (FYI for all non-allergics, it’s a simple rule that any utensil used with a nut product, never touches another food item to avoid cross-contamination risks). She happily goes trick or treating and knows that a couple of her treats will be traded with her brother (or eaten by their father). She goes to parties and knows to ask ahead of time about the menu, often beating me to it when I RSVP. Some people have gone as far as making her a separate cake (totally unnecessary but extremely thoughtful-I keep a stash of cupcakes in the freezer). I try to be reasonable and know that most kitchens are safer for her than factories. The people I know, wash up after food preparation and wash up before/after eating. That’s better than most factories or even restaurants (who don’t necessarily wash after handing pecans)! We eat nuts and peanuts in her presence and she knows what they smell like on a person’s breathe so she can tell them to brush their teeth and wash their face. She has been an excellent advocate for herself, and we continue to allow her to do the same things as her brother does, just making a minor exception the odd time for her allergy.

  70. ValerieH October 29, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    @damaged justice RIGHT ON!!! Bacon is way healthier than candy! I’m sure you will offend a good number of people but I love the idea. 😀

  71. Liz Vance October 29, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    I am totally making homemade treats for halloween. Neighbors, enjoy! 🙂

  72. Cheryl W October 29, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    He he! Those of you upset about the neighbor’s potential germs and animals, really should not eat hot food from stores or restaurants.

    Really, if you know someone who has worked at any place, from fast food to ultra classy, you will hear stories of food fallen on the floor and put back on the plate. Chicken that was green and smelled way bad and way beyond the date that the boss cooked for the customer when the cook refused. Food handlers who do not wash their hands. People with those stupid gloves on to prevent spread of germs who blow their noses with gloves on and don’t change them, flies in the cases with the food, cockroaches, exterminators on a schedule because of the bugs…..

    I know you don’t want to think about it, but really, the food that your average neighbor cooks is just fine. And I feel sorry for all of you who will not participate in neighborhood cook outs and such. This is all part of our “total elimination of risk” and failing neighborhoods where people rat on each other instead of looking out for each other.

  73. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Jenn: And….everything you said is what we do to the letter. So if I am crazy then so are you.

  74. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    I wanted to go off topic a bit and talk about a thing I saw about sex offender registry and Halloween. It kinda made me sad. If you are on the registry in my state they make you sign a form saying you will not hand out candy or go trick or treating. You are also not allowed to put up Halloween decorations inside or outside your house. You are not allowed to buy or wear a costume. You are not allowed to attend any Halloween parties even one with just adults. You are not allowed to attend any festivals or events. It was like this huge list.

    Now for violent or real threats, sure, they don’t need to decorate the outside of their house or hand out candy or go to kid events. But what does the inside of their house matter? How do you know how the inside of anyone’s house is decorated? Why can’t they attend an adult party if the adults know about their status and are okay with it?

    I just think about all those people we hear about on this site that ended up marrying the girl they had underage sex with that landed them on the registry that had kids together eventually. So that parent can never do anything holiday related with their kids whatsoever. Cannot ever carve a pumpkin. Never dress up in matching costumes. That is just kinda I don’t know, just depressing.

    I thought the list was overkill. They should just not be allowed to hand out candy or decorate the outside and maybe attend some events. The no costumes, no decorating the inside, no attending even adult parties is overkill.

    Let me see if I can find it and post it.

  75. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm #


  76. Lila Folster October 29, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Thank you Dolly, but I have to say, that Halloween (and other Holidays) are only a drop in the bucket as to what is taken away from the parents AND the children in that situation. They for the most part will also never be allowed to attend any of their children’s school functions (plays, sports, awards banquets, graduation, etc.) which hurts, not only the parents, but also the children. It IS depressing, because these same children, for the most part are a huge target at school and suffer harassment, bullying, depression and many times suicide, all because Mom and Dad fell in love and mom just happened to be considered too young by the legal system.

  77. Stacey Jw October 29, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    HORRIBLE IDEA!!! Just terrible!

    Not because of “fear of poison” but because kids DO NOT WANT your home made stuff, especially not vegan cookies (no offense, Im sure they are tasty). Even if the parents let them have it, which is unlikely, the kids will probably just toss it, and be pissed they didn’t get REAL candy! Total waste of time and energy.

    I’m taking the youngest of 7 kids out this year and that’s all they want- good, commercial, well known branded, candy. This is the only time of the year they get to have it in quantity, please don’t take it away from them, especially not to make a point they won’t even understand!

    PLEASE remember what YOU wanted as a kid, which in most cases is candy bars, the bigger the better! (remember the house that gave out full sized bars! I bet you do!) Go with name brands, not generic. “Real” candy, like: kit kats, twix, or snickers, warheads, even starburst or gum (gum is not a favorite, but it will do in a pinch). *NOT apples, home made stuff, cheap crap like candy corn, smarties, etc.*

    Kids get to eat home made treats all year, but Halloween is a special, magical day for all the candy they can grab! Enough of this holiday has been ruined, let’s not participate by politicizing their treats.

  78. Stacey Jw October 29, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    I do realize SOME kids like home made snacks, but I never met a kid IRL that wanted them, instead of normal candy. Generally, its a disappointment, if they are even allowed to keep them.

    *Halloween IS NOT for healthy food. It is NOT for books or educational stuff. It is for CANDY, running around in the dark, costumes, hay rides, and scary stories.*

    (Sara- I like your list. Many people do not know why that stuff matters. I have had food poisoning and it sucks, so I am careful, and always surprised how many people argue with me about basic food safety. Its not rocket science, only takes a minute to do it right, and doesn’t require a immaculate kitchen!)

  79. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    Hey smarties are my son’s favorite candy so I would not put down smarties. Everyone has their own likes/dislikes.

  80. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Lila: Well and that is what just confuses me. If the government has deemed the parents acceptable to raise their children, then they need to let them raise their children! If they are unfit parents, fine, take their kids away if they are really worried the offender is going to molest their kids or whatever. But if they deem the parent safe to raise their own kids, then they need to back off. It is not fair to the poor children who did not ask who to be born to that they can’t have a normal life and do what every other kid gets to do. I am thinking of the children here and that is just bullcrap. So a kid can’t display the pumpkin craft they made at school in their home because they might count as an indoor Halloween decoration? Come on.

  81. SKL October 29, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    I agree with Dolly on the Smarties and also candy corn and Kraft caramels. Come on, leave something for a non-chocolate-eating mom to pilfer! Have a heart.

  82. Uly October 29, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    Wait, wait, wait. Before this conversation goes any further…

    Are we talking American smarties or Canadian? Because they’re totally different candies.

    Stacey, as far as “oh, they don’t want that stuff” goes… you might be surprised. One year, the woman who handed out juice boxes was the big hit of Halloween. JUICE! BOXES! 100% juice! She had gotten them just for the little kids and was flabbergasted that the big kids all politely asked if they could have a juice box (!!!) instead of candy!

    The girls (two nieces + two friends = four girls) raved about those juices – the same juices that kids get at lunch! – the whole rest of the night.

    I was baffled too, but it wasn’t just them.

    Last year I gave out glow sticks, on the theory that it’s nice to have ONE thing that children who are allergic to Very Nearly Everything can enjoy. I had no leftovers. None. Not a one, and the kids were all very excited to get a treat they could use up RIGHT AWAY.

  83. Jenn October 29, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    Dolly: You do not do everything I stated in my letter. You said in your first post:

    “Dolly, on October 29, 2011 at 01:04 said:
    As I stated on the other thread: we don’t eat homemade treats. Not because of poison fears but from food allergy and dirty kitchen fears.”

    I feed my allergic kid homemade food. You state here that you do not for two reasons. You are the crazy one who contradicts herself.

  84. SKL October 29, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    Uly – I am not a fan of juice boxes for tots. At least with candy you can just give them a little piece at a time if they have sugar or weight issues. My kids got some of those dang juice boxes when they were little, and I put them aside with the intention of using them “some day” in a packed lunch. Ended up drinking them myself after they expired.

    I am sure they were given with the best of intentions. But frankly, that makes more sense for the bigger kids than the little ones.

  85. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    Jenn: Okay I don’t feed them homemade food from people we don’t know. That is it. Everything else you said, we do. If I know someone and they know about his allergies and know how to be careful about it, then we eat their homemade stuff. You need to chill. First we have someone on this thread telling me I can’t take my son trick or treating and then we have someone telling me I am too cautious. Which is it people?

    And the reason we don’t eat homemade stuff from people we don’t know is many many people I have talked to have ZERO idea about food allergies. There are a lot of people that have never read an ingredient label in their whole life. Their own grandfather took almost 2 years before he finally understood my son’s food allergy. He kept bringing over food that was processed with peanuts to give my son and I had to keep explaining to him about it. So yeah, most people have no idea. So I am not going to trust random people about it. Does not make me paranoid. Makes me smart. My son’s allergy doctor is way more paranoid than I am telling us we should not even have peanuts in the house and I ignored that because if you do it safely it can be done.

  86. Dolly October 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    Uly is right. Kids like all kinds of crap. I mean what is not to like about smarties for a kid exactly? They are little flavored discs of PURE SUGAR! Of course kids like them! I preferred the chocolate hershey stuff and still do but I also liked lollipops (as long as they were cherry), smarties, etc. Never liked candy corn. But even with Hershey’s there were some kinds I hated. I hate coconut so I don’t like Mounds or Almond Joy. Those are good quality candy bars, I just don’t like them. Everyone has their own likes/dislikes. As long as you give out some kind of candy and I try to give a variety of various things, then you are fine. Same with toys or books or whatever to give out. Kids like that too but I would still hand out candy with that.

    My kids get excited about dinky spider rings. Kids love all kinds of garbage like that.

  87. Michael James Graham October 29, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    I’m going to try this for Halloween. All trick or treaters who come to my house will get a choice. Store bought candy or fresh baked cookies. Got an excellent recipe for fruit & nut cookies made with whole grains. I’ll make something without nuts too just in case. Sadly I will only offer this to children whose parents are present, just to protect myself.

  88. kherbert October 29, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

    @pentamom and @dolly I have to disagree with both of you. Hershey is the safest American Chocolate for the peanut allergic. The plain regular sized Hershey bars are safe. The giant ones, the small ones often have may contain warnings.

    I went trick or treating as a kid. There were a couple of years that we didn’t do it because of Ronald Clark O’Bryan’s murder of his son and attempted murder of his daughter and several other kids. Then it started up again. When I was real little Mom would give neighbors candy for me before hand, because most chocolate was out and that seems to be the preferred type of candy to hand out. By the time I was in elementary school I understood why I couldn’t eat some treats – and really didn’t have a problem with it. Many of our neighbors would have peanut free candy for me, just because. The stuff we got earlier in the evening at the school fair was a mix. Often a if a friend and I were playing the same game and I got something I couldn’t eat and she got something I could eat we would trade. (The parents running the games would sometimes ask what of their prizes I could eat and give me that, even though the rule was kids were supposed to take what they were given as a prize)

    Mom and Dad would go through my candy pulling out stuff with peanuts. Sis’s candy would get a quick once over. Sis completely on her own would pull out my favorites from her stash and give them to me.

  89. Carla D'Anna October 29, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    Ugh, just wondered in here and skimmed the comments. Y’all sure are mean to each other.

  90. Merrick October 29, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    But I already BOUGHT my candy! LOL

  91. Emma October 29, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    I love the idea that we should relax about the poisoning stuff. However we have to avoid Halloween candy for other reasons. My son has lots of food sensitivites and loves trick or treating. So when he comes home, we just put all the candy in a bag the front door. Then in the middle of the night the Halloween fairy comes, takes the candy and leaves a present. He is still young enough to enjoy the magic of a Halloween fairy. For us it is the best of all worlds. He gets to enjoy Halloween like the other kids. He doesn’t feel deprived because he trades the candy in for something he wants, and I don’t have to worry about the consequences of him eating something he shouldn’t have. Then I also have a treat for him to have that I know is safe. I have heard of some parents letting their kids have some of the candy and putting the rest out for the Halloween fairy.
    Since we can’t have the stuff the rest of the year either, I go one step further. We do the same for the other major candy holidays, like Easter and Valentines day. Only it is the Halloween fairy’s sister, the candy fairy who comes the rest of the year. Of course this won’t work for everyone, but works great for us.
    I know this is not the point of the article, but I thought I would share what we do in case there are people having to avoid Halloween candy for reasons other than fear of poisoning.

  92. SKL October 30, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    Carla – this is how we are when we’re being nice! Just like a real family.

    I must admit I got a chuckle when one of the sisters said “kiss my butt.” LOL.

  93. SKL October 30, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    Along the lines of what Emma wrote, my kids get way too much candy (and if it were baked sweets it would be the same). Each of my kids has a reason why she should not be eating anywhere near that much candy. Every year, after they have a few days to admire their booty, we pick out the stuff they “really, really” want and donate the rest to a local children’s charity. We go and meet someone who works at the charity and they get a little age-appropriate speech about why they are doing something really awesome by donating their candy. This year, we are going to combine that trip with a volunteer activity (packing Thanksgiving food boxes for needy families).

    I think people could really dial back the amount of candy they give to each kid – at least in my neighborhood. I don’t know why they give so much. But it’s about the only “community” my kids get nowadays, what with hardly ever being home during daylight hours, so we enjoy it for what it is. People are so nice.

  94. Dolly October 30, 2011 at 3:26 am #

    Yeah that is what I basically do. When we get treat bags at parties and stuff I get them and go through them and pick out the safe candy and eat the unsafe candy myself. Mwahahaha! Works for both of us that way! I also always keep safe for him treats with me so he always at least gets something good.

    The thing is since DS has been dealing with food allergies his whole life mostly, it is just normal to him. He doesn’t feel left out or whatever. He is happy to get his oreos instead of birthday cake or whatever. I am blessed to have such a happy go lucky guy when it comes to that. Last night at at Halloween party we went to I was feeding m and ms to other DS and DS saw us and wanted something to eat too. So I got him some pretzels that were safe and he was happy with just us pretzels. He is a good little guy.

  95. Julie, J.A.B.'s Freelance World October 30, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    I find it hard to-and don’t know what to believe-about this. Why is there such a scare about children being poisoned on Halloween then? I have to admit though I would still think twice about accepting homemade treats from strangers-even as an adult! (And not sure if I would ever let a kid have them.)

  96. Lila Folster October 30, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    @Julie, Well, there was a case of child poisoning years ago, which turned out to be by a family member to collect on an insurance policy. There has NEVER been a documented case of anyone (especially a stranger) actually handing out poisoned candy on Halloween, the same as there has NEVER been a documented case of a registered sex offender (again, a stranger) victimizing a child on Halloween. Never the less, every year before Halloween parents are cautioned not to allow their child to eat any treats before they are thoroughly check. By the same token, law enforcement officers in most states are paid overtime pay to go out and make sure every registered sex offender is sitting in their houses in the dark, and are not in possession of even interior Halloween decorations. Should they have so much as a piece of Halloween candy they can receive fines and jail time.

  97. Mary October 30, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    All this campain about poisoned candies is pushed by candy industry just to captive the market. We should start changing traditions to sharing time with family and friends. Including Chrismas, etc. and stop buying innecesary junk, ornaments and stuff.

  98. Lila Folster October 30, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    I have always made homemade gifts for Christmas. Hand knit, crocheted or sewn, they don’t care which, but they think “granny” has the market cornered on the best gifts available. Same with my kids, they grew up with hand knit socks, slippers, scarves, sweaters etc. and still complain about the quality of “store bought crap!”

  99. Beth October 30, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    Mary, that’s you. I personally like to decorate for Christmas and I take great pride in it. It doesn’t detract from sharing time with family and friends.

  100. Uly October 30, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    Carla, we’re not being mean. LOL, you should see us when we’re mean!

    SKL, seriously, it’d be the height of funny if we all got together for Thanksgiving one year or something 😛

  101. Dolly October 30, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    I like to decorate for the holidays. Has nothing to do with commercialism and more to do with just wanting something to mix things up a bit and get excited about. Part of the getting excited about an upcoming holiday is fun activities planned with friends and family.

    I can hang out with my buddies any day and I do, but only once a year I get to hang out with my buddies while dressed up as a pink crayon, you know what I mean?

    I do agree with you on presents though. People go way too nuts with the Christmas stuff. My husband and I have never given each other a Christmas present since we got married. We just tell each other to go buy what we want to treat ourselves and that works great. We don’t splurge either. I don’t have to buy a gift for everyone I know. I just buy for the kids and maybe smaller things for a few people and leave it at that.

  102. kherbert October 30, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    @Julie I think part of the problem is two different killers in the Houston area share a nickname – The Candy Man

    1. Ronald Clark O’Bryan murdered his son Timothy O’Bryan and attempted to murder his Elizabeth for $40,000 life insurance policies he had purchased. He gave the poison candy to 3 other children to make it look like a mass poisoning.While awaiting death in a Texas prison he was dubbed “the candy man”

    2. Dean Arnold Corll was also called The Candy Man by kids around Heights Elementary because he gave away candy from the family candy company. He murdered 28 young men (13 – 20 yo) in Houston. He was murdered by one of his teenaged accomplices. The fact that Corll used to give out candy at the candy factory gets mixed up in people’s minds with the drugs and alcohol he used to incompasitate his victims.

  103. FrancesfromCanada October 30, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    You guys know the joke about red Smarties being a form of birth control? You hold them between your knees.

    Canadian Smarties are chocolate. What are American Smarties?

    We used to get home made treats with phone numbers on them. Mom still made us throw them out (this was in the 60s and early 70s…might have been LSD paranoia, come to think of it) because we roamed far and wide and really, anybody can make up a phone number.

    I won’t do this. Besides the fact that it’ll likely get pitched, you can’t donate home made treats to the food bank, and you can’t store it for weeks, doling out reasonable amounts to the little gluttons.

    Though I agree sharing food is a great way to build community, I’ll have dinner with my neighbors when we can actually get to know one another over it, and leave Hallowe’en for the candy companies.

    @EricS: don’t judge a book — or a kitchen — by its cover.

  104. FrancesfromCanada October 30, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Just to cheer everybody up: we took our 3 year old to our local Heritage Park’s Ghouls Night Out. Terrific fun. The village was full of goblins and graveyards and zombies and mazes and hordes of little kids running around in the dark. And the only cautionary warning was a sotto voce direction to the “chicken door” if we needed an early escape from the haunted house.

    A horse-drawn hearse, even! So much better than the mall.

  105. Kim October 30, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    My lovely neighbor gave my boys a little halloween bag with 2 graham crackers a ghost marshmallow and a little Hershey bar to make smores with. I wanted to give these out as treats this year but couldn’t find ghost marshmallows. To me, the ghost just made the treat. A regular marshmallow wouldn’t be the same. Love the idea though.

  106. Karen October 31, 2011 at 2:24 am #

    When I was a kid, we lived at the top of a very steep hill. We had a ton of kids in the neighborhood, and many would arrive at our doorstep panting and tired. My Mom handed out Dixie cups of cold cider as the treat, and as it became a tradition people started arriving at our door looking happy and expectant.

    Then only upside of people stopping things like this was no more disgusting popcorn balls in my candy bad.

  107. babs October 31, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’d only take homemade treats if it was in a party situation, or from a known entity (a neighbor who I’m fairly acquainted with — I’m fortunate to know most of the folks on my block beyond a “hi, how are you” type of relationship). And as someone else posted earlier, kids are into Halloween for the treats (usually wrapped in a Hershey’s, Nestle’s or other familiar label). My daughter even said she’d rather get candy than money!

    On a more serious note: due to the freak snowstorm that hit yesterday, we’ve had to rethink our trick or treating endeavors. There are still potential dangers with fallen power lines and tree branches that are still coming down, and it’s being suggested that trick or treating be limited to daylight hours. (I’d be worried about this stuff with either adults or children.)

  108. JJ October 31, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    Some of you all crack me up with your homemade treat fears. Cooked food is going to be okay. I have worked in some restaurants and if you are that concerned about hygiene, you should never eat out because some nasty stuff goes down in restaurants, even nicer ones. A baked treat from down the street is way better than many Chinese buffets.

    My best friend’s mom is a well-regarded doctor and she eats food that’s been dropped and jokes it’s good for her immune system. She also believes hand sanitizer is bad for us. I think part of the reason we have so many allergies now is we keep things way too sterile and our bodies haven’t evolved quickly enough to handle it.

  109. JJ October 31, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    And oddly enough, as we were trick or treating last night there was one house that had candy and apples and my three year old daughter chose the apple with no prompting from me! Too funny. As a kid, I would have NEVER chosen an apple.

  110. Helen October 31, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    When I was growing up there was a lady in our neighborhood who gave out warm, homemade donuts! It rocked. My mom used to send us back to get one for her!

  111. Mona October 31, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Money is extremely tight for us this year, seeing as how we moved from our gorgeous first home to live with my fiance’s granddad (ya know, bad economy, both of us losing our jobs … life, meh). Halloween is one of the top three holidays I sincerely look forward to every year and it saddened me that we didn’t have the funds to buy all the name brand candies kids would inevitably want! So my baker mind kicked into high gear and thought about making rice krispie treats to pass out …

    I did a bit of hunting on the internet about how well received (or shucked out of sheer horror -__-;;) and with each link I clicked on, doubt began to chip away at my awesomely awesome idea. I do understand the fear of having a stranger’s homemade treat, but man, halloween twenty years ago was the best it was ever gonna be! I did gather some helpful information from each site such as:

    individually wrap each treat
    include a little card with the necessary information ie the name of the treat, the website from which I got the recipe from, ingredients used, email and phone # in case they had further questions
    package it most attractively
    and lastly …
    hand them out with a big ‘ol smile =D

    Brown butter rice krispie treats … with a name like that, what kid (or adult) would be able to resist??! If anything, I have plenty of family and friends that will enjoy the leftovers!

    Happy halloween, everyone, be safe and enjoy the festivities~!

  112. Karin October 31, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

    But cut up any fruit you receive. My dad has seen the results of razor blades slipped into apples, and that was a good 40 years ago.

  113. Stephanie October 31, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Ooh, here’s another idea that’s sort of a compromise between mass-produced candy and homemade, although probably more expensive than either of those options: Buy candy or cookies from a local bakery or candy shop! If they’re pre-packaged and have an ingredient list, it should set nervous parents’ minds at ease, if the kids like the candy it might drive more business toward those local businesses, and you’d be supporting your local economy!

    At 28, I’m way too old to trick-or-treat and I don’t have any kids yet, but I do find it interesting that my gut reaction for homemade treats is to be a bit nervous, but I will buy just about anything at a bake sale without hesitation. Amazing what a difference context can make. 😛 Oh, and I do also like the idea some other folks mentioned about offered both homemade and storebought treat and letting the kids choose.

  114. Maria October 31, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

    It’s a great idea if you live in the right spot, have the time, and organize it properly. No nuts is a good rule of thumb to follow (for life and for ingredients. :D)

    I think it’s also a really good idea to include little stickers with your contact info / an ingredients list. My hubby does this ALL the time for the brownies he makes for bake sales and charity events. It gives people peace of mind (and helps when they’ve run out and are famished for more! 😉

    Some parents will probably freak out and throw the treats out. In a sense it is their problem. Not yours. And hopefully shows their kids that mama and/or papa are a wee bit irrational. Unless the kids have been brainwashed as well. Poor kids.

    This would probably be a good way to meet some like minded parents in the neighborhood. Good luck! I think (hope) that most parents are in silent support in the fight against the paranoia and fear that run through our society.

  115. EricS October 31, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    @FrancesfromCanada: If you read the posts, you’ll know it was a response to someone else doing all the judging and deragatory remarks. 😉

  116. Holly October 31, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    I am handing out homemade iced sugar cookies for the second year this year. They were a HUGE hit with parents the previous year we did this (two years ago). I include my business card with email & phone number so parents will know who to contact should their kid get poisoned.

  117. Dolly November 1, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    Eric: Says you. It takes two to tango buddy so you cannot just put off meanness on one person. Doesn’t work that way in life. You always have the ignore button or the rise above button.

  118. kcorkett November 1, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    I’ve been giving out warm homemade cookies for 9 years in our neighborhood. I invite parents in for a cookie too and give the kids extra to take to their drivers.

    They take the right off the cooling grates sometimes, as they wait for me to pull the cookies out if the oven.

  119. Claudia Conway November 1, 2011 at 2:27 am #

    As it happened, I have most of a pumpkin pudding left over (made from the innards of the pumpkin my husband carved), so the latest lot of kids got a slice each. I just made sure to say it had dairy but no nuts. But then, in the UK, we haven’t yet had Halloween poisoning mania.

  120. SKL November 1, 2011 at 4:20 am #

    Dolly, I think Eric was talking about me.

    I do like the idea of a “rise above” button. Is there such a thing?

  121. SKL November 1, 2011 at 4:21 am #

    Claudia, where did you get a recipe for the pumpkin innards? I asked around and was told there was no use for the goo whatsoever.

  122. pentamom November 1, 2011 at 4:36 am #

    SKL, you can make pumpkin pie or anything that you can make with canned pumpkin with the innards — but pumpkins bred for carving aren’t really as good as those bred for cooking. So you’ll get inferior pumpkin-whatever, but it’s certainly usable.

  123. SKL November 1, 2011 at 4:44 am #

    Hmm, I will have to do some better research next year.

  124. Dolly November 1, 2011 at 5:02 am #

    I was not sure who he was talking about SKL. I got into it with him too so maybe he was talking about me. Either way my statement holds true. No matter what there is always that ignore or rise above button you can push. Now me personally, I hardly ever use those buttons because that is just not me. I am a confrontational person and I like to argue, but at least I admit that I am part of the issue. I don’t try to say its all the other person’s fault. I realize it takes two to fight. Normally I won’t start a fight, but by God I will finish it (verbal smackdowns not physical fights, I have never been in one of those).

  125. EricS November 1, 2011 at 5:40 am #

    Your funny Dolly. Who’s the one that said “kiss my butt”? Listen, if your going to make the comments you make, expect people who have a difference of opinion to say their piece. Not once did I make any derogatory remark towards you personally. Just about WHAT you said. Which I did find insulting. You came across as thinking people you didn’t know have dirty kitchens, that’s why you would never eat anything baked from someone you didn’t know. Or the fact that you would accept, under your own false pretenses, something that someone baked so you don’t “hurt” their feelings. Only to toss it away later. That’s extremely disrespectful in my view. And I’m sure many others. If you don’t like what people have to say about your “rude” comments, well…don’t be rude. And for the record, I did “rise above it”. I didn’t go back and fourth with you telling you to kiss MY ass. Did I? lol

    At least you can admit to being confrontational. Me personally, by nature, I’m not. But if someone is going to try and make me submit to their whim, without backing up what they are saying, then I love the confrontation. I love to debate. But unlike most people I have discussions with, I do it to better myself. If I find someone’s comment(s) questionable, or even demeaning towards others, I will rebut it with my own opinions. If you can prove what I said was wrong, as I have yours, than so be it. I would admit to being wrong. I’m not above that. Admitting to being wrong allows one to grow, to learn, and hopefully to be a better person than they are. I have no problem with that. But you would have to prove me wrong first. Not just tell me to kiss your ass, and hide behind others who would “side” with you (no offense SKL). I live by the things I say and do, and willing to face the consequences of my actions. I never demeaned anyone here. I’ve called a few out on some of the things they’ve posted, but to have gotten angry enough or worked up enough as to respond like a child, never. If my comments towards your comments don’t agree with you, then you respond like an adult. I’m sure you’ve had discussions with family and friends. When your put on the spot with them, do you reply back with “kiss my ass”? Or do you reply back with something that proves them wrong and you right. Or more right than wrong. If you want to be treated with respect, you have to give respect. I’m sure like the rest of us, we were all taught that from the time we were able to start rebelling against our parents. I don’t pick fights, but I do enjoy finishing them. 😉

  126. Linda L. Julien November 1, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    I was not so organized, but we did happily accept a cupcake from a neighbor, for our 2-year-old. They were even kind enough to think through the consequences of their actions, and gave us a stack of napkins.

  127. NLB November 1, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    I know… God made Dirt, Dirt can’t hurt but dirty kitchen/poor hygiene/improper handling of homemade goodies do bother me. My fear wasn’t instilled in me from my parents, friends or the news… In fact, it only developed over the past 5 or so years from my observations of people in my office. Women who don’t wash their hands as they leave bathroom stalls, one women who is often seen casually digging up her nose for gold apparently and a gentlemen who licks his fingers (each one on each hand) before helping himself to community candy bowls/chip bowls during food days or in between poking through the center of jelly filled donuts to find the ‘one’ that he’s going to take (this same gentleman licked both sides of a knife that was being used by people in our department to cut/help themselves to homemade brownies before.. get this… placing it right back in the pan!). Food days used to be my fave, not so much anymore… I don’t work with a bunch of cavemen – these are highly educated people!

    Anyways, I’m sure most germs do get baked off during the cooking process. Fine. But what about the germs that get added back on to baked goodies while they’re being individually wrapped by… the nice lady who forgot to wash her hands after doing a not so delecate job of cleaning her rear end after a rough bout of explosive diarrhea? (I’m sure she’ll tell you alllll about it during your phone call). Hepatitis A anyone? These things certainly DO happen. At a funeral I attended two years ago, nearly everyone came down with the Norovirus which was later narrowed down to food that was served at the potluck. Several elderly individuals who were in attendance were also hospitalized due to severe dehydration.

    Sorry, but my kiddies won’t be eating your well intended baked goodies. Also… a neighborhood phone tree might be a better way to get your number out around town. Not all trick or treaters are cute toddlers and grade school students whose parents are going to be the final recipient of your number. No one wants to go through the hassle of having to change their number due to crank phone calls at all hours of the night.

  128. Dolly November 1, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Yes Yes Eric you are so much more mature and better than me and the rest of us. Oh wait, no you aren’t because whether you think you argued maturely or not, the point is you still argued. There were probably twenty people who read what I wrote and were mature enough to not respond at all. So they totally got you beat. You have every right to respond and argue, but don’t think that makes you better than me or anyone else. It does not. The best most mature people I know are the people who you can NEVER coax into a fight no matter how hard you come at them. Those are the people that leave me feeling like I lost. The ones who argue back, nah I didn’t lose to them, they were right at my level.

    And yes, I argue with my family and friends on the regular if it needs to be done. So what? They like me anyway. They jump on me when they want to so it goes both ways.

    So again, it takes two to tango and you better stop patting yourself on the back because you didn’t win nor did you come out looking better than me. For one thing there is no right or wrong here. This is all about opinions therefore nobody wins. There is no set rules on anything discussed or argued on this thread.

  129. FrancesfromCanada November 1, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Oh, for pity’s sake. Eric, you were the one who suggested we should only worry about those houses with shabby exteriors. Hence my comment about books and covers. If the rest of you want to have arguments about who judged first, well, go for it.

    But NLB’s point, above, unappetizing though it is, is exactly right. This’ll be why there are restaurant inspectors…

  130. SKL November 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    Say, am I the only person who was thoroughly disappointed by Halloween this year? We only had like 2 trick-or-treaters come to our door. I took my kids around to our usual route, and about a third fewer houses were participating. It was downright depressing. Is this because it’s Monday?

  131. Lila Folster November 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    It seems as if the amount of trick or treaters dwindles yearly, looks like fear and paranoia is doing its job. That is why the Free Range Kids policy is SO important. If the trend is not put in check, soon our children will have no childhood at all.

  132. Stephanie November 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    We actually had more trick-or-treaters than last year!! It’s still not a whole lot, since our immediate neighborhood has a lot of retirees and only some young families. But we managed to make it through nearly all of the candy we bought, which is a big change from the past couple of years. I’m not sure whether this is a matter of changing attitudes or just changing demographics (the older folks moving into assisted living facilities/nursing homes and younger families buying the houses perhaps?), but either way, I’ll take it!

    But pretty much the saddest thing I saw all night was one girl (probably middle school age?) being driven from door to door by a parent, even though most of the lots in my neighborhood are only around 1/4 acre. That’s not a lot of space between houses. I could see bringing along a parent for company when you’re older if the rest of your friends are “too cool” to get dressed up and go door to door… but what is up with the car?!?! 😛

  133. Mrlinda November 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    Y’all saying ‘I NEVER eat food someone I don’t know because their house might be DIRTY” crack me up…

    Talk about worst-case thinking and “You can never be too safe”! You people take the cake. And really, never eat out, you would be horrified by what you found in those kitchens….

  134. Uly November 1, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    Or, Mrlinda, it might be that some people have different levels of squick than you do. Unless you think that ones opinion on food sanitation means they’ll be overprotective in every single area of their lives, I fail to see how it’s your concern.

    It seems as if the amount of trick or treaters dwindles yearly, looks like fear and paranoia is doing its job.

    It “seems” that way, but have you tried keeping track? I find we get about 100, 120 people each year, and that number has been fairly constant since I first started recording it, when I was 15. (I use last year’s numbers to predict next year’s numbers so I can buy the right amount of candy… or glowsticks, as the case may be.)

    Our street is a little side street, the other streets near us get more people (you can see them walking right by us past the corner), and of course on colder or wetter Halloweens we get less people. (Notably, in 2001 we got NOBODY, but not only was that right after 9/11 but it also was cold, gray, and drizzly all day, with periodic bouts of heavier rain. Either one would cut down on trick-or-treaters, both together was a disaster.)

    If the numbers are declining, you still haven’t established the cause. It may be that the population in your area is aging – less kids, less trick-or-treaters. Or it may be that the houses on your street are more and more owned by non-participants. If I look down a block and see few porch lights and no decorations, I’m not going to go down it, I’ll just move on to the next street – and I’ll remember it for next year! Or, if there’s a new development with houses more closely spaced, children might opt to go there instead – bigger haul! Alternatively, they might not be trick-or-treating because they have better things to do – a really scary haunted house in the area, a series of super fun parties, petty vandalism, I don’t know.

    And SKL, I wasn’t disappointed by the numbers we got this year. We got less than last year, but it was also colder and wetter than last year! Funnily enough, my neighbors all ran out early. That’s why I keep track, precisely so I do NOT run out.

  135. Chrissy November 1, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    I love this post! You are soooo right!
    After reading this, my hubby and I discussed it while we followed our daughter around trick – or – treating, so it was great fodder for discussion. We whole-heartedly agree- I mean even IF there is that weirdo out there waiting for Halloween to poison countless little children, wouldn’t the fact that 2 days later 20 kids got sick from the same candy that they got at the same house sort of give the freak away?
    We did inspect our daughter’s candy this year- it went a little something like this:
    Dad: Oh no, who handed out the Almond Joys? You can’t have Almond Joys. Too bad.
    Daughter: (with sad face) why not?
    Dad: Because they’re not good for you (as he pulls the two out of the bowl and stuffs them in his face).
    Daughter: (because she is WAY too smart for Dad) ok Dad, you can share. 🙂

    My question is though- being that so many people are afraid of what horrid stuff you’ve put in your homemade goodies, doesn’t it make you not want to do it because a lot will get thrown away? I love the eyeball cake pops that someone mentioned above- but they take a lot of work. Maybe I’ll start with something that’s not edible so they can get to know us first. LOL

  136. D November 1, 2011 at 11:12 pm #

    Back when I still went out for candy (I stopped about 10 years ago) it was already this huge “your kids are going to die from homemade stuff”. We had one house that everyone in the neighbourhood loved going to because they had quite a bit of money and always handed out a FULL SIZED chocolate bar AND a baggie of goodies. The last year I went out along with that fantastic haul they gave out home made candy apples, along with their name and phone number. My mom never batted an eye when I told her about it (I was old enough to be making my own decisions about what I ate), but I always wondered how many actually got eaten.

  137. wingsnroots November 2, 2011 at 1:25 am #

    I think a lot of families in our neighborhood must read have read this post! We got 5 homemade treats this year, I love the trend- we even got a popcorn ball (YUM!)! My kids were thrilled and those treats were gone before we were home. The parents I was with all thought it was great, too. One joked that the ‘memo’ about razor blade candy and poison cookies hadn’t reached south Minneapolis yet…I took the opportunity to tell them that it was urban legend:)

  138. AnotherAnon November 2, 2011 at 1:49 am #

    @Sera, my kids had pinworms back in June. Kids get them from eating dirt or from touching other kids who have them. It’s got nothing to do with the cleanliness of one’s kitchen.

  139. AnotherAnon November 2, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    Also, @Dolly, it’s not Listeria that cats carry, it’s toxoplasma, and not all cats have it, and they only shed it in their feces. Please stop spreading hysteria.

  140. Susan November 2, 2011 at 2:27 am #

    I’ve weighed the possibility of someone’s kitchen germs ending up in homemade treats versus the 100% guarantee of preservatives and food dyes and other dangerous chemicals in commercially produced baked goods and candy. The choice is simple for us. Restore Halloween to what it used to be, stat! If dietary restrictions get in the way “no thank you — we have food restrictions” works. It is something we’re very used to saying here without bitterness or disappointment. I also recommend a stash of “boos” and brews for the adults. Everyone could stand to lighten up on Halloween.

  141. EricS November 3, 2011 at 12:04 am #

    Oh Dolly. You live in your own little head. You make things out of nothing. I’m not the one arguing. I’m just rebutting everything your trying to come back at me with. You seem to spout off stuff without thinking about it. And all because your hurt, by my comments. You act out of emotion, rather than reason and logic. Wait, isn’t that what heli-parents do? hmmmm. That’s immaturity. And for those that choose not to contest some of your ignorant opinions that you so love to impose on everyone (your the I’m right no matter what anyone says person), that’s their choice. Some people don’t like to argue with others who have no clue. I on the other hand, love to put people like you in their place. We can keep going back and fourth about this for as long as you keep replying back with nonsense. All you have to do is prove me wrong and it will end. But you have yet to do so. I have put holes in your comments from the beginning, which you have yet to patch up. But you seem to keep putting more holes for me to poke at. lol Listen, from one debater to another, here’s a bit of a tip. THINK about what your saying before you say it. The more you argue with me with no merit, and just for the sake of arguing so that you feel better about yourself, the more you end up sounding and looking like what your trying to make everyone else seem to be.

    And yes, there is no right or wrong here (well there is, like you arguing with me for something that you said that was rude and disrespectful. Last I heard rudeness and disrespect AREN’T right, so by definition it’s got to be wrong…morally). Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. BUT…and this is where this whole thing started…when someone rebuts what you have to say with their own opinions, and NOT be belligerent towards you (like you are to them because your feelings got hurt because some doesn’t accept your beliefs), you don’t reply back by chastising them for what they have to say. Remember the saying “face the consequence of your actions”? Are you hearing this Dolly? You pick fights here. Everyone knows that. And just like in life, those who pick fights with me, I fight back. I’m not the type to be the “better man” and back down from someone who is insistent on believing they are right and better than everyone else. Which you seem to do quite often. So if you chose to reply to this post, please, please, at least don’t make yourself look like a dummy by making no sense. If your going to argue with me, at least make it worthwhile. Tell me something I don’t know. Tell me something intelligent. Give me proofs, not just YOUR OWN beliefs. Otherwise your just wasting space. Check. lol

  142. Dolly November 3, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    Eric the same can be said to you. All you have done is insult and post your opinions. I have seen no facts from you either. But just keep thinking you are so above me. Notice that no one else on here is cheering you on or validating you.

  143. Don (@kd7fds) November 3, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    My mother has been making homemade donuts for decades. People call weeks in advance to make sure she is going to be handing out donuts. She gives them to anyone who comes to the door, parents, kids, teenagers.

    Last year, it took until 9pm to hand out 200 donuts. This year she was done by 7pm.

  144. Suzanne November 4, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    I love the idea but I’d feel really sorry for the kids who are allergic to gluten. They already have to throw out some of the chocolate because it contains wheat, but usually 90% of the pure chocolate the sugar candy is fine. Cookies is always a no-go unfortunatly. Especially since the ingredients won’t be listed on the package.

    Can I suggest having a fall back of “regular” candy in case the kid can’t eat the cookie? That way when you say “sorry! allergic” there is something else to give them instead?

  145. Uly November 4, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    Suzanne, that’s a good idea. That’s actually the main reason I didn’t do candy at all the last two years, but gave out glow-sticks (One kid: You did this last year! Me: Yes, and last year I told you to wear a costume THIS year, so why are you so surprised?) instead.

    I wouldn’t want everybody to stop giving out candy or other food treats, but I thought it’d be nice for those kids who are allergic to nearly everything but still want to participate in the holiday.

  146. pentamom November 4, 2011 at 1:27 am #

    Dolly — Do not take this as support of you or of Eric, but I will not allow my silence on a topic to be taken as support of someone or tacit agreement that the other person was wrong.

    I haven’t said anything because I haven’t said anything, and you would be wiser to assume that people haven’t commented one way or the other because they don’t choose to, rather than speculate that it was because we find either or both of you unobjectionable and use that speculation as a weapon in an argument.

  147. EricS November 4, 2011 at 1:31 am #

    Well Dolly, if you stopped and stepped out of your on little world, you would realize my posts were my opinions. None of it had any insulting remarks. YOU just took it as an insult because it contradicted your opinions. And I challenged your rude and condescending remarks. But instead of just saying “that’s your opinion” you insulted me by telling me to kiss your ass. So YOU started the ball rolling, I’m just let it keep going because you want to keep continuing what you started. I react, I don’t start. So if no one starts with me, I don’t react. Listen, if your going to get offended when people give their own opinions that contradict yours, and you reply back rudely and offensively, EXPECT to get the same treatment back. Plain and simple. Your a “me, me, me” person. I know your kind. I’ve had plenty of experience with people like you. You know your in the wrong, the rest of the world can say your wrong. But because you don’t like being undermined, you will argue and argue (even if you stop making sense, or have gone way off topic) till your blue in the face, or till the other person gives up. Just so you can pat yourself on the back and make yourself feel better. Yours is not about finding solutions, or making things better. Yours is about yourself feeling empowered by imposing your views on others. As far as your concerned everyone is wrong and you are right. And anyone with a varying opinion, you will attack. That’s how you’ve always been here.

    I don’t need validation from others, I don’t expect it. Unlike you, I’m not insecure. I don’t need to feel better about myself for the things I say and do. My views are my views. Take it or leave it. And theirs is theirs. I give my opinions whether it’s different from theirs or not. But I would never chastise someone for their beliefs, even if it was different from mine. Unless of course they are like you, who can’t stand their opinions to be criticized, and attack because they felt “undermined”. Or are called out because their opinions are discriminatory and disrespectful. This topic doesn’t need any facts. It’s all about common sense and respect. Which, again, if you read back YOUR OWN posts, you showed none. Just in case you forgot here’s a hint: You assume everyone outside your little circle has dirty kitchens, and throwing away something you accepted with a “smile”. Check. lol

  148. Uly November 4, 2011 at 3:47 am #

    How about this: Right now, you’re both annoying, and gosh I wish we had a proper forum so you could take it to private messaging.

  149. Dolly November 5, 2011 at 5:01 am #

    Oh Eric so NOW you are backtracking and saying that you were just giving your opinion? Funny because earlier you were saying you “proved me wrong with facts”. So which is it? I can’t be wrong about an opinion. No one can. So you did not prove me wrong. I told you to kiss my butt because I found what you said stupid and insulting and wrong. So what? I also felt you were aiming it at me which you pretty much admitted you did. So I responded. Go cry into your pillow someone said something semi mean to you, Boo hoo,

  150. katfrog November 6, 2011 at 4:33 am #

    I actually gave out homemade chocolate chip cookies for trick-or-treaters to eat as they walked around. I blogged about it here – http://katfrog.wegrok.net/2011/10/my-halloween-mission-chocolate-chip.html, and I updated my Halloween mission here – http://katfrog.wegrok.net/2011/11/my-halloween-mission-success.html

  151. kristycat November 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    hmm… my main qualm about doing this (because I love baking and would love to pass out homemade treats) is that I don’t believe most kids would actually get to eat them. I mean, I was raised more or less free-range, but even my parents wouldn’t have let us eat homemade or unwrapped stuff on Halloween. Were they right? Probably not. But they thought they were, and I thought so at the time. So when a kindly neighbor lady dropped homemade cookies or popcorn balls into my bag, my reaction was disappointment – that was a dead house, no edible treats from there.

    I’m interested to hear these statistics (or lack thereof) on dangerous Halloween candy, and I’ll certainly take them into account when my own kid is old enough to trick-or-treat and I have to make those same decisions… but when it comes to handing out stuff at my house? I’m not gonna take a chance on disappointing some poor kid just to make a point to their parents.


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