If 2020 hasn’t been scary enough, Halloween is rapidly approaching already. If you’re like me, you’ve grown really bored being your house all day working, teaching, sleeping, remodeling, trying to conquer the boredom and keep everyone entertained. So what the hell? Let’s decorate for Halloween over Labor Day weekend and bring in the holidays a little early.
But that moved me to wonder how to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters this year. Will there even be any trick-or-treaters this year? What’s the safest way to give these brave souls who can wear masks on a day when it’s always been normal to wear a mask?
I could set the bowl out, but then you have the kids who will take all of it or you have all of the unsanitized hands touching all of the candy in the bowl. I don’t want that contagion. I could still open the door and place the candy in the bags of the adorable princesses and zombies and whatever that one kid is supposed to be (you know which kid I’m talking about).
But then would they trust me that my hands are clean? Would their parents trust that my candy is safe for their kid? Can they even get close enough to me for that transfer to take place?
How should I hand out candy this year?
Well, I thought of a handful of ideas I’d like to crowd-source with you, so hear me out and howl at your favorite one.
The Modified T-Shirt Cannon: Imagine a fun-sized chocolate bar stuffed with made-up words like “nougat” hurtling toward your face at speeds that could be deemed litigious. Obviously, the cannon needs to be modified because it’s designed for a balled-up, one-size-fits-all, crew-necked projectile of cotton marketing. You’ll need to tamper the trigger down a bit to adjust for weight, but I think this makes the short list of ideas.
The Velcro Face Mask: The tricker wears a face mask made of one side of the Velcro, the side that catches the hooks. The treater, you or me, wraps the candy in the other side of the Velcro that hooks into place. It’s a little bit of work for both parties, but think about how prosperous you would look walking around with dozens of candy bars attached to your face instead of hidden inside that bland pillow case.
The Gadget Arm: Use one of those extender arms that has the squeeze handle on one end and then the two-pronged holder device on the other. You know, like what chemists use to handle test tubes of toxic materials or your grandmother uses to retrieve cans of franks and beans from the “too tall shelf” at the grocery store. Bonus points if you’re in a hazmat suit or in a battery-powered scooter.
The Individual Mystery Bag: This can get dicey because again you’re dealing with trust and the unknown so… Why not give them a complete lack of trust and the unknown? This unmarked paper bag was filled and sealed a week ago, so all contamination has died off by now. But it’s also probably covered in dog hair. You might get a whole bag of gummy cokes! It could be a travel-sized stick of deodorant! But you know what it isn’t? COVID-19.
The Parachute Army Men: Weather permitting, climb up on the roof of your house and release the sweet soldiers of sugar and public service over all who desire these candied spoils of freedom to rain down upon them as you play a hastily put-together mashup of Lee Greenwood and Bobby Pickett. (Google those two names and it will make more sense.) And seriously, weather permitting. I’m not liable for any of these ideas going horribly wrong.
The Chicken Feeder: Gather up in the back of your truck bed or minivan or reasonably priced SUV and slowly drive down the street blasting party beats and tossing candy left and right towards the sidewalks like you’re on the farm tossing out feed for the chickens in the pasture. I was going to call this one “The Mardi Gras” but refrained for the obvious reasons. This is a family publication and the city won’t be coming through your neighborhood to hose down the street afterwards due to water restrictions.
The 100 Grand: I’m not talking about the delectable 100 Grand candy bars that I eat at night after everyone else has gone to bed. I’m talking about actually giving out 100 grand, because I’ll risk a two-week quarantine for 100 G’s right about now. I understand we can’t all afford to do this, but if you can…where do you live and are you hiring? I’ll see you on October 31 with a resume and your very own mystery bag.
The Shortage Excuse: We’ve moved past the toilet paper and hand sanitizer hoarding, but now I can’t pay cash because there’s a coin shortage. I can’t find my favorite soda because there’s an aluminum can shortage. Well, sorry kiddos. There’s a candy shortage. “But mister, every other house has candy.” “Well, Tiny Hulk, why do you think there’s a candy shortage? All of those other selfish people bought it all, and now I don’t have any to give you.” This works even better if you’re biting into a Butterfinger as you’re explaining the shortage.
The Fishing Pole: Pretty self-explanatory but also very dangerous for anyone dressed like Ariel and Flounder. Or dressed up like a boot maybe. Or dressed up like Mike Trout. The real question here is do you hook the candy through the candy itself or just through the bag? I feel like the bag would be easier for the tricker to extract from the hook but it could rip easier if the bag isn’t made of the best materials. This will keep me up tonight as I work out the logistics. Also, as a side note, if you didn’t get the Mike Trout joke but you did get the Lee Greenwood/Bobby Pickett joke from earlier, I would like to meet you.
The Candy Ball: Take a bunch of saran wrap, lay it out in long sheets, and then place your candy on it as you start to roll it up into a ball forming a multilayered candy orb contained inside one of those most annoying materials ever manufactured by the human hand. Roll it out to the tricker, fire off the air horn, and however much candy Dracula or Shrek or whatever that one kid is supposed to be can unwrap in ten seconds before you fire off the air horn again gets to keep their winnings. They roll the ball back to you, and it’s on to the next tricker.
Again, I’m just workshopping these ideas. I need to play around with the functionality, practicality, and legality of just about all of them, okay, all of them. However, if you find yourself in the same lurch as I am right now about wanting to bring in the holidays early and celebrate but you want to be safe with how you hand out candy during a global pandemic, use your imagination.
Halloween is my third favorite holiday behind Thanksgiving and Penguin Awareness Day (yes, it’s a holiday on January 20 each year, haters), so I want to get this right. If you have any other ideas to contribute, I’d love to hear them. If I like them, I’ll steal them but I will pay you back by loading my modified t-shirt cannon with a full-sized ice cream sandwich and launch it right at your Halloween-loving skull.