The Treats are Already Tricky

I'm trying to remain calm about this, but it isn't easy. I was born into a world where all the holidays happened on the day they were supposed to happen. For example, Christmas was on December 25. We did not begin to celebrate this holiday until the leftovers from Thanksgiving, the 4th Thursday in November, were gone.

The leader of the parade of Winter holidays is Halloween. Tricks and treats, goblins and all sorts of things make this unlike any other holiday we hold dear... unless you honor Day of the Dead or Mardi Gras. It is not coincidental that so many people in the world celebrate in similar ways during this month. These are holidays designed for good times, good memories, family and fun.

Like Christmas, the date of Halloween never changes... it's always on the same day, October 31. That would be OCTOBER... which is two months away. This means that Halloween is more than 70 days away. In dog years, this is a long time. In Geezer years... it's even longer.

When we were kids it was against family and societal rules to celebrate holidays too early. This is because some marketing genius hadn't thought of accelerating holidays yet. We might have had a barbecue for Labor Day but nobody put out Halloween candy for the event.

I'm not sure about you, but we never had money for costumes so every year we went as ghosts or pirates and our costumes were usually made just before the party at school. We were lucky to have a paper sack without a hole in it for our treats. In our world, chocolate treats were unheard of and Halloween happened during the last week of October.

In those good old days, it didn't take much to make us happy. One year my brother and I got a piece of fresh coconut. We were tickled with anything in a wrapper... Tootsie Pops or a piece of gum were just fine. Anything was better than nothing. We didn't worry about razor blades in apples, because we cut apples before we ate them. We even liked raisins.

I've said all of this to say that I nearly required oxygen last week when I found a display of Halloween treats hidden in the Back to School display.

My faith in retail merchandising was shattered. HOW could you let this happen? I'll give you the Back to School theme stuff, but my sunflowers haven't even bloomed yet. We're still trying to have summer at our house. What the heck are you people thinking? When I was a kid there were no aisles in any stores marked seasonal. It is apparent that you have decided to start the holidays now. Yes, I saw the stuff around your stores with fall leaves and porcelain turkeys. You can't fool me.

Friends, try not to look if you see the color orange in a store. It's a sneaky chocorama. Of course, most of it is camouflaged. The plan is to appeal to you. How many children actually buy chocolate? WAIT... if they do buy many buy in bulk? These merry pranksters are after members of our tribe. No wonder we gain weight during the holidays. We start the party in August these days.

As I said in the beginning, I'm trying to keep my cool. When I saw that Halloween display I was very unhappy. I said all kinds of bad things about rushing the holidays and confusing consumers. Of course, the last thing members of our tribe need now is an old lady arrested for sitting on the lowest shelf in the Halloween/Back to School aisle, complaining about early Halloween displays while eating chocolates.

Chocolates? Oh yes. My rage at the Halloween display led me to spend almost $14 on candy. I'd rather not tell you what kind of 100-count chocolate this was. If I were Catholic, I would seek confession. In fact, I may go to confession anyway.

At this rate, despite my good intentions, I will have purchased several bags of chocolates prior to Halloween. They will be consumed by the people who are in this house before, during and after that holiday. Why? During the 23 years we've lived here we've had five trick or treaters. Just five, for whom we have purchased hundreds of bags of chocolate. Oh, and because we didn't want to share our chocolate, we gave the kids raisins. The truth is tricky.

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