On Halloween night, my son had his first trick-or-treating experience. He had been talking about it for a few weeks. I suspect it had been a popular topic of conversation among his fellow 3-year-olds at school. And I think it might have come up in the Halloween cartoons he was watching, too.
For our part, my husband and I hadn't mentioned it until it was clear he knew it was a thing — honestly, we weren't sure we really wanted him to participate. As a child with food allergies, there are very few candies he can have. Plus, we aren't wild about introducing him to more opportunities for sugar. (He's not deprived, but do any of us need more?)
Last year, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I thought he'd enjoy it, of course, but I was on the fence. As it turned out, he was sick and couldn’t go anyway. He also didn't know what he was missing. But this year, he was fully aware that people would give him candy if he just rang the doorbell and asked. I was trapped.
So on Tuesday, we came home from school and had dinner (my fall chili that had been simmering all day). Then, it was time to don his Spider-Man costume. He got to use the plastic pumpkin bucket he had picked out at the store. And my mom and teenage nephew joined my husband and me as we walked around the neighborhood.
Previously, my son said he wanted to go to five houses. I figured it might be more than that. But I also figured his little legs would get tired pretty quickly. I was wrong. He has boundless energy.
"Come on, guys," he said. "Follow me!" He zigzagged up and down our neighborhood streets, finding ample opportunities for candy.
"Trick-or-treating!" he said at each home. (Yes, "-ing.")
He was in heaven. He even managed to say thank you to most of our neighbors. — which is pretty impressive considering the excitement of it all.
Of course, as I watched the candy go into his bucket, all I could think was, "Hey, there’s another piece of chocolate can’t have."
Things are a little easier now that he is no longer allergic to nuts and peanuts. But with Halloween candy, dairy is a major allergy obstacle.
A Future Candy Snob
When we returned home, he dumped his candy on the table. Like any pre-schooler, he was proud of his haul. My husband and I started inspecting. First, I discovered that the fun-size candies often don’t contain ingredients list. (But most of them I had a good idea.) Then, as I looked at the ingredients on many of the other candies, my heart sank — so much sugar, so many dyes and chemicals.
Once we pulled out all the things he can’t have because of allergies, the gummy things he doesn’t like and all the things he can’t have because he’s too young and might choke, all that remained were a couple packs of Skittles, a few lollipops and some Smarties.
My teenage nephew took the vast majority of the throwaways. My son has tried a couple of lollipops and declared them and the Smarties “not good” and "yucky," respectively.
But the other night, he discovered that he likes grape-flavored Dum Dums.
Part of me is sad he doesn’t get to enjoy all of his Halloween candy. But another part of me is glad he doesn’t. He got to savor the experience of it all — and that part he enjoyed beyond words. That part is what really matters, right?
A couple nights ago, he and I returned home from a walk and he caught a glimpse of something on the kitchen countertop.
"What's this, Mommy?"
"That's Mommy's chocolate."
"We share, OK? I carry it upstairs for you."
Does your 3-year-old want to share your organic, fair trade 72% cocoa with salted almonds?
I figured it would be too bitter. But, sure, I broke off a square and shared.
He's a fan. I guess we might have a candy snob in our midst.
Oh, well, there are worse things.