Many moons ago, I trick-or-treated in suburban Fairfield County, Connecticut. One year, I knocked on the door of a house at the end of my block, and the friendly elderly gentleman who lived there answered. I held out my kick-ass Incredible Hulk candy bucket and awaited my next tooth-rotting treasure. Clink, clink, clink. That’s the sound pennies make when they hit the Hulk’s plastic bottom. If memory serves, Mr. Lincoln* gave me seven pennies. Seven cents!
When that door closed behind me and I made my way to the next house, I was tempted to perform a pennyectomy on the Hulk and toss those coins at Mr. Lincoln’s humble home. Despite being clad in red from head to toe, sporting horns on my head and gripping a plastic pitchfork, I resisted. I may have been dressed like a little devil, but my mom raised me to be a little angel.
But why, Mr. Lincoln? Why give out pennies on Halloween? For all the dentists, nutritionists, overprotective parents and like-minded others reading this post, I get it: Candy isn’t dandy. It rots your teeth. It makes you fat. Blah, blah, blah. It’s one night a year. It’s supposed to be a fun holiday for the kids. Indulge your neighborhood trick-or-treaters' sweet teeth. Give them candy, especially full-sized bars of chocolate candy. Do not give them pennies or, for that matter, any of the following items:
• Fruit, fresh
• Fruit, dried
• Cheesy plastic trinkets
• Pencils — or school supplies of any kind
• Religious pamphlets
• Granola bars
It’s too bad I didn’t hang on to Mr. Lincoln’s seven pennies. With my financial acumen, and given the performances of my retirement accounts, today I’d probably have, oh, four cents.
* Names have been changed to protect the identity of out-of-touch trick-or-treatees.