The trickery of Halloween

Published 10:40 pm Friday, October 31, 2008

The treating is over.

But the trickery – at least for three naive young ghouls – isn’t over yet, at least if tradition holds true.

As a kid, part of the fun of Halloween was coming home, shedding the costume and sorting out the calorie-laden loot.

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There was the good pile – a small mountain of chocolate candy bars, Sweet Tarts and Smarties – and the other pile. That’s where the stuff that nobody really liked landed: “cheap” candy, suckers, apples, popcorn and one year, a plastic baggie of celery and carrots sticks. (Just for the record, chopped-up vegetables aren’t the best treats to dole out unless you’re begging to have your house egged.)

Divvying up the candy, and the occasional bickering with the sisters over the “good” candies in subsequent days, sort of evolved into Halloween traditions in my family.

So I was appalled when a friend, with three children, informed me of her post-Halloween ritual. Every year, her kids get decked out in their costumes and bang on multiple doors in their Suffolk neighborhood. Neighbors, friends, grandparents and the like end up stuffing their plastic pumpkins full of candy (and most of their stash would have ended up in my good pile – no carrot sticks in their goodie bags).

For the first 24 hours or so, life is good in candy land. The kids can revel in their sugar-induced utopia.

On the next night comes the second part of the holiday (that is, the trickery).

After picking out a few pieces of candy, the kids stick the rest of it back in their pumpkins and place them on the front porch – for the tooth fairy.

That’s right, folks. Apparently, the night after Halloween, the tooth fairy neglects her duties trading teeth for quarters (although these days, I hear kids are collecting a little more for their molars). Instead, she roams around the world picking up Halloween candy and stuffing plastic pumpkins with other goodies – hair ribbons, toys and, no doubt, toothbrushes and dental floss.

Perhaps the tooth fairy should trade in her wand and sparkling crown for a broom and pointed black witch’s hat.