Texting Tweens Took All My Halloween Treats

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tweens HalloweenLast year, I hate to say it, but I was THE HOUSE. I never would have imagined I’d be the owner of THE HOUSE on Halloween. Usually, I run to the store the day of Halloween and stock up on the crap stuff you hand out, because that’s all that’s left. But last year, a close family member, who works for a major chocolate company, offered to pick me up some stash for Halloween. And, OF COURSE, I said yes. But I was shocked when two huge boxes came via courier and I opened it to see dozens and dozens of 12-box truffles.

I thought to myself, “This is a little much to give out for Halloween, but oh well, at least I didn’t have to go out this year and shop for candy.” Then I thought, “Ok, I’m just going to try a box.” And I did. I took a friggin’ bite out of each of those truffles thinking, “I’m in heaven.”

What sucks about this? Well, thanks to technology and every damn kid now having a cell phone, my house was swarmed once word got out quickly – very quickly – that some crazy woman (that would be me) was giving out these fancy boxes of chocolate. I realized something weird was going on after a number of kids kept coming back again and again with different people. (Hey it’s just a costume. I’m not an idiot. I recognize your COSTUME because you were just here five minutes ago.) But, I’m pretty laid back when it comes to that sort of thing.

There IS always one house that gives out the good stuff. When I was a child, way before cell phones, there was one house that gave out handmade candy apples. This was before mothers (like me) who see anything homemade in the bag and scream like I’ve just seen a mouse run by me, and then race to throw it in the trash outside, screaming, “YOU CAN’T EAT THAT!” Back then, we just all knew the house. We never had to text, or call our friends. We just knew the house that gave out homemade candy apples.

But last year I saw for the first time – possibly because I stayed home for the early part of the night opening the door – just how much technology has changed trick or treating. After Superman came for the third time, I watched him walk down my pathway to my door and saw him on his cell phone. I’m pretty good at knowing what kids are up to, and this kid was letting all his social network friends descend on my house, because I was giving out pretty boxes of chocolate that were definitely pretty large.

I know a number of mothers who feel it’s safer on Halloween to let their kids go out alone, just because they have access to them if they get worried. On Superman’s fifth trip to my door, I blankly asked him, “Did you text everyone in the world?” He looked sheepish and ran away (wimpiest Superman I’ve ever seen). He didn’t come back, but one carrot came back three times with new people, and then a little later, the pre-teens, who you’d think were long over going trick or treating started coming by, dressed up as…not much.

“What are you?” I asked one, who looked like he was dressed to go to school, meaning no costume at all.

“I’m my dad on the weekends,” was his sassy answer.

I appreciate sassy. So I asked him, “How did you hear about what I was giving out?”

He half smiled and said, “I just got a text.”

I handed him his 12-box of truffles and said, “Don’t come back! Happy Halloween!”

And that’s how I realized that texting has changed how quickly word spreads about the “Good Houses,” vs. the “Don’t bother going on that street” that now goes on during Halloween night. I guess I’m lucky my damn house, or address, wasn’t pasted on Facebook by one of these trick or treaters.

This year, I AM going to be THAT HOUSE again. Not because I’m giving out truffles. I’m going to be THAT HOUSE that is giving out toothbrushes (my best friend is a dentist)! That’s right! I can play that game too, all you savvy tech trick or treaters. Text THAT around.

(photo: rellim)