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What does a permie give trick or treaters?  RSS feed

 
master steward
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We're too rural for trick-or-treaters here, though this certainly hits home!



My sister showed me this cartoon, to which I  replied:

Yes! It reminds me of the year I wanted to give out little toys (the kind that go in piñatas or party bags) instead of candy, in part because of this kind of thing. And in part because candy is not healthy. (You know me!!) So I bought a whole bunch of tiny toys from Oriental Trading, then had a last-minute panic that we'd get egged or something for not passing out candy. Or that kids would be bummed to receive the cheap little crap I'd bought. Which meant that year I gave out little bags with toys *and* candy. Sigh. I can really be a dork some times.



Generally, I agree with Inge, (from this thread, https://permies.com/t/51117/ungarbage/Good-halloween-candy):

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:I do not do halloween or 'trick or treat', but as candy I make 'fruit leather'



Though most years, when we lived in a suburban neighborhood with LOTS of trick-or-treaters, I was too chicken to give out dried fruit or fruit leather.

Do you have trick-or-treaters?
What do you give out?

 
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We have never had trick or treaters until we moved to this little town three years ago so I don't have much experience.
We try to have a lot of washed up organic apples and bags of the small peanut butter cups.  Compromises
We've never had anyone mention special diets...that would be too weird to go 'begging' and expect to have choices?

I know exactly what you mean though Jocelyn...I did try to come up with something else and for our grandkids it would work because they know us and sugar.
For the public though, I think any thing unwrapped gets thrown out now unless the parents know the giver.

When the boys were growing up they would usually go with friends and someone's parents drove....I took them once to the bigger town near by and it was just too crazy for me with cars of kids in line in front of houses waiting to run up and grab candy.

I'm a lot more relaxed about it these days and I'll admit that I love reeses pieces so that is what we get just in case no one comes.....
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Ah, Judith, thank you (as usual!)! I feel less like a flake or too wishy-washy to hear that others compromise, too.

One year, I might have gotten braver and given out that Stretch Island brand fruit leather - I can't recall for certain. I thought it was organic, though not so sure if it is now. Though it is ALL FRUIT, which is important to me. "Fruit snacks" even the organic varieties, are really candy, and often have crap sugars in them and very little fruit.

There's a new(er?) kid on the block in terms of better ingredients than candy - which I think would work as something packaged, too.

https://www.amazon.com/Pure-Organic-Strawberry-Apple-Fruit/dp/B01MZ3IP8P/



Amazon doesn't seem to have the all fruit ones by Pure, though our local Costco does, and I think they are quite a sweet treat!




 
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Some years we get a lot of trick or treaters. I could never afford to give anything other than cheap candy, and I still spent $30 this year. I give it because it's the convention. A lot of it gets thrown away but kids seem to just love amassing it, regardless of whether or not they eat it. I do love seeing all the children in their costumes, they are darling. I will miss it when we move, but I'm sure there will be other options in rural Oregon.
 
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Unbleached paper cups full of bedding material and red wigglers for their compost, what else?

-CK
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Molly Lombas replied on Facebook to say:

seeds - heirloom pumpkins so they can grow their own for next year.


 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Some years we get a lot of trick or treaters. I could never afford to give anything other than cheap candy, and I still spent $30 this year. I give it because it's the convention. A lot of it gets thrown away but kids seem to just love amassing it, regardless of whether or not they eat it. I do love seeing all the children in their costumes, they are darling. I will miss it when we move, but I'm sure there will be other options in rural Oregon.


You're right, the organic all fruit treats are a lot more expensive than the cheap candy. If you have lots of trick-or-treaters, the expense can be rather ridiculous!

Chris Kott wrote:Unbleached paper cups full of bedding material and red wigglers for their compost, what else?

-CK


Somehow, I'm now thinking of that song, Guess I'll Go Eat Worms. Because you know the kids will dare each other to do it! Especially on Halloween!!

 
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Bah!   I'm a Halloween scrooge.  To me it's just another corporate holiday to market cheap, throwaway costumes and candy and crepe paper, which teaches children to waste money and beg for candy, for which they'll struggle the rest of their lives to break their sugar addiction.   I understand why so many spiritually conscious parents are homeschooling now, so they won't be exposed to this stuff all the time.   I don't feel guilty at all about keeping the front of the house dark and not answering the bell for those brave little souls.   Participating in a wasteful activity purely to entertain the kids is foolish in my mind.   Add up all the Hallmark cards and decorations and costumes and cupcakes for every "holiday" that merchandisers have deemed necessary,  and you'd be surprised how much of a family budget is for just junk.   Sorry dear sweet ladies, you can kick me out and over to the Frugal or Environmental forums :)

Folklore has it that trick or treating began with poor children begging for food in exchange for their prayers for the dead.   I'm all for different cultures celebrating, holding vigils, commemorating heritage, renewing vows, etc.     If I had young kids I'd establish our own family tradition by doing something like making a board game relevant to the subject - pull it out once a year to make it special and give them something to do instead of joining the throngs of beggars.   Use the game to have conversations about history and poverty and generosity and sharing and nutrition (it doesn't have to be a classroom thing - just light conversation).  

- my suggestion if you MUST, is little bags of trail mix

  ( Love your idea Chris, lol )

 
Judith Browning
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Molly Lombas replied on Facebook to say:

seeds - heirloom pumpkins so they can grow their own for next year.




Pumpkin seeds are a great idea and susan's trail mix....and chris's worms!  although I'm not sure they would survive the night.

Susan, It's so true...every occasion gets marketed to death and loses all meaning.
 
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This year one of our (odd) neighbors gave my son two giant bags of candy. We'll be giving that out if anyone comes by. In previous years, we'd get some of the organic candy (peanut butter cups, etc) that we also like to eat, but we never had anyone come by, because everyone is on 5 acre plots and the kids are all older.

On idea for toys are hot wheels, which are at least partly metal and not all plastic. They're usually a dollar a car at most grocery stores.

With my husband having Crohn's, and candy being so horrifyingly bad, my kids won't be eating the candy they collect. We'll let them go trick-or-treating, though, and we'll figure out some way to donate their candy to dentists who ship them off to soldiers. Maybe we could just donate them to homeless shelters. Either way, we'l get them something else in repayment for the candy. I'm not about to be frustrated that people give out candy that my kids can't eat.

Speaking of candy made from real fruit, Jamba Juice now makes fruit leather that's just fruit leather in fun star shapes, with added vitamins. They're really quite tasty and fun! https://www.jambafruitsnacks.com
 
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

Generally, I agree with Inge, (from this thread, https://permies.com/t/51117/ungarbage/Good-halloween-candy):

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:I do not do halloween or 'trick or treat', but as candy I make 'fruit leather'



Though most years, when we lived in a suburban neighborhood with LOTS of trick-or-treaters, I was too chicken to give out dried fruit or fruit leather.

Do you have trick-or-treaters?
What do you give out?



I wouldn't allow my kids to eat a home made treat. Too risky. So anyone giving out fruit leather would be wasting effort on my kiddos.

Otherwise we don't live anywhere close to people so no trick or treaters here.
 
elle sagenev
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Chris Kott wrote:Unbleached paper cups full of bedding material and red wigglers for their compost, what else?

-CK



With a lid I hope! lol
 
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First Halloween night for me at my new property.   "I asked what will I eat if left over?"  I normally don't eat candy.  So bought 2 full size bags Reese's pieces at the big box store.   I haven't a clue how many will show up.  It is a tiny town.

Halloween results, 0 kids, by me, a bank worker in a near town and another person too.  So ate the reese's and turn in the other bag for a refund, dumped lollipops at bank.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Nicole Alderman wrote:
On idea for toys are hot wheels, which are at least partly metal and not all plastic. They're usually a dollar a car at most grocery stores.


Uh, in our old neighborhood, we had 50 or more kids come by, so while I do think that's a far cooler toy, that would add up fast! Hence my cheap plastic crap idea...that I ended up not liking.

Nicole Alderman wrote:With my husband having Crohn's, and candy being so horrifyingly bad, my kids won't be eating the candy they collect. We'll let them go trick-or-treating, though, and we'll figure out some way to donate their candy to dentists who ship them off to soldiers. Maybe we could just donate them to homeless shelters. Either way, we'l get them something else in repayment for the candy. I'm not about to be frustrated that people give out candy that my kids can't eat.


I agree. My son was the gluten-free kid when it wasn't nearly so common. I had one neighbor mom ask if he could eat packaged cinnamon rolls since they didn't have wheat flour. She apparently didn't know that "flour" was made from wheat and only recognized it when the label said "whole wheat" or something.

When my son went to birthday parties, I would tell/forewarn the parents that he couldn't eat the cake or the ice cream (he couldn't have dairy most of the time either). And they would try to offer to do something for him. For the reasons above, I would politely decline, explaining that they had too much to do in planning the party, that I didn't want us making more work for them. (Here, there'd usually be a barely disguised sigh of relief!) And I'd tell them that I'd send my son with his own treat. Since I didn't usually buy candy, which my son *did* enjoy, for the parties, I would offer to buy him whatever he wanted to take as his treat when the other kids ate cake. He usually chose gummy worms, or sour gummy treats of some kind.

Then, after doing this for a while, he said to me, "you're buying me that treat for the party, aren't you?"
"Yessss." ()
"Well, what if, instead of spending money on the treat, you buy me an action figure I want?"
"HELL YESS!!" "Um, sure, I can do that."  (I tried, and often failed, to play it cool as a parent. )

So, even when there was a pizza party or a surprise ice cream treat at school, etc., he would learn delayed gratification by not partaking, yet knowing I would get him a toy that would last far longer, and provide many hours of creative play. I was rather thrilled he figured out how to choose something far more lasting than fleeting sugar on the tongue!

Nicole Alderman wrote:Speaking of candy made from real fruit, Jamba Juice now makes fruit leather that's just fruit leather in fun star shapes, with added vitamins. They're really quite tasty and fun! https://www.jambafruitsnacks.com


Oooh, they are even organic - those look really cool!

 
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We are too far out in the county (and live down a long twisty road with trees hanging overhead) for trick or treaters.

I couldn't justify giving out candy... but might consider handing out sticks, plants, and subversive literature... or maybe kittens!
 
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Since I'm already crosswise with permies.com sentiment in the good use for Halloween candy thread where the universal starting point for discussion is that by no means should letting children eat it be considered, I guess I might as well be the contrarian in this thread as well.

How many active threads do we have going right now that talk about the value of community, the importance of being on good terms with your neighbors, and the "prepper" skill of relationship-building?

Well, a common thread across all of those is participating in community rituals, with cheerfulness and goodwill.  

And that's what Halloween is -- a community ritual.  Happy children dressed in costume, knocking at your door begging for candy.

They're not begging for fruit leather, worms, pumpkin seeds, wool socks, toothbrushes, religious tracts, or no-bake cookies made with sorghum molasses and organic oats and carob chips.  (Something that I was actually given as a trick-or-treater in my childhood.)

Your community may forgive you if you decline to participate in the ritual by turning off illumination at your house and not answering the door.  People of good will, will assume you are not home.  The rest will figure you are grumpy-grinches, but will probably give you a pass.

But if you illuminate your door and put up decorations and answer the doorbell with a bowl in your hand, the ritual expectation is that the bowl will contain what the little ghoulies want (candy) or something better.  One ancient old man in my home town gave out Eisenhower metal dollars; nobody missed his house.  One woman made huge cream-filled chocolate eclairs that everyone loved.  (It was a small town; nobody minded home-made treats if they were better than candy.)  Large popcorn balls were not uncommon; childhood opinion was divided on whether they were "as good as" candy, but nobody considered them a cop-out.  Extra points if they had M&Ms or candy corn in them.  

But giving something that is inferior (not objectively or by the values here at permies.com, but by the values of the community members participating in the ritual, who are the children) is to disrespect the community ritual.  The people who knock on your door may parse this as unfriendly, or as disrespectful.  They certainly won't feel all that warmly about it.  We children tended to despise the people who did it, back in the day.  I doubt the children of today feel all that much different.  And sure, I (we) can construct an argument about a teachable moment and living our permaculture values by example and all that, but is messing up a community ritual -- deliberately choosing to participate in it without carrying out your appointed role -- really going to have that effect?  

Back in my childhood, the people who handed out no-bake carob cookies sweetened with molasses were despised as "hippies" by the kids who were unfortunate enough to go to that house.  We didn't learn an uplifting lesson about countercultural values or organic nutrition; we learned that hippies didn't know how to play right.  That they were weird.  Other.  Disdainful of us.

I humbly submit that permaculturalists are at risk of conveying the same sort of unintended negative messages if they choose to participate in Halloween community rituals but insist on not following community norms -- however toxic we may find those norms -- while doing so.  (And it is, after all, only one day out of the year!)

The only solution that I can see is to be like the Eisenhower dollar guy: if you just can't bear to give out candy as the children expect, the challenge is to find something within your (our) value system that the children actually will think is better than candy.  And that's likely to be a lot more expensive than cheap corn syrup solids and Yellow #5.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Another option, too, is to locate candies that taste good but are organic. Like Trader Joes lolli pops or organic candies, or Justin's Organic Peanut Butter cups or bags of organic M & Ms. These may be a bit more expensive, but they ARE delicious, and the kid's not going to be disappointed. They look and taste like the real candy, and come in a wrapper. If nothing else, you'll be at the level of someone who gives out the candies no one likes.

I personally LOVE Trick or Treating, especially in one's own neighborhood. When I was young, we lived on a dead-end road with maybe 20 houses on it, all 1 acre plots. It was the only place we trick or treated, but we got LOADS of candy, because our neighbors each gave out a handful. I had one neighbor that would actually give us a baggy full of candy. The neighbor was a little wonky, but him giving us candy made us not fear him. He was a nice guy who built us a school bus stop shelter, too. It's acts like him giving us candy on Halloween that built bonds that spanned generations. Trick or treating is also one of the few times I would see and say "Hi" to many of my older neighbors. It was a culturally appropriate excuse to knock on their door. Now that I try to know my neighbors, it's HARD to find excuses to knock on their door and build those bonds!

I haven't taken my kids trick or treating in our neighborhood, because there's so few houses, and I don't want to make people feel bad, especially as no one has trick or treated at our place yet...but hopefully we'll be able to try next year, especially as there's more and more kids moving into the neighborhood!

Edit: Another option is to mix in things like fruit leather or fruit snacks or toys WITH the candy, and they can pick what they want. That way, they won't hate you for giving out fruit leather if they can choose the peanut butter cups instead
 
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Seeds!

Honestly, give what ever you want, or nothing at all, it's really not a big deal.
Halloween is very flexible, only your own kids really have expectations of you.
My kids are going to be away,one  scoring some candy with her friend and the other some  Latter Day Saintlyness with his church.

Having given up my own traditions of dressing up Halloween in favor of making it fun for my kids, its a relief to be off duty this year.
I did put out some cash for craft supplies, but I'm a sucker for homemade costuming.

As an adult,I would love a holiday where we swapped seeds and plant starts.

 
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William Bronson wrote:
As an adult, I would love a holiday where we swapped seeds and plant starts.


I want that holiday too! Can I dress up in costume, come to your house and rummage through your seed offerings? :D
Because I like good excuses to dress up neat ...
 
Stacy Witscher
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Depending on where you live having a seed/seedling swap at a spring equinox or may day celebration sounds doable.
 
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And seeds and plant starts symbolise life's potential, so I could see them used in similar contexts as eggs at Easter or other spring festivals.

-CK
 
Chris Kott
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Or egg-shaped seed balls?

-CK
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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There are a lot of seeds or starts that are great to plant in the fall, so I think an adult Halloween all about that would be awesome!

Very good points previously about fostering community with traditions and conventions, or finding a middle ground instead of thumbing you nose at the rest of society. This thread has turned out rather awesome, if you ask me.

So back to seeds and things at Easter, we have a great thread that Casie Becker started about confetti eggs made with seeds! I love that idea!  https://permies.com/t/54577/Confetti-eggs. So conversations about spring stuff could go there (or a gazillion other seed ball or seed saving or spring seed threads). Let's keep this thread about Halloween and fall things, if possible.

While seed exchanges are more common in the spring, I really like the idea of a Halloween time or fall one too! We still haven't planted all the garlic we'd like to plant. What about an anti-vampire garlic exchange on Halloween? Muwhahahaha!  ;-)

 
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