Have we been trick-or-treating wrong all these years?

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An Amble with Gamble: Stories from the parenting trenches

Is your family getting ready for the Halloween tradition of door-to-door trick-or-treating? As you prepare, here’s a humorous reflection of previous Halloweens and the trick-or-treat experience.

-Come take a stroll down memory lane with me-

Another Halloween come and gone.

Halloween Chili- a new kind of trick or treat

I definitely would not put myself in the Halloween enthusiast category. I mean, I like dressing up my kids and eating 3 Musketeers as much as any human being should but hanging skeletons from my front porch and pretending to be an axe- murderer is just not my idea of a good time. To each his own, though.

I managed to avoid Halloween festivities for the last six years, but this year, the kids were adamant that they wanted to pick out costumes and join in the neighborhood excitement.


But why do kids always choose the costume that suddenly doesn’t come in their size? My 8 year-old wanted to be Ironman which, to daft little me, seemed fairly mainstream. How hard could it be?

I could find every other superhero costume known to the galaxy in a size medium, but not Ironman. No.

One Halloween Express and two Walmarts later, we finally tracked down a size medium Ironman costume. The Lord was testing me. I don’t know if you’ve ever traversed a Halloween Express and two Walmarts in one afternoon with four children under 8 years old, but let me assure you, it’s above your paygrade.

Children in costume
My children looking despondent pre-trick-or-treating. Don’t let their expressions fool you. They were wildly excited.

My 3-year-old girl had her own hopes and dreams of being Spidergwen for Halloween. For the record, I was thrilled by her decision. The character of Spidergwen is pretty boss if you ask me, so my daughter’s spunky, ballet-dancing self would have been the perfect Gwen Stacy!

Alas. Let me tell you what I found: the only companies manufacturing toddler-size Spider Gwen costumes also seem like the type of factories heavy into human trafficking and slavery. I’m not even joking around here. The locations were highly suspect.

While I now realize that probably any costume I purchased from the big box store came from one of those locations, I couldn’t, in good conscience, order directly from the operation. There went my poor girl’s aspirations.

Don’t fret, though. She settled on an Elsa costume two sizes too small for her at Walmart—as one does—and could not have been more excited on Halloween night with her arms wedged into tiny glitter mesh tubes up to her elbows. Kind of reminded me of a burst can of biscuits, but in the cutest way possible.

While the five of us were out enjoying the cool night and gusty winds, we had the unique experience of being offered chili at two locations.

Chili. Like the soup with beans.

Now, I love chili—heavy on the sour cream, please—and it is certainly weather-appropriate this time of year, but how on earth am I supposed to consume a bowl of chili while keeping my children out of the street? This was all new to me. Do you just ladle it into the bucket? What’s the protocol here? Seemed unconventional, at best.

So what did I do? I took the ding-dang chili, of course!

And wolfed down three to four bites on each porch. Trust me on this one. WORTH THE CHALLENGE. While the threat of being poisoned by strychnine was certainly there, I took that risk because chili should never be declined.

Many a dad was nursing their own bowl of chili, so I was in good company—just missing a full beard and camo jacket. That Piedmont Life, I tell you. Several mothers looked at me like I was an imposter, but I suppose that comes with the territory when you’re clearly enjoying yourself with four happy, costumed kids in tow. We are a rare breed.

At any rate, the real case on the chili front is that I was so full when we arrived home that I didn’t eat a single piece of Halloween candy! Could this be because I had to give baths and put four kids on speed to bed? Highly probable. Could it also be that I hid the Halloween buckets in an inconvenient place upon our arrival home? Likely answers all around!

But I’m putting all my coins into the chili bucket–the unsung hero of Halloween in South Carolina. Friends, whip out those crockpots and styrofoam cups and be the toast of the town.

Chili 2022 for Office. Don’t even bother with cilantro. No one wants that when there are Reese’s Cups to be had.

Still Making Your Halloween Plans?

About the Author
Taryn Gamble lives in a big blue fixer-upper in Piedmont, SC with her four kids, an adorable Holland Lop bunny, and an endless list of chores. When not baking snickerdoodles, she prefers to be barefoot outside, instilling a love of learning in her kids.

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