From my family to yours: six strategies for trick or treat

Kelly of Cobwebs, Cupcakes and Crayons invited me to participate in her brilliant brainstorm called “Collectively Creative” — a group of bloggers, each of whom offer his/her take on a particular subject on the same day.  For this initial edition, Kelly suggested the topic of Halloween.  I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be a part of it!  Be sure to scroll down to see the other bloggers’ posts — they have such amazingly fun, crafty and tasty ideas!

I asked my family what was their best tip for an awesome Halloween, and — surprise, surprise — it all came down to strategies for trick or treat.  I was a little surprised at how much thought the kids had put into it.  The planning, I tell you, was astounding.  They had considered every angle, loophole and detail, right down to the physics of how much weight they could carry while still maintaining top running speed.  Scary.

Here are our top six tips for making the most of your Halloween haul:

1.  My older son M’s advice:  Know your neighborhood.  As a sage veteran of trick or treat, he broke it down as follows:

  • Don’t go out too early, even if the official hours say you can.  In our neighborhood, you can start as early as 4 p.m., but no one is really ready to hand out candy at that time.
  • Along those lines, don’t get sidetracked by houses with no lights on.
  • Know the quickest route around your subdivision so that you can speed through in a quick and efficient manner without trampling people’s flowerbeds.
  • Always know which houses give out the king-sized candy bars.  You know who they are (and in case you don’t, just follow the stampede of kids).

2.  My daughter E’s advice:  Test the limits of your costume before the big night.

LandShark! Fun but hard to run in….

  • You should make sure that you can run in your costume.  Last year, she wore a shark get-up that we borrowed from a friend.  She loved it, but she couldn’t run through the neighborhood as quickly as her brothers.
  • Wear sneakers with your costume.  Little princess heels look cute and work at school parties, but nothing beats sneakers in the run for the candy.
  • Costumes should keep you warm without overheating you.  You may need to negotiate with your parents about wearing hats, gloves, and sweats underneath your costume.  (Sidenote:  why do I have the feeling that we will be engaged in “warmth talks” for the rest of this month until the big day?)
  • Did she mention that you should really be able to run in it?

3.  My son C’s strategy:  Always carry a flashlight and a “good” candy bag.

  • Of course you probably won’t need a flashlight, but man, it’s fun to shine around as you streak from house to house.
  • Also, this 8-year-old highly recommends using an old pillowcase instead of a plastic pumpkin to carry your candy haul.  Pillowcases are lightweight so they don’t slow you down on the first few houses you hit, yet they can expand as you continue trick or treating.
  • If you are a kid, my son wants you to lean in for this next part:  try to get your parents to carry around a spare pillowcase.  If they are going to follow you around the neighborhood, it would be great if they could bring along a second pillowcase to switch out when yours gets too heavy and slows you down.  See?  Win-win.  (This is my favorite part of C’s strategy — it’s new this year, and I’m wondering if he thinks we’re going to play along with it.  I will give him points for creativity.).

4.  My husband S’s advice:  Free candy is worth a good show of manners. Personally, I think this was more for my children’s benefit than for this post, but his advice for an awesome Halloween is that the kids should always say “Trick or Treat!” and “Thank you very much!” loudly but politely.  He also noted that he’d hate for the kids to lose good running time by having to go back up, ring the doorbell, just to say thank you loud enough that he can hear it from the curb.  (Oh, if you could have only seen the meaningful looks my kids gave each other.  Fantastic.)

5.  My tip:  Eat something real before you go out!  Halloween is all about the sugar overload, and I get that.  But between the school parties and all the candy downed in the space of a couple of hours, the kids’ stomachs need a layer of actual food.

Because we’ll be in costume-party-trick-or-treat mode for most of the day, I’m using my trusty slow cooker to make pulled-pork sandwiches.  Easy, fast, and delicious, this recipe (which my mom passed on to me) can be served when you are ready for dinner and is perfect for providing an alternative to take-out on Halloween:

Mom’s Slow-cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches

  • 1 boneless pork loin roast (about 3 pounds or so)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses

Put onion slices on the bottom of the crockpot.  Place pork roast on top of the onion slices; pour in the water.  Cover and cook for at a least 8 hours on low setting.

Remove roast from crockpot and place on plate.  Using two forks, shred pork.  Discard liquid and onions from crockpot.  Place shredded pork, barbecue sauce, honey and molasses back into crockpot and cover.  Cook at least another hour.

Serve on large kaiser rolls with sides of coleslaw, apple slices, and pickle spears.  Follow with an unbelievable amount of fun-sized candy bars.

6.  From Louie:  Never feed chocolate to the dog, no matter how much we beg and how adorable we look.  (He’s amazingly articulate for a puppy, don’t you think?)

For all the trick or treaters out there:  may your feet be swift, your shoes stay tied and when the night is over, may your parents not filch all your really good candy.  Have a great Halloween!


And don’t forget to check out the posts from the other fantastic bloggers in this Creatively Collective Halloween edition:

Thanks, Kelly, for including me — this was fun!  Happy Halloween, everyone!

About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
This entry was posted in Cooking, Crafts, Family, Halloween, Holidays, Mothering and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to From my family to yours: six strategies for trick or treat

  1. I LOVE how you included your whole family in this post! GREAT tips!!! 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness, this post had me laughing so hard. My favorite is your son C’s tip about getting your parents to carry an extra pillowcase. Genius. And your husband’s subtle note that he’d “hate for the kids to lose good running time” by having to go back and say thank you. Hilarious. Thank you so much for being part of the first Collectively Creative!

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  4. These tips are great. I love how kids think. My favorite tip is knowing who gives out the good candy. Ha!

    • I remember that my brothers and I always knew which house gave out full-size Clark bars (oh…. Clark bars. I love them!), but I don’t remember having such detailed plans about trick or treat. It was eye-opening, for sure!

  5. You had me at pork and honey/bbq sauce! Great tips, I love how kids are always so honest with their approach. Totally important to be able to move in the costume and layer for the weather. 🙂

    • That pulled-pork recipe is to die for (my completely unbiased opinion, you understand!). It’s a “special” day menu that my kids are guaranteed to eat with little fuss — which is perfect before the big run. Hope you try it!

      Even though my older son M isn’t going trick-or-treating this year (he’s staying home to hand out the candy), he had such definite opinions about how to maneuver through the neighborhood. It was an … enlightening conversation, to say the least! 🙂

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  8. This is brilliant advice and I love that it came from each family member. i am going to share this blog with my students just before Halloween. Thanks! ~Thea

  9. Leah says:

    Haha, great post! Your writing style really shined – I couldn’t help but laugh a few times! 🙂

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  11. electricada says:

    Wow some great tips – your kids sound like professional candy hunters! And the pork recipe sounds gorgeous, I’m definitely adding it to my crock pot list 😀

    • I know — from their planning/tactical mission for trick or treat, one would think they never get candy/sugar any other day of the year! I kind of threw the question out over the dinner table and was shocked by the level of detail. Now if only that kind of energy were dedicated to, say, homework or chores…. 🙂

      Hope you try the pulled pork recipe. Let me know if you do!

  12. Susan Bahr says:

    Wonderful post – made me wish my kids were little again… care for another tip? After trick or treating, my girls would pick a few favorite pieces to eat that night, then each day they would set aside what they would eat for that day. Great way to keep track and manage how much sugar they’d eat each day and… they decided, not me!
    Love the pillowcases… my daughters figured that one out late in their trick or treating years…

    • So you picked the number of pieces they could have (e.g., “You may have 5 pieces of candy tonight”) and then they picked which candy or did they pick out how many and what kind? Either way, that’s good advice — and a nice lesson in moderation.

      Yeah, that pillowcase trick surprised me, especially since my youngest is the one who hatched that plan this year. He tried to make it seem like it’s really in all of our best interests to help him haul home as much candy as we can. Natural salesman, that one.

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