Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG: Trick-or-Treaters

Today is IWSG day. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for organizing this monthly event where writers share about their writerly insecurities and other things. 

Earlier this year, we moved to a new house in a part of the neighborhood known for its extremely high foot traffic on Halloween. In the weeks leading up to the big night, I got several giant bags of candy from Costco, made a few shopping trips to various stores searching for decorations, and spent an entire evening setting up my window display. All this took time and effort. But I enjoy preparing for Halloween. On Halloween night, while my husband and daughter were out trick-or-treating with friends, I passed out candy to a few hundred trick-or-treaters.  

I was excited to see the fun and creative costumes on those who stopped by, and I was really tickled the overwhelming majority of children who came by (or their parents) were appreciative and friendly.

I was less moved by a few rude trick-or-treaters.

One girl, after taking candy from me and not saying thank you, craned her neck to see into my house and commented in disdain that she thought my house was messy. When I ignored the remark, she repeated herself, raising her voice. Still pretending I didn’t hear her, I shut the door.

Then there were a brother and sister pair, possibly in junior high, who weren’t shy to express they didn’t care for what I handed out to them. Now, I wasn’t giving away lemon-flavored chewables wrapped in quarter-sized wax paper. I'd given the two kids store brand chocolates.

With attitude, they demanded a trade. They wanted to sift through my candy until they found something they liked. Unwilling to offer positive reinforcement for their behavior, I smiled and told the kids that if they didn’t like my candy, they could give it to someone else. Then I shut the door. (Aren’t doors great?)

And yes, the parents were present but sadly inactive during both these incidents.
Sometimes when you’re sharing with others, it doesn’t mean that all the recipients of your offering would respond the way you ideally imagine they would. Sometimes people, young and old, look for reasons to be dissatisfied. This can happen when you’re giving away candy on Halloween.... And this might also happen in various instances during your writing journey. Perhaps one or both things have happened to you?

Don’t let rude trick-or-treaters, real or metaphorical, make you insecure or keep you from doing what you love. 

I’m already planning for next year’s Halloween.

How was your Halloween? Any interesting trick-or-treaters? 


Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

You handled yourself like a pro! I'm always stunned when stuff like that happens and end up floundering for the appropriate words and/or response. (It's like that old episode of Seinfeld, where George thinks of the perfect thing to say waaaay after the fact then actually gets on a plane so he can find the guy to deliver the line.) :)

Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

John Wiswell said...

I miss having trick 'r treaters at all. There are none where I live now, and they've even dried up at the friend's house where I used to go for Halloween specifically to give out candy.

I'm sorry you had a couple of bum visitors. They sound like greedy jerks, which is part of the child psyche. But they weren't the only visitors you got, were they?

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Wow, the parents were there and allowed this rudeness? Probably because the parents don't have any manners themselves. Yes, shutting the door in their faces was probably satisfying. I might have also been tempted to call the German Shepherd over to bark at them. (She only wants to lick their faces, but they wouldn't know that ...)

We have no trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. It is small, and the few kids that live here go elsewhere. (Including my own.)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well said! The rude ones will always be out there. We just have to ignore them.
Shame on those parents.

Pat Hatt said...

Wow, was the kid ocd? Who cares about another person's mess, unless they are a hoarder or something. Some parents need to wise up.

Chrys Fey said...

I had one trick-or-treater. Last year I had zilch. The year before that (when I didn't have candy) I had a handful that I gave wrapped mints to. haha Next year I'll be in a different area so I hope to have more trick-or-treaters. :)

cheerfuloptimistic said...

The door (whether it's literal or metaphorical) is a blessing in that situation.

Elsie Amata said...

I love how you brought this around full circle. Clever!

I'm not a big fan of rude kids. Those who are old enough to know better. I've told kids they need to say thank you, or trick-or-treat, or learn some manners if they're going to trick-or-treat as teens.

Annalisa Crawford said...

If my kids ever spoke to someone like that, I would definitely step in and make them apologise. Actually, I brought them up to NEVER say anything like that in the first place, so I wouldn't have to.

S.P. Bowers said...

How sad that kids acted like that. They're getting free candy for heavens sake. I've been trying to teach my kids to be grateful, we put up a 'thanksgiving tree' (a paper tree I hung on the wall) and we all write things we're grateful for on leaves and tape them to the branches. By thanksgiving I hope to see a lush tree.

We didn't get a single trick or treater to our house. Leaving me with a lot more candy than is wise. I'm going to have to find someone to give it to.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

Wow, I've never had trick-or-treaters be so rude!
One little girl we had this year was a hoot. It was her first Halloween, and ours was her first house ever. So when I held out the bowl of candy, she prepared to dump the whole bowl into her bag. Laughing, her dad corrected her: "No, just one piece!" I was laughing, too, because it was obvious she just didn't know the routine yet!

Suzanne Furness said...

What a shame they were so rude, there really is no excuse. Glad the majority were polite and friendly and that there were some fun costumes.

David P. King said...

I got one of those Costco bags of candy, too. And we only had five visitors. It might take a year for us to finish the leftovers. :)

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