What's Your Halloween Giveaway Strategy?

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Here's a re-post of a Halloween favorite from last year. Be sure to check out the comments!

Although I haven't gone trick-or-treating for almost two decades, I still remember the greedy delight I took in collecting, cataloging, and ultimately bingeing on Halloween candy each year. Now that I'm officially some sort of grownup, I feel it's important to consider my Halloween Giveaway Strategy -- in other words, fit myself into the landscape of treat givers that I remember from back in the day.

These are the archetypes I remember:

The One Piece of Candy Per Kid Rule (aka The Walter Sobchak "There Are Rules" Approach). This method generally involves a big bowl of "fun size" goodies monitored by a stern taskmaster. Each child follows the universally agreed-upon process of saying "trick or treat?" and his or her hand is allowed to grasp a single treat from the bowl. Any child attempting multiple treats is immediately disciplined/shamed.

The Monty Hall Mom. These folks generally go for a bit more costume-related chat, then offer a "handful" of candy, which makes it a game of skill for kids with little hands. Strategy is key -- using a scooping method can yield more candy than closing your fist around the goodies.

The Absentee Landlord (aka the Leave Me Alone Family). These people leave a tray of stuff by their front door, sometimes with some lame rule (like "take only one, please!") on a sign. Because of the inherent greed issues here (see: tragedy of the commons), the goodies are usually apples or something equally disappointing.

I Got a RockThe Fruit Peddler. I really wish there was some kind of hobo code for kids to identify these houses. At best, you get an apple, tangerine, or box of raisins. At worst, you get a weird lecture about how fruit is better than candy. (On the bright side, when you grow up you'll sort of understand. But you'll never forgive.)

Here's a Nickel, Go Buy Yourself a Clue. These people give you money -- in pitiably small quantities. Perhaps they're hoping you'll start a college fund. In my day the going rate was a nickel. Do kids get quarters now?

The Slightly Unsettling Proselytizer. I only encountered this once, when trick-or-treating in a fancy neighborhood in Sarasota, Florida -- but it has stuck with me. My fellow trick-or-treaters and I were greeted at the door by a smiley couple who gave us full-sized candy bars with Jack Chick tracts wrapped around them.

The "I'm Totally Not Home" Guy. Dude, we see that your TV is on in your otherwise darkened house...couldn't you just leave some candy by the door?!

So let's have it. What's your Halloween Giveaway strategy? And I'm also dying to know: what candy/fruit/money/tracts are you giving away this year?

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October 30, 2008 - 8:48am
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