I recently wrote a guest post for my friend Jessica at TheWonderingBrain.com about one of my all-time best Halloween memories. That Halloween was so much fun and I got a TON of candy. As I was writing I realized that I had learned a lot about trick-or-treating and realized I have never really shared that information with anyone.
Today I begin to rectify that. I am going to write a series of four posts detailing the strategies I learned about trick-or-treating that provide hands-on, real, proven, and effective strategies for increasing your (or your child's or grandchild's) candy receipts on Halloween.
I hope that you'll share your thoughts with me and suggestions you have on improving the strategies in the comments. My kids are almost to the age where I will get to take them trick-or-treating and your comments will prove valuable.
The four fundamental, core strategies that I will discuss are:
- How to pick the best neighborhoods: go where the candy is
- Going out properly equipped: what you need to be successful
- Logistics: how to coordinate the efforts of your trick-or-treaters
- Candy Bartering: get the candy you love, get rid of the junk
As a precursor, and to show you that I know what I'm talking about, here's my story. It's how I learned the art of trick-or-treating.
I learned the art of trick-or-treating when I was 13 years old. Up until that year I had gone trick-or-treating with my parents and siblings in our neighborhood and to a few friends. We'd get some candy (more than my parents would have liked), come home and sort it out, pay our "taxes" (dad always levied a tax on our candy), and eat the best pieces. And I thought it was fun. Little did I know...
Next, I received a set of detailed instructions: I was to ride the bus home with him after school, my costume needed to be with me, we would get to his house (about 3:30pm), eat a meal, change into our costumes, be assigned to one of two teams, and then load up into their van (they had six kids and the four oldest each got to invite a friend or two so I think there were 10-12 of us total).
We then traveled across town to a predetermined set of neighborhoods arriving almost exactly as the last rays of sunlight kissed the rooftops. Game on!
Group 1, the older kids, disembarked from the van at the appointed starting place and began to sprint from house to house collecting candy.
Two hours later we were absolutely exhausted and there were no more houses giving out candy. We slowly loaded up into the van and traveled back to my friend's home.
When we arrived we had regained a little bit of energy, mostly in anticipation of eating the candy (we had been strictly prohibited from doing so until this point). We carried our brown paper grocery bags into the house and a scale was waiting (no pun intended) in the kitchen. Each child weighed their bag of candy. Mine was 10 pounds 11 ounces.
That's right! I had collected almost 11 pounds of candy!!
Not only was that a personal record it was enough for me to take first place (the next closest was only an ounce or two behind). I had won!!! My first year I had won!!
We then took our grocery bags to their basement where they had a large playroom. We each selected our corner and began sorting through the candy and the bartering began.
When the night was over I was exhausted, but it had been the best Halloween ever!
By the way, my friend's family did this every year. I was able to participate one more time the next year and then I was deemed "too old" to go trick-or-treating.