After our month living at the park, we moved into our new home in New Ulm. When our realtor found out we wanted to look at this particular house back in early September, the first thing he said was: 'you should start your Halloween candy budget now.' He told us this street was Halloween central, with lots of kids coming to trick-or-treat here. I heard this and thought he meant 200 kids, maybe 300. That is, after all, quite a few.
So we bought a few big bags of candy and looked forward to the onslaught. We carved pumpkins, put up fake spiderwebs, found some costumes for the kidlets, and waited for the big day.
A week or so before Halloween I met one of our next-door neighbors. She has a little girl Graham's age, and a little boy just a year younger than Benjamin. I happened to bring up the subject of Halloween, and she said that she was taking the kids elsewhere this year. I wondered why. I asked her how many kids they usually got. She said, 'oh, about a thousand.'
A thousand kids. My brain had some difficulty grasping the number. How can a town of 13,000 produce 1,000 trick-or-treaters, all on one street?
But, just to be safe, we bought more candy. And a bit more, just to be safe. And then a bit more. Better too much than too little, right? I envisioned having a huge bowl full of almond joys and kit kats left over, and my sweet tooth grinned with glee.
The first ding-dong rang at 5:30 pm, and after that initial smiley-faced vampire turned away from the door, time went by in a blur of bat men and butterflies. It became obvious very quickly that the whole door bell thing was not going to work. As soon as I handed out one piece, another kid would be walking up the front step. I grabbed a folding chair and parked it out front, my bowl in my lap, and began an assembly line of 'Happy Halloweens' and candy sack deposits.
Every so often I would call a quick pause while I ran inside, ripped open another bag of candy and filled my bowl back up. Then I'd dash back outside before the kids piled up too thickly.
At about 8:00 pm people started thinning out, and by 8:30 I felt comfortable coming inside and turning out the porch light. I sat down, in shock, and looked around me.
The kitchen table was covered in empty candy bags. After a few moments of rest I collected the bags, read the amount of candy in each bag, and added the numbers together. Then I looked at what I had left in my bowl.
I had started out with 1150 pieces of candy. At the end of the night, I had 50 pieces left.
1100 trick-or-treaters. Egads.
Yeah, I know, $100+ is a lot of money to spend on candy. Especially spent on candy that will be walking right out the door. But it was a fun night, and the boys had a blast going around the neighborhood. They met a lot of friends from school, and it seemed the parents were having as much fun as the kids. Despite my next-door-neighbor (and several others) ditching us for the evening, most of the neighborhood hung around and took part in the fun. Lots of houses were decked out in orange lights and inflatable monsters, and I saw quite a few folks handing out candy in costumes themselves.
So there's a lesson for all you potential home-buyers out there: always listen to what the realtor says. And start your candy budget early if you live on Halloween central in New Ulm.