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When my twins were two, we began trick or treating with them.  However, they had food sensitivities to dairy, soy, and corn at that point.  If you read the labels on most mainstream candy, that pretty much eliminates everything.  Furthermore, neither of them liked chocolate until recently.  That was definitely not from my part of their gene pool.  To  top it all off, I did not want to be loading them up with artificial flavors and colors since one of them did not do well with those ingredients.  So we were left in a quandary about how to do trick or treating when they couldn’t or wouldn’t eat anything they received.

That first year, my solution was to plant “treats” for them at a few neighbors’ houses.  Books, pencils, erasers—that kind of thing.  We went to the houses, did our trick or treating, and then my son announced, “This is fun!  Let’s do more houses.”  Um, well, no.  I didn’t have any more “safe” houses for us to go to.  We lured them home to look at their new goodies instead.

The next year, we let them collect candy, but we had prepped them in advance that they would “get” to trade in their candy for a new and wonderful toy when they got back to our house.  Since they never really ate candy, the trade was an obvious upgrade from their point of view.  They were really happy with their new toys.

And so it continued for many years with their younger brother eventually joining in the fun.  They would collect candy and trade it in for toys.  We would take the candy they collected, put it out in a bowl on our front porch, and let the local teenagers take it away.  One year the teenagers took the bowl which irked me to no end, so now we leave the candy in a paper bag.  Another year the teenagers failed to take the candy at all which utterly surprised me.  I offered it up on the free section of Craigslist, and within 10 minutes of posting, a local homeschooling teenager had collected it off of my front porch.  I know there are other options like taking it to a local dentist who collects the candy for sending to troops abroad.  Some years Mobile Loaves and Fishes has accepted donations to distribute with the meals they provide for those in need.  However, with my illness, I just haven’t had the energy to do more than put it on the porch and let someone else take it away!

In more recent years as the food sensitivities have waned and my kids have gotten older, we’ve also started buying organic candy from the bulk bins at Whole Foods and including that as part of the trade-in deal.  They surrender most of their loot for organic candy and a game.

However you celebrate, be safe tonight.