By Lenore Skenazy
New York Daily News
Chew, chew, chew.
That pretty much sums up the holiday ahead. Fears. Tears. And way too many Mary Janes. At least, for those fond of their adult teeth.
Oh, don't get me wrong. Get me candy! No - I mean, get this: There's plenty I truly love about Halloween, starting with the "accidental" overbuying of those miniature Hershey bars. Never know when the crew of the Nimitz might drop by!
Then there's the joy of seeing your little one wide-eyed with excitement as he dons his beloved costume: ninja vampire with dagger wound and brains dripping down his face.
And the next-door neighbor - a sweet little 6-year-old in fishnet stockings, body mike and cone bra. What a ho ... er ... wholesome little darling!
Off go these sweet peas, bubbling with merriment, to bang on three doorbells at once. At least, that's how it works in my apartment building. The older kids teach the younger ones this technique, which not only shaves valuable seconds off the candy retrieval process but also has pointed several tykes toward a satisfying career in telemarketing.
As a mom who still accompanies her children on this journey of a thousand shleps, I listen to the other moms, and this is what I hear:
"I told you that sword was too heavy."
"You're the one who wanted the wand."
"No, I will NOT carry your nunchucks."
And then: "Oh, all right. If you give me a Reese's. Hey! These nunchucks are kind of empower - ooh. Sorry! Is it bleeding?"
"By the end of the night, I'm carrying pretty much everything," says Karen Skaar, the mother of three boys. "They don't want to carry the sword, because you can't hold it and go through the candy bag at the same time. And they get hot, so they take off their jackets. And the mask is too tight. So by the time you hit that last door, your kids are standing there naked with a half-eaten bag of candy." And somewhere under a plastic arsenal, mom is melting like a Snickers in Somalia.
And that, of course, is only the beginning of the night. Once the kids come home, it is time to gorge - I have no problem with that - and learn a lesson in sharing.
Entire families have a problem with that.
"He got more than me!" "That was supposed to be MY Kit Kat!" "Mom, she won't trade!" Worst of all, nearby a daddy hovers, his evil plans clear as a lollipop.
His wife's plans clever as Laffy Taffy.
"We call it the Osama bin Laden bag," my friend Gigi says of the candy she collects from her three daughters' take. Late at night, they know, daddy will start hunting this cache. "So we don't keep it in one place," says Gigi. "We hide it in the cabinet or under the noodles. And every time he finds it, it gets moved."
Ah, Halloween. A time for good and evil. And Good & Plenty, too.
© 2003, New York Daily News.
Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.