Just Say No to Advertising Your Business via Trick-or-Treaters

I’ve always loved Halloween.

As a child I looked forward to Trick-or-Treating with great anticipation.  I recall the year my Mom made ghost costumes for my sister and I, and there was the year I was Cinderella, complete with one of those horrid plastic masks kept on with the thin string of elastic.  Never mind that the plastic mask with the teeny, tiny eye and breath holes practically suffocated me .  Toss it, you say?  Oh, no.  It was part of my costume, and it was pulled down over my face and pushed up for breaths.  Every ten seconds.  All.  Night.  Long.

The last year I could get away with Trick-or-Treating was the year I turned thirteen.   By then too self-conscious and fearful of being uncool, the only possible costume was a hobo.  Every seventh grader in central Jersey was a hobo that year.  My friends and I made the rounds of my 1000+ apartment complex, finally heading home in triumph with a pillowcase full of candy.

By the next year I was simply too old to go Trick-or-Treating, at least without the censure of the adults opening their doors.  So I talked my neighbor into allowing me to chaperone her three and five year-olds, and I did that for the next three years.

As I got older Halloween became on of the joys of being a parent I most looked forward to.  I would accompany my nephews and my friends’ kids, and dream of someday.

Someday has been here for awhile now, and we’re about to celebrate Son’s sixth Halloween. They’ve all been memorable, terrific.  I’ve loved making his costumes, going to Halloween parties, last year’s parade at school, and Trick-or-Treating with friends.  We are working on costume ideas now, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to give up the be-the-cute-thing-Mommy-wants-you-to-be ghost (giving up the ghost – pun intended) in favor of his own choice of a “skeleton zombie”.  Sigh.

Not that Halloween hasn’t had it’s share of disappointments.  When I was very little we’d eat the candy apples and other homemade goodies we got as part of our cache.  Then sick people started putting things like razor blades in apples, so we had to give up those lovingly made treats and start inspecting our candy.

Then there was the bane of the northern childrens’ existence – being forced by our mothers to – gasp! – wear a coat over our costumes!!  Oh, the insanity of it all!

Now there is a relatively new trend that is irking me to no end.

People are advertising their businesses on the backs of Trick-or-Treaters.  There are blog posts all over the blogosphere promoting the practice, and giving suggestions on how to maximize the impact.   Entrepreneurs can attach business cards to candy, give free samples (that no child would give any type of hoot about at all – they just want CANDY!),  links to your blog and coupons.  Coupons for a “free” karate lesson (and afterward the big sell for $120/month lessons), or $5 off your $20 Avon order, or free estimates for pest control!

No one loves a coupon more than I.  And I understand that times are tough.  Finding creative ways to advertise is not only important, but vital to the survival of small business, and the recovery of our economy.

I get it.  I do.

But please don’t do it on the backs of children Trick-or-Treating.  I don’t want to be handed your business card, or invited to sell Herbalife.  I don’t want to think about you or your business while I’m watching my son bask in the glow of praise for his costume,  thank givers politely, and run to catch up to his friends.

I don’t want your business there.  It’s tainting one of the most fun, carefree rites of childhood.  Moving the focus from my child.  Where it’s supposed to be.

Don’t you understand that he’ll be thirty tomorrow?

So, if we are on the receiving end of your solicitation, know that it will end up in the trash, and I will be less likely to patronize your business.  Actually, pretty definitely not likely at all.

And, for the record, I also don’t want to see ads on textbooks, playground equipment, or school buses.  Capisce?

Gracias.

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To Answer the Question of the Urinal…

A few weeks ago I pondered whether or not to allow Son to dress as a urinal for Halloween. Many have asked what we decided.

Turns out I didn’t  have to decide.

Not a urinal.  Usually.

Not a urinal. Usually.

We’d read a Curious George book that saw George going to a costume party. One of the party guests was a garbage can and Son could not stop laughing. The urinal was out. The trash can was in…

It was lots of fun making this costume, and we were happy with how it came out. I spent $1.49 on spray paint, and the rest was, well, garbage.

When we walked into his classroom this morning we were blown away by the reaction of the kids and the teachers. There was a huge “Whoaaaaaaaaaaaa!” and the kids rushed over to him. He was a little overwhelmed!

I can’ t tell you how good it felt to see Son’s idea come together so well. I’m so happy I went to the trouble of making his costume. It’s so rewarding to me. These are the types of things I’d look forward to when I dreamed about what motherhood would be like, and the reality is even better than the anticipation.

And it only cost $1.49.

We’re off to dazzle the family and friends. Enjoy your Halloween!

The Lynching (in effigy) of Sarah Palin

I wanted to get my son a Halloween t-shirt this year. I wanted a cute one with some pumpkins, or some candy corn, or something equally sweet and benign. Instead all I found were skulls and bats and macabre scenes of death and gore that I just don’t want to see my four-year-old wearing (I also don’t understand why the commercials for Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights are permitted to be shown early enough in the day for my Son to see them. They are scary, even to me. Have these people no sense?). Just…ick.

Go ahead, roll your eyes at me. I don’t mind. I don’t think the macabre is funny, and the scariest Haunted House I will enter is the one at Disney World. I just don’t think being scared is fun. There’s many other ways to get that same adrenaline rush that are fun.

So perhaps I am not the one to think that a mannequin dressed to look like Sarah Palin being hung in effigy is funny. I wouldn’t think it funny no matter who was depicted.

Chad Michael Morisette, who put up the display, says that the effigy would be out of bounds at any other time of year, but it’s within the spirit of Halloween.

Really?

I don’t think it’s ever an appropriate time of year to hang someone in effigy. And I don’t think there’s a person breathing who doesn’t understand that the reaction would be far stronger, swifter and outraged if it was a likeness of Obama hanging from that roof. Would the homeowners not be met with angry mobs demanding the display be removed, demanding the homeowner be charged with a hate crime?

Well, let’s see. Asinine college students at George Fox University hung a cardboard cutout of Obama from a tree on the abundantly Republican campus, and it was immediately removed and absolutely decried as a hate crime. “What happened on campus this week is disheartening to American politics,” said John Archibald, chairman of the College Republicans. “Regardless of your politics, this act of hate cannot be tolerated.” And that’s a Republican talking.

Does Mr. Morisette not understand that America’s history of lynching did not make any Greatest American Trends list? Did he think it was okay since it was a white woman and not a black man, or did it never occur to him that depicting a lynching might spark some outrage at all?? Did he think she was fair game because Saturday Night Live does skits poking fun at her twice each week? Did he think this was the same thing? Heck, I’m surprised he didn’t set up a diorama of a concentration camp with McCain walking to the chambers. That wouldn’t have been offensive because McCain isn’t Jewish, right?

Are these acts of hate? What if the students’ display had also been a politically motivated Halloween decoration? Does it matter that one is a protest against a policy the pranksters see as unfair and the other is “satire”?

When did violence become funny?

My view is clear. Hanging a likeness of a real person? Not funny. Even if they are a political figure. Even if you don’t like them. Even if you do like them. No matter their color, gender or sexual orientation. Oh, and a concentration camp diorama is off limits, too.

I just don’t understand why we feel the need to vilify those with whom we disagree. And to take a child’s holiday, one that many of us are using to escape the constant noise and mud-slinging of the election process, and turn it into a political statement (Psst! Republican Party! Please, please tell me this rumor I’m hearing about you putting political pamphlets in the kids’ treat bags isn’t true. Please!) is just maddening.

I’m all for Halloween pranks. I’m all for political statements. I’m all for pushing the envelope. I’m all for free speech. But with the right of free speech comes responsibility. This is a self-serving, tasteless, irresponsible display that may get you on the Today Show, Mr. Morrisette, and has certainly gotten you your fifteen minutes of fame. Congratulations.

I’d rather get mine in the pages of Good Housekeeping.

Deal of the Day October 28, 2008

You can get a free meal at your local Chipotle this Friday from 6pm-close. You need to be dressed up like any item on the menu (salad, burrito, taco, etc.).

It’s not hard to look like Mexican food, is it?  You have fun finding out!

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

Subscribe to my RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

Another Good Reason We’ll Give Out Pretzels This Year

We don’t get many trick-or-treaters, but I’d already decided to give out snack bags of pretzels this year. I bought them on clearance last month for less than 10 cents per bag, so they are a frugal and a healthier choice. I just didn’t realize how much healthier.

I’ve gotten several e-mails today warning me that Pirate’s Gold candy is dangerous and has been recalled. Like any e-mail, I take it with a grain of salt until I check out it’s veracity via snopes.com or another such truth-checking entity. Every now and again one of these forwarded e-mails is true, and this is one of those times.

There is a new warning put out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that Sherwood brand Pirate’s Gold Milk Chocolate coins are being recalled due to the fact that they contain Melamine, the ingredient in milk product that has caused many infant deaths and illnesses in China.

Yikes!

These candies have been sold at Costco, as well as many bulk and dollar stores. There seems to be little real risk, but most of us will choose to be safe rather than sorry. A trend that has changed Halloween so very much from the Halloween of my youth, when candy apples and homemade cookies were greeted with Pavlovian spittle and not accusations of food-tampering. But I digress.

So, we will be tossing out all of the coin-shaped candy this year, I’m sure much to the chagrin of Son and any other company that happens to make coin-shaped candy that does NOT include melamine. Collateral damage, my friends.

And I’m relatively sure that the pretzels we’ll be giving out do not contain melamine.

Deal of the Day October 25, 2008

Click on the link below to see the back!

Click on this link to see the back of this cute Tee!

Want to get a FREE purchase at Old Navy?

If you are one of the first people to enter the store Saturday or Sunday you get a chance to get your purchase FREE!

Not only that, beginning at 11 am they will be giving free T-Shirts out to children who come in for their Halloween Party wearing their costumes. How fun!

In addition, they will be passing out candy. Even better ( for the kids, that is ).

I was in there yesterday to return something and the clearance sales were fantastic! We didn’t need anything, but I couldn’t resist the T-shirt pictured above, which was only $4 in store!

BUT, before dressing those little ghosts and goblins up, click here to find the phone number for your local Old Navy and call to doublecheck that your store is participating!

Happy Halloween!


Autumn is Good for My Soul

I love autumn. It’s a feast for the senses.

The leaves are so pretty they make me cry. The crisp air is wonderfully fragrant with the aroma of firewood burning.

I love the feel of the softest sweaters, and the way they keep me warm yet allow the chilly air to put some pink in my cheeks.

I love that there are corn maizes and pumpkin patches and gourds of all colors.

A BeThisWay original.

A BeThisWay original

I love high school football games, even when I was in the High School Marching band and had to wear three pairs of pantyhose to keep my legs warm. Hot chocolate never tasted so good…

I love making my Son’s Halloween costume, carving the jack-o-lantern and the taste of the pumpkin seeds.

A BeThisWay original

A BeThisWay original

I love the scratchy feel of the fallen leaves against my skin as I jump in a pile of them and watch as they float back to the ground.

And I love the depth of emotion I feel for our families as we celebrate Thanksgiving. The pumpkin pie isn’t bad, either.

I love autumn, and though I’m not experiencing some of my favorite fall traditions here in Florida, I do appreciate all of the gifts that autumn brings me here.

A BeThisWay original

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