Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Payne Family Full-Proof Anti-Gastrointestinal Stressitude Halloween Plan

To say that I love Halloween would be an understatement. It doesn’t matter whether I dress up as Sarah Palin or Zombie Mom (which for some could be considered one in the same). If I could breathe Halloween, I would. If I could bathe in Halloween, I would. If I could legally change my name to “Halloween,” I would. But who would read a column written by someone named “Halloween Payne?” Muwahahaha!
I remember a night, sometime during the 80’s, when I suffered Halloween pain. Dressed in my mom’s pink chiffon robe with marabou feather trim and a tin foil crown, I took to the streets with a blue floral pillowcase in hand to trick o’ treat.
Usually, the kids in our Redlands neighborhood would just make the loop around Terrace Drive. But, if we were lucky, one of our parents would drive us to the nearby neighborhood of Panorama, where we could collect triple the candy in half the time. We were even luckier still if we could then go to Monument Village, where it was rumored they passed out full-sized candy bars!
By ten o’clock the following morning, still dressed in my mom’s robe and dilapidated crown, with a half of a masticated Tootsie Roll in my mouth and the other half in my hair, surrounded by empty candy wrappers, I reached down into the bottom of my once heavy-laden pillowcase to find it completely empty.
In twelve short hours, I had eaten my weight in candy.
What happened after the sugar rush had worn off and the gastrointestinal difficulties began isn’t something I would wish on my worst enemy, let alone my own children.
In order to spare the Payne kids, each year we enact a three-fold plan; it’s all about prevention, intervention and moderation. I’ve written about it before, but it’s worth repeating, especially if I could save just one child from the same painful, shame-filled fate I experienced in the 80’s. It’s called,
“The Payne Family Full-Proof Anti-Gastrointestinal Stressitude Halloween Plan”
The prevention part of my plan consists of a pre-trick o’ treating dinner. I make sure my kids have their stomachs full of “real food,” before their big night of haunting.
It’s a Payne family Halloween tradition that our pre-trick o’ treating dinner consist of a “mystery menu.” If we are having spaghetti, I’ll change the name to “Worms with Gut Sauce.” Or if chili is on the menu, I’ll change the name to “Ground Goblin Brains with Beans.”
Adding food coloring is another easy, but fun way we add some creepiness to our Halloween dinner. For instance, “Black as a Bat Meat Loaf” or “Purple People Eater Chicken Pot Pie.”
With their stomachs full of a spooky, but square meal, a few pieces of candy before bed shouldn’t be a big deal.
All the collected candy goes in a communal bowl. Then (and this is the best part of my plan), Secret Agent Man and I go through the bowl to pick out any candy that may be “tainted,” i.e.: Snickers or Peanut M &M’s. They can keep the Three Muskeeters, in my opinion.
This whittles the cache down quite a bit. If you try my plan at home, what you do with the “tainted” candy is up to you (wink).
We keep our communal candy bowl in a secure area (like Secret Agent Man’s desk drawer) where I, as the “Candy Cop” dole out a few pieces of candy at a time over the next few weeks.
Last year, our communal candy bowl lasted until the day before Christmas. All the “good stuff” was gone the first week. By December we almost had to force ourselves to finish off the Bit O’ Honeys, Necco Wafers, and Boston Baked Beans. Who passes that stuff out anyway?
Thankfully over the years I’ve learned to celebrate Halloween more responsibly. I need to set an example for my children, after all. I can keep the Zombie Mom or Sarah Palin costume, but, please loyal readers, save me from myself. If you see me in line at the DMV, do me a favor; ask me to step aside, save me from changing my name to Mrs. Halloween Payne.


  1. One Halloween our stupid dog found my secrety candy hiding spot and ate it all gone (and never even let out a burb!)

  2. I'm weird...I adore Bit O' Honey and Boston Baked Beans! :)

  3. Bit O’ Honeys, Necco Wafers, and Boston Baked Beans. Who passes that stuff out anyway?

    Yeah who does? Cause I a headed over to their house. I loves those things!

    Hello Annie, Long time no comment. My brain has been fried. Looks like you ground it up and served it to your family. We always have ground goblin brains and beans for Halloween. It's a tradition. I tired to change it last year. Whoa! That did not go over well and I was reprimanded by the masses.

  4. Chocolate. It's all all about them chocolate!!

    Zombie Annie is preetty.

  5. man. you have a serious plan there, halloween payne.

    we usually offer to buy our kids halloween candy. 10 cents per ounce of candy. they would much rather have cold hard cash than candy and we would much rather throw the candy away or eat it ourselves than have their little teeth rot away.

  6. p.s. thanks for your tough-love comment on my blog. you're the bomb dot com. {i can still say that right?}


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