The former Celtic harvest festival of Samhain, known today as Halloween, is the second-largest commercial holiday in the United States (behind Christmas). According to the Cost of Halloween Survey, spending for this holiday has quadrupled in the past ten years.
According to the survey, the average American will spend $185.50 this year. The spending breaks down like this, $76.05 (41%) for candy, 36% for costumes, and 23% for decorations.
The Stalker family will spend all our $185.50 by going big and giving out full-sized candy bars! Well, we also spent money on some ridiculous dog costumes.
Watching the authentic reactions kids give to receiving a full-sized candy bar is precious. The kids almost can’t believe you’re giving them out. The kids think, “You are crazy!” Or is this happening?
After several years of experimenting with giant candy, we have landed on giving out the classic Hershey Bar each year. The Hershey Bar has distinctive packaging and heft, and who doesn’t like a Hershey Bar? It’s a total winner. And on the enormous scale of things, not that expensive either.
The Back Story
This tradition started when I was a kid; I told myself if I ever became an adult and had the means, I’d be mega generous on Halloween. I would not be like the lame chumps in our neighborhood who gave out pennies, popcorn balls, or candy corn.
As kids, we wanted candy! And nothing but the good stuff. M & Ms, Reese’s, Sweet Tarts, etc. Instead, we’d come home with Mounds, Almond Joys, Mary Janes, Dots, BB Bats, DumDums, or the dreadful Necco wafers. Straight from the pillowcase to the garbage can. Belch!
A Nearly Perfect Idea, Ruined!
Toward the end of my trick-or-treating career, a miracle occurred. Someone in our neighborhood started giving out full-sized candy bars. OMG! Who did that?
But guess what? They gave out Mounds!
Mounds? Are you freaking kidding me? One of the world’s worst candies. Coconut and chocolate. What a lame idea. You better hope for a grandmother who lost her sense of taste and is willing to take them off your hands. Otherwise, they’ll sit there for years.
So, there it was, full-sized candy, but the wrong stuff. Halloween introduced me to the concept of irony.
It Came to Pass
So I redoubled my commitment to give out the right full-size thing right when I was older. We would be the fantastic house on the block.
Sure enough, that happened.
And it was great for a couple of years. The kids arrived, showing genuine delight in seeing the full-sized bounty. “Can I have two?” some would ask. Kids these days have way too much self-esteem.
A Nearly Perfect Idea, Ruined Again!
Then a neighbor, who caught wind of what we were doing, purposefully raised the stakes in candy giving. This guy started giving out the more massive, King-Sized candy bars. Hershey’s too.
We started hearing comments from kids, once seeing our now inferior candy that, “Mr. So-and-so gives out King-sized!”
Freakin’ candy wars had busted out on our street.
That happened too.
There are Limits
I cried, “uncle!” I couldn’t keep up with the Joneses (Halloween-style). We stayed with the standard full-sized. A couple of other families came on the full-sized train, too. We weren’t the fantastic house anymore.
Come to think of it, not sure we were, ever.
So this year, for the 15th year in a row, we’ll be giving out full-sized Hershey Bars again. The kids love them.
So, if you can afford it, I’d also urge you to go big on candy. Be a giver. It’s fun! Make someone’s day. It’s not a lot of money to bring some joy to kids.
Hopefully, that kid dressed as Drake from Fortnight isn’t thinking as he walks away from your house, “Hershey’s? Are you kidding me?”