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So far in our kids’ lives, we’ve held off doing anything for Halloween. They’re young, Josh and I never celebrated it so we didn’t have a huge emotional attachment to it, and we were just undecided on the whole tradition. Last year Emmeline was two at halloween, and she was just barely old enough to notice that other kids had candy and she didn’t. I can’t speak for Josh, but I’ve always gotten hung-up with Halloween because it seemed unsafe. Growing up (in the suburbs of a big city), I remember seeing hospitals advertise free x-raying for your halloween candy, and I remember that being a normal part of other families’ halloween routines. So I always thought, “What is fun about being given a candy bar if it might have a needle in it?” The first time I asked Josh “Where do people in Nashville take their candy to get x-rayed?” He looked at me like I was from some war-torn third-world country. I’ve gotten that same look from basically everyone in Nashville whom I’ve mentioned candy x-raying too. I guess I’ll concede that if no one here has heard of having candy x-rayed, then it can’t be too dangerous. Plus, I’ve met our neighbors, and they’re nice people with young kids like us. None of them strike me as the lollipop poisoning types.

Speaking of neighbors, they’re the main reason we decided to take the kiddos trick or treating this year. When I was a kid, it was normal for kids to play outside and for our parents to visit while we all rode bikes in the cul-de-sac. Nowadays I hardly ever see parents outside (we sometimes see kids, but not often). Whether it’s because people don’t feel safe or because they’re all inside playing video games, it’s much harder to feel connected to your community these days. Halloween is one of the few nights when everyone comes outside and visits with everyone else, and because it’s important to us that we get to know our neighbors, we’ve decided to be a part of it.

Emmeline is going as a ladybug princess (we have to put princess at the end or she won’t wear it) and Gareth is going as his cartoon doppelganger, Charlie Brown. Between thrift stores and sales, we’ve spent less than $15 on their costumes. Cost of costumes was another big hang up for me. Why participate in a tradition that requires me to spend $30 a kid on a costume? Thankfully we’ve been creative and found ways to get costumes cheaper.

We told Emmeline she was going trick-or-treating this year, and of course now she asks me every day when is “Trick for treat.” You read that right. Personally, I think Emmeline’s version, “Trick for Treat,” sounds a lot more entertaining. We ought to make those kids work for their candy! “A sommersault? You call that a trick? The last kid played a mandolin! Sorry kid, I can only give you one treat for that performance.”

Also, Emmeline basically thinks that “Trick for treat” is going in the backyard with a dollar-store pumpkin bucket and collecting rocks and sticks. If only we could convince every kid that’s what trick or treating is, then we’d all have a few less cavities come November 1.