So as I mentioned over on my other (much more popular) blog, when we had Dennis, our fearful vizsla, on Halloweens, we abandoned the practice of answering the door and handing out candy directly, instead putting out a big box of candy and a sign and dispensing it on the honor system*. Generally, this has worked out fine; there was only one year where, when we went to the collect the box at the end of the evening, we found its contents completely emptied (and, if I remember correctly, the box itself was out in the yard). This year, although there’s no Dennis around, there is a pandemic, and so there was no chance at all we would be interacting with ghosts and Batmen and princesses and whatnot**, and so, we put out the box and the sign and it was business as usual.
Anyway, on this particular Halloween, my wife and I both happened to be in the front office—the closest window to the box of candy—when some trick-or-treaters arrived. We heard excited exclamations when they discovered the box, followed by audible and extended sounds of rummaging around. We both figured that this meant the visitors were staging a raid on the candy and that the box was going to be emptied, but since we had decided that the prudent thing was going to be to just leave the box out until the morning, we didn’t go to investigate. So you can imagine my surprise when, on the day after Halloween, I went to get the box, I discovered that it was still mostly full of chocolate. Plus some new stuff.
It turned out that what our excited, candy-rummaging visitors were doing was exchanging candy they had but apparently didn’t want for the candy that we had put out. Our box had consisted entirely of chocolate: Kit-Kats, Reeses peanut butter cups (the small ones; any full-sized Reeses peanut butter cups that enter the house never leave except via my belly), Snickers, Heath bars, Milk Duds, Whoppers, and Hershey’s Cookies & Cream.
We still had plent of all those, but we also had things that we didn’t put in there, including but not limited to:
- Sour Patch Kids
- Skittles (when I mentioned this to a friend and his son, the son was incredulous. “Who would trade in Skittles? Skittles are awesome!”)
- Halloween-shaped pretzels
- Knott’s Berry Farm cookies
There was probably more; I didn’t really conduct a full audit, I just dumped what was left into a bag and stuck it in the freezer*****. If the candy lasts until next Halloween, it’ll end up back in the box. Maybe some neighborhood kid will recognize their contribution from the previous year.
Anyway, we thought it was pretty funny (and showed a good sense of fair play) that whoever did the swapping didn’t just help themselves to all the candy. They had stuff they didn’t want, so rather than just grab our offerings by the fistful, they traded in their unwanted packages and, presumably, took an extra piece of chocolate for each one they put back. We don’t begrudge them this at all; it’s really not much different from making change at the Milk Farm.
Oh, and, of course, I can’t conclude a post with this title without a little song, now, can I?
* Many years ago, when my now-wife came up from Long Island to visit me in central New York, she was astounded by several local instances of the honor system in use, such as: (1) The “Milk Farm”, an unattended dairy store where you would take your milk and leave your money in a pan that was full of money other people had left for their milk, including making your own change; (2) Pumping your gas and then going inside to pay for how much you took, rather than going inside first and saying how much you wanted***; and (3) going to a jewelry store and having the sales clerk bring out a box full of wedding rings for you, then wander off, leaving said box out with all the rings in it for you to look at and try on and the jewelry cabinet unloced****.
** Those are not the right kind of masks.
*** This was before “pay at the pump” became prevalent, of course.
**** I’m guessing the sales clerk wasn’t supposed to do that sort of thing.
***** I didn’t put the Skittles in the freezer; I left those out and ate them. Not just because they’re awesome, but because when you freeze things with candy coatings, condensation forms on the coating when it thaws out and then you get green and red and purple food coloring all over your fingers. Been there, done that, right, M&Ms?