(with apologies to Stephanie, and others who have had their fill of pumpkins and are just too kind to say so ...)
Our street is Halloween Central. The houses sport giant cobwebs, the walkways are lined with pumpkins, the trees filled with filmy ghosts hanging from the branches. People drive from miles around to drop their kids off for trick or treating because the houses are closer together than in the surrounding townships (more candy bang for your walking buck). And most of the residents on the street take on this responsibility without too much complaint; even though it's pretty expensive to supply treats for over 300 kids (especially for folks like my ninety year old neighbors), it's something we've always done. Very few people turn their lights out for Halloween.
Which makes it even more frustrating when this kindness is taken for granted.
Every year I have my "pet peeve" trick-or-treaters. One year it was the two moms pushing babies in strollers up to people's doors (the babies couldn't have been more than a year old, if that, and were not walking), collecting candy "for the kids." Ummmm, right. Other years it's the kids who come to the door without even an attempt at a costume.
This year, two groups stuck out. (Here, friends, is where I completely toss the teachings of my kind Buddhist friend from the other day about not being able to change others, but only my own perspective. No, I'm not proud to say that. I am going to try again tomorrow.) The first, tweenaged twins, came to the door, and stood there, pillowcases open. My husband, jokingly, opened the door and said, "Can I help you?" To which one of the kids replied. "Yeah, give me candy." My mouth hit the floor. "Seriously?" I said, frowning, storming up to the door. "Take a hike. That was really obnoxious. How about 'please' and 'thank you' and 'trick or treat' and 'happy Halloween'?" The kids looked at each other in disbelief, as if no one had ever said anything like this to them before. My husband, who is more of a nice guy than I am, urged me to let it go; he was probably thinking he didn't want our house egged. He gave them the candy and they walked away, snickering nervously.
A while later, the second group of offenders, a pre-teen boy and his father, rang the doorbell. Both of them were holding sacks. "Trick or treat," said the boy. It was nearing the end of the night, and so I gave him a few pieces, instead of just the one we'd been handing out to each child. As I turned away, the father held out his sack, too. I looked at him quizzically. Really? I thought. "It's for my daughter," he said, gesturing towards a group on the sidewalk. "She's right down there. She's just tired." "If she's tired," I said, "maybe she should go home. I don't do parents collecting candy for their kids." "Oh, all right," he said, turning away. Did I mention he was dressed as a Jesuit monk? The irony did not escape me, though perhaps it escaped him.
Like these, for example.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars
1/2 c. flour (or spelt flour, oat flour, etc.)
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. allspice
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 egg (or 1 T. ground flax stirred with 3 T. water until gelatinous)
3 T. brown sugar (or agave, though you may want to lower the oven temp by 25 degrees)
2 T. regular (white or turbinado) sugar
1/2 c. cooked, pureed pumpkin
2 T. nondairy milk
2 T. coconut oil (vegetable oil will do)
3/4 t. vanilla
for frosting: cream cheese mixed with a little agave or honey or maple syrup to make it spreadable, or use your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine dry ingredients, then add in wet. Spread into an oiled 8×8 pan and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool fully before frosting.