With less than a week until Halloween, it is time to lay in a supply of goodies for the costumed children who will be ringing my doorbell.
A great deal of thought goes into this annual purchase. I will look at the long-range weather forecast, analyze doorstep activity from prior years, and then estimate the number of anticipated trick-or-treaters. By purchasing what hopefully is the right amount of sweets, there will be enough on hand so we do not run out, but not an excessive amount leading to a November household snacking hazard.
With this analysis in hand, I will brave the traffic on Route 59 to visit my favorite “club” store and review the available oversized bags of goodies. Additional investigation and decision making is then required.
First the candy assortment must be something the kids will like. There is danger in being known as the neighborhood guy with the cheap candy. Second, I need to make sure there are some nut-free alternatives (although I will gladly make the sacrifice of eating the Snickers out of the bowl to protect kids with peanut allergies). Finally (and related to item two), the selection should not be so enticing that every trip to the door includes a piece or two for me.
In the spirit of full disclosure, my annual candy forecast is never right. Every year there is more candy than kids. This could be a good thing for laggards to the front porch, because some years the last ones showing up have been known to get a bonus allotment. The downside is that, one of these Halloweens, I might listen to my wife and downsize the expectations. Of course, I would risk the consequences of not answering the doorbell once the cupboard is bare.
Until then, and based on prior experience, I anticipate spending somewhere between $30 and $40 for less-than-healthy high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden goodies with the potential to exacerbate childhood obesity, contribute to poor dental checkups, increase incidents of hyperactivity and promote generally poor nutrition.
If the local kids agree, though, there could be a better alternative.
Loaves and Fishes, our local food pantry, is providing labels to tape onto a water bottle. This label indicates that the kid is collecting coins, not candy, to help feed those in need. Loaves and Fishes tells us that a water bottle filled with dimes will total about $90. Because Loaves and Fishes can buy $10 worth of food (at retail) for every dollar collected, a bottle full of dimes will transform into $900 worth of groceries on the food pantry shelves.
With immediate food pantry needs for just about everything, switching from candy to donations seems like a great idea. After all, it will keep our kids healthier, give them a sense of accomplishment for being a “giver,” and allowing the more than 2,000 households served by Loaves and Fishes to put food on the table for a few more meals.
For more details, go to www.loaves-fishes.org/ways-to-give or call 630-355-3663.
Bob Fischer is president of the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation. Contact Bob at email@example.com.