When Your Kids Ghost

In Southern California, October is Fire Season. It comes between School Season and Holiday Season, making it the barbecue sauce between two dry pieces of bread from which all your family dollars have been sucked. You can’t even afford a leaf of iceberg lettuce to cheer it up. Basically, the last three months of the year are like a saltine sprinkled with soot.

The multiple fires over the last couple of weeks have me on edge because I’ve got various children lying in their paths and when they bother to respond to my frantic texts, it’s to say, “Chill out mom. I’m fine.”

“Look out the window and tell me what you see!”

“A bunch of ash falling. No big deal.”

“According to the internet, you are in the evacuation zone. Pack your little bags and come stay with me until it’s over.”

“Mom. When pigs fly. Oh hey! Then it would rain bacon, right?”

This is no help at all. I started packing to evacuate on their behalf.

This is why families evolve from Halloween into Oktoberfest. The highlight of the month shifts from Butterfingers bars to beer. We went from sticking candy corn on our front teeth (you know who your are) to watching The Blob while rooting through a bag of mini-Snickers. Those things fly right under the diet radar.

I wandered from the bathroom to the basement, looking for what I will take with me when I go. In the process, I found these. Oh, the good ol’ days when I could make pigs fly.

They are cute little anarchists.

SuperGirl is super unimpressed.

Stinkerbell is also unimpressed.

Where to begin…

Ninja, cowboy, pediatrician, lion…

Red, Snow, Davy, Luke, gator, dragon…

Buzz, Woody, witch, cowboy, clown, pumpkin…

Can’t go wrong with a toga.

A cornfield…

Hope My Sweet Westley doesn’t get hungry.

Bride, clown, Jasmine…and Kung Fu Panda?

Candy is Dandy

Welcome to America, where we can reduce almost any occasion into a reason to eat sweets.

Somehow “All Hallow’s Eve” became some sort of tradition that morphed into what America thinks is actually a holiday.

I am blaming it fair and square on the candy industry.

Frankly, I think we were hoodwinked into this whole Tom-foolery.

No one gets Halloween off, so we can’t call it a holiday. As a matter of fact, most years it falls on a school night which is just a planning faux pas.

Someone needs to organize this ‘folly-day’ if we’re forced into acknowledging it.

Try telling your kids, “We’re not running around the neighborhood in the dark wearing face paint on a school night. You haven’t done your homework and it’s your bedtime. There’s absolutely no reason for it. Why would we do this??”

And they will tell you.

Candy.

Right.

This part is where America is not the land of the freedom to make these decisions nor the home of the brave parents who attempt to do so.

If the candy industry is going to run my home then the least it could do is come up with some good candy.

Weird Candy: Mexican piñatas hold odd chewy fruit combos. There is chili powder in their lollipops and sometime whole salted plums.

Prunes in the lollies? Why?

Pez. It’s chalk. It’s chalk, people.

Painful Candy: Warheads, cinnamon balls, Poprocks, Sour Patch Kids. Why do you want your candy to fight back?

Any gum. I used to blow bubbles inside of bubbles in my school days. Then I had braces and rejected all things sticky, chewy and gummy like taffy, Skittles, gummy bears, Starburst, Tootsie Rolls or caramels.

Unfortunately, this includes jelly beans. Sorry, Easter bunny.

On the other hand, Lifesavers are pretty straight forward. Best flavors are butterscotch and lemon or lime.

Anything with a cookie, coconut or peanut butter wins a vote.

A handful of frozen peanut M&Ms will do.

Which brings me to possibly the most debated question on the planet.

You want to sit down for this.

What is the best chocolate ever?

North America leans into the Hershey’s camp and Down Under reaches for Cadbury. Every manufacturer makes similar confections and their chocolate is, of course, unique.

But then they will add horrible things like rum raisin or orange or marzipan. Marshmallows. Pineapple. Seriously?

The chocolate snob delegation is further splintered into milk or dark chocolate committees. We aren’t even going to consider white chocolate.

Because I said so.

Dark chocolate is practically a health food.

Godiva and Toblerone and Dove are touted as spa experiences.

I am not especially a chocolate fan, so I’m happy to let you sort out your own happy place. It’s fun to stand at the See’s Candy Shop counter and pick out each piece but I am only choosing about five flavors.

I hide the box from Hubby for his own protection. He will cheerfully devour it all at once. I will take a piece each day for a couple weeks and enjoy it immensely.

So when Halloween rolls around, I will toss together some costumes for the kids, but Hubby is the one who marches them around the neighborhoods, gathering in the loot.

The man is motivated.

Everyone comes home after a couple of hours, dumping sweets into sorting piles. They barter and trade with each other and laugh if someone got an apple or a can of Ensure in their bag. (Yep, really.) Rejected candy is the saddest little pile of all.

Hubby takes his “taxes” as the kids willingly toss him some of his own favorites.

They know I’m not really interested in anything except maybe a Twix here and there, which makes me a good guardian of their stash until it all gets eaten over the next month or so.

Willie Wonka and I are the rare birds who can preside over the sweeties without putting them all into our mouth.

But it’s pretty entertaining to watch the little Veruca’s and Augustus’ going after the gobstoppers.