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Halloween-Bankers-Commodity Traders----commical lessons  RSS feed

 
Dale Hodgins
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   This comical thread will show you how to accomplish two tasks in a very frugal manner.   

  1. Gather as much candy as possible without doing all the work of trick-or-treating.     

  2. Avoid giving candy to kids who show up at your house.

   1. This first one could fit into the labor frugality thread. There's an important message near the end.             When I was a kid I was a master of picking proper routes, hitting good doors twice, and wearing  light athletic clothing so that I could cover amazing distances. In this way, I was able to get much more than my fair share of the meager Halloween spoils from the little town of Ripley, Ontario.

    I come from a family of 10 kids, so we were not lavished with everything we wanted. Halloween was anticipated well in advance. I treated it like a military campaign. My battle plan included bringing  extra bags which I would stash in bushes as they filled up. My mom would drive me to the hiding spots after the spoils dried up, which usually happened around 10 o'clock. I would often show up at someone's door with only a few chunks of candy in the bottom of my bag, knowing that elderly people who were thinking of calling it a night, might dump the rest of their stash to help the kid who had obviously started too late.

   I learned early that you don't want to get too involved in conversation with elderly people on Halloween. Before you know it, they've got you drinking hot chocolate, and you lose 20 min. of prime grab time.  

    I used to run a marathon every Halloween, one time, wearing only a bathing suit in the belief that this would increase my efficiency. It was a frosty night and I nearly froze.

    Upon returning home, I often had as much candy ss all of the other kids combined. There were never more than six of us the right age for trick-or-treating at any given time. Every year we would compare our treasure and then I opened my "commodities trading enterprise."
       

         MY POINT AND I DO HAVE ONE, IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PARAGRAPH
     I knew that my sister liked certain things, while my brothers liked other things. I conducted various trades where I gave small quantities of the desperately desired items in exchange for big piles of things they didn't want. Then I would take the same big piles of stuff and offer trades to the other siblings who invariably had different tastes. There were enough of us that almost any of this candy was of value to someone. Through  disinformation and isolation I orchestrated all of this trading. The end result was always the same. Each of them would quit trading when they realized their pile had shrunk by as much as 80%. They would be left with a few choice morsels which they had been wise enough to stash. The crazy thing is that this happened year after year until I outgrew the practice , and the little buggers never learned their lesson.                 Looking at it now, I realize that I was behaving much like a bank or a stockbroker. I was taking advantage of unsophisticated traders to my own advantage, while selling the idea that everyone would benefit. With every transaction my customers would lose a little bit more.   As adults. I've often reminded my siblings of their Halloween experience if I see that they're about to make some horrible investment decision or take on insurmountable debt. I don't mind being the bad guy in the story because, after all. I was also the winner.

   I didn't eat much of this candy, although sometimes I had as much as four garbage bags full of it. I would take some to school every day and trade it off for roast beef sandwiches with real butter, pencils, pens, writing paper and anything else that was in short supply at my house. My crappy lunches of peanut butter and sawdust were upgraded.  In the period immediately following Halloween, there's a glut in the market for junk food. I withheld my product from the market until at least the third week of November, and it often lasted well into the spring.

    1b.  I'm 47 now and no longer deal little kids out of their Halloween candy. But I found a very efficient manner of trick-or-treating. Whenever I visit any of my friends who don't have young children at home I'll ask them how many kids they got on Halloween. Usually, the number is low, and they ask me if I want all the leftovers. This happened three times last year and I had enough tooth rotting crap to last me for months. So far I've been unable to find anyone willing to trade stale candy for organic roast beef. My daughter babysits; maybe those kids are ripe for some education on the dangers of unscrupulous brokers and commodity traders.



      2. It's easy to avoid giving out candy on Halloween. You just need one of those signs stating that you're part of a religious group that thinks the whole thing is part of a satanic cult designed to destroy our youth.

     Or you can dim all the lights and pretend you're not home.

     But my favorite is to offer soup.  Give each kid a plastic bag and then walk over with a big ladle full of really thick pea soup. Most kids will politely decline the offer.     If you try any of this stuff, put the car in the garage for the night and release the hounds. Kids are rotten.
 
Brice Moss
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Location: rainier OR
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dale hodgins wrote:
 

     But my favorite is to offer soup.  Give each kid a plastic bag and then walk over with a big ladle full of really thick pea soup. Most kids will politely decline the offer.


dude that soup would have so ended up on the walls of the neighbor with the lights dimmed when I was a kid
 
Tyler Ludens
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My husband and I deliberately go to town to help my dad hand out toothbrushes (he's a retired dentist) to the kids on Halloween, because we don't get trick-or-treaters in the country. 
 
Brice Moss
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do the neighborhood kids often decorate his trees (with tp) or walls (with eggs) for Halloween for him?
 
Tyler Ludens
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No, his neighbors seem to like him. 

 
ellen rosner
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
My husband and I deliberately go to town to help my dad hand out toothbrushes (he's a retired dentist) to the kids on Halloween, because we don't get trick-or-treaters in the country.   


that's a cool idea. I don't get tricker-treaters where I live, but if I did, I wouldn't give them candy.
That'd be like giving them cocaine.
I guess I'd give some other treat, like nuts or something. I'd like to give them apples, but everyone remembers the razor-in-the-apple, so aples have been given a bad Halloween image.
 
                            
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All apples go into a couple of apple pies.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Dale, What fun. Very resourceful and very funny. Thanks for the hoot!
Thekla
 
John Master
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As one of 8 kids I had about the same kind of Halloween experience growing up, usually filled half a pillow case full and spent the following days sorting organizing and altogether cherishing that pile of loot. Wish I were wise enough to barter it out like Dale!
 
Erica Wisner
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I now see the logic behind the multiple-sack Halloween campaigns. 

I generally felt like I had the best Halloween ever, although my typical 'haul' was never more than 1/4 bag of candy (maybe half, if it was one of those small plastic pails).

Our neighborhood always had a big block party.  This was my favorite neighborhood event each year - better than Christmas caroling, or birthdays, or berry season. 

Pot-luck dinner at one house, first, usually with a haunted house or some other trickery (they had the oldest boys on the block, who were 'gainfully employed' coming up with fun and gross tricks for the party itself.  When they didn't do a haunted house, or haunted garden, they might have the blind-touch-guessing game with lots of gross things in bags or shoeboxes).
The other houses varied over the years - bobbing for apples, spin the bottle, Twister, pin the tail on the monster, spiderweb 'maze' where the room was full of cris-crossing strings, and you each had to unstring one particular string to find your treat at the end.  A few enterprising moms got the kids to help make their own popcorn balls, or caramel apples, or little craft thingies, but mostly they just had something fun ready to do when we arrived at the door.  Generally one parent at each house would stay home to fend off trick-or-treaters from the larger neighborhood. 

In hindsight, this party might even have been a deliberate ploy to keep us safe and downplay the sugar.  A few of the bigger boys got into the 'athletic candy-campaign' thing, but they missed the party.

The participating families trick-or-treated between participating houses, doing regular trick-or-treating at the neighbors without kids. But with all the houses that had planned games or indoor activities, we'd easily spend 2-3 hours on just our two blocks. 
By the time the party was done, we might go one street over for 'regular' trick or treating, if we had the energy.  
But of course those were the late hours, with picked-over assortments, and guttering candles.  Just hitting up houses for candy was the anti-climax of the evening.

We always came home to gleefully sort our shiny loot in a pail or bag - an inch or so of candy at the bottom of a grocery sack; or half a pumpkin (we took turns with the one plastic pumpkin bucket from Goodwill, one year or another). 
It seemed like the same trick-or-treat experience as the kids at school - we all had our opinions about which candy was 'best,' what time of night you got the best loot as opposed to the lame leftovers - but I didn't care about the quantity.

I vaguely remember that some kids at school did talk about TPing.  Our house got egged once - but not at Halloween.  Those things happened most especially when my prettiest (younger) sister was in high school, as I recall. 
The best Halloween prank I can remember was actually a pumpkin that didn't get carved one year, and sat around until my folks decided to carve it and set out the following spring for April Fools'.

I vaguely remember realizing that some of the kids at school did the 'campaign' with big bags of candy.  Now I can see the value, as trading collateral, especially to the scrappier boys who usually played this game the hardest. 

Are most holidays, at the bottom, an opportunity to re-distribute wealth through revelry, generosity, and shameless commerce? 
(Mid-winter feasts, Easter fast and feast, and harvest festivals have similar socially-sanctioned begging, gift-giving, and public distribution of food and treats, as major traditional features of the holidays.  However, it seems likely that late winter is a very hungry time, and is missing some holiday of this kind - or maybe that's a devious advantage for Valentine's Day, to ensure the poor lasses are hungry enough to express a proper appreciation for their gifts?).

I never envied the kids who hoarded enormous hauls of gradually-hardening candy.  And I was always a skeptic about those multi-candy for one 'good candy' trades - though I might go as far as 2-for-1 if I really wanted to get rid of wax lips or Charleston chews.  I felt like I had quality over quantity - our block party was the best ever.

I don't remember anyone in our block needing to barter for pencils or paper.
But I do remember the same family that usually hosted the first part of the block party, one year their dad came home with several boxes of surplus 3-ring plastic binders from work, with something about salmon recovery printed on them.  We took a good-sized stash of them, and used them for school (covered with different colors of paper or cloth, or just written over with Sharpie) for years.
And our neighbor with an appliance-repair business, who kept our elderly washing machine and dryer in working order pretty continuously for several years, on the strength of one home-made blueberry pie per visit.  They didn't have kids in the house most years, but sometimes their grandkids would join in.
(With 6 in the house, and all of us trained to do our own laundry from whatever age we could reach the lid of the washer, we probably had a number of preventable pocket-contents malfunctions.  And I know the cats deposited half-mauled snakes in the dryer - or possibly the snakes crawled in there to recover after the cat got bored?)

Anyway, I think my childhood probably had a lot more 'social capital' than I realized at the time.  There were some neighborhood craft lessons, language lessons, a lot of hand-me-down clothes that got offered first to neighbors before they made it to Goodwill.  I would like to think that's normal, or was, but the more I hear about other people's childhoods, the more I look back and think mine was maybe something special even at that time.

I haven't seen a costumed kid in our rural neighborhood in the past 5 years, and I've pretty much stopped stocking candy for Halloween.  Maybe I'll do it this year, just in case I've jinxed it now.

-EKW
 
Michael Newby
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The soup idea is good, but I feel like I would get more satisfaction out of this:


Chocolate covered brussel sprouts!

Just to be able to see the horror come across their faces as they realize that they weren't eating a delicious chocolatey morsel but instead a dreaded mini-cabbage.  So evil...
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Those look pretty good to me, Michael.

This thread reminds me of my days of playing "banker" as a child. I used to trade nickels for dimes with the not-so-bright kids in school. I'd tell them what a deal they were getting because the nickels were larger. Kind of feel bad about it now.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Erica, what a delightful post.  Here's hoping there are a few more neighborhoods having block parties next year, now that the word is out.
 
William Bronson
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Hadn't seen any posts from you in a while Dale-educational and hilarious as usual!

I was just explaining to my son that candy corn was considered the worst kind of filler candy back in my day.
Sort of the pocket lint of candy,with the only worse thing being orange circus peanuts.
Strangely,I enjoy each of these a bit nowadays,but I love Brussels sprouts too,so...

Edit: on further examination, this appears to be a rather old thread.
Has anyone heard from Dale lately?
 
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