If you’re anything like me, you’re looking forward to handing out candy to all the trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood, except for the part where you have to stop whatever you’re doing, open your front door, and dole out candy every time the doorbell rings, which in my case is every 90 seconds or so for about three hours. The good news is that there are several less labor-intensive candy distribution methods available; this guide will help you select one.
Start by looking at your front door. Is there a doggy door installed? If so, chances are you own a dog, which you can probably train to pick up a piece of candy and carry it to the children outside while you relax in comfort on your sofa, sipping an adult beverage and cheerfully yelling “Happy Halloween! Fido’s had all his shots, so don’t worry about any tooth marks or dog slobber you may find on the candy!” Note: do not attempt to do this with a cat. Cats have better things to do with their time.
Even if you don’t have a dog, you can still take advantage of the doggy door. Just use whatever robotic or remote-controlled device you happen to have handy — a Roomba, a bipedal bicycle-riding robot, a toy car, or a robotic toy mouse — to transport candy from inside the house to the children outside.
If you don’t have a doggy door and can’t or don’t want to install one, you still have other options. If you have a large front porch or a flat roof, you can set up a candy catapult, which is pretty self-explanatory. The great thing about the candy catapult is that the kids don’t need to get anywhere near your front door to get their Halloween treats.
The one disadvantage to the candy catapult is that you have to stay on your porch or roof to operate it. If you want to be able to move around during the evening, consider setting up a system of pneumatic tubes running from your front door to various locations throughout the house. Just leave a supply of candy near each endpoint, and you can shoot a treat to the front door whenever you hear the doorbell.
If you don’t have a large front porch or roof access, and your landlord stubbornly refuses to allow you to install a doggy door or pneumatic tube system, you can always have an Internet-themed Halloween. Simply create a web form that prompts the user for his or her name, address, candy preferences, and food allergies. Then generate a QR code for the form, print it out, and tape it to your front door. Instead of ringing your doorbell, kids will use their smart phones to read the QR code, visit your web site, and enter their information. The next day, you can distribute candy to anyone who filled out the form, by either going door-to-door or using FedEx.
The cost of Halloween candy for dozens of trick-or-treaters can really add up. If you’re on a tight budget this year, consider setting up a candy vending machine by your front door. Let the kids pay for their own fun-size Snickers.
Check out these Halloween safety tips from last year. They’re just as relevant now as they were then.
25 thoughts on “Towards a Less Intrusive Halloween: Alternate Candy Distribution Methods”
I prefer to leave several “Marshmallow guns” near the windows. Then, from whatever room I’m in, I can just pick up the gun and shoot fun-size bars at the kids.
Children really like this method, and their parents appreciate that I cover the candy in wrapped band-aids to deal with any wounds my delivery causes.
Fun For Everyone!!
Oh, good point — I should probably add some Halloween-themed band-aids to my candy catapult payload.
I want to have a party now, just so I can put food on roombas and have it distribute itself.
Cleanup afterwards will be easier, too, because of all the vacuuming during the party.
I keep forgetting to order my Squeaker 3000 Robotic Toy Mouse (oh, and also the CatSofa™!)– thank you so much for the reminder! Also, I think our society is maybe not that far away from the QR code idea, you should totally figure out a way to make money off it.
Advertising is probably the way to go, here. Or maybe I can give the kids the option of getting their candy in 3-6 weeks for free or paying, say, $15 for expedited delivery.
I just put a bucket of candy on the porch with some sort of threatening sign “Take only one or else! We’re watching YOU!”
I don’t really care if it works or not, because I just put out all the lousy candy I don’t want.
But if the first kid who comes by takes the whole bucket, all the subsequent kids will ring your doorbell.
True, but by putting out only candy no one wants, it usually lasts the whole night. Then I get to use it next year, too.
i actually kina like the vending machine idea….but overall what with all the different suggestions of costumes, plus distribution of candy and now i find out there’s safety guidelines too? glad we dont celebrate it here…hehe! Enjoy though : )
I’m sorry you’re missing out on Halloween, but at least you have Thanksgiving to look forward to. Oh, wait…
What ever happened to turning the lights off and pretending you’re not at home?
That’s the coward’s way out. I want the lazy way out.
I like Binky’s idea! Frankly, I think I’ll leave a few rakes and lawn bags in the front yard with a sign that says, “Fill a Bag, Get Some Candy.” I just don’t believe in that Halloween kind of begging.
And, nursemyra – in many communities, it’s a law that pedophiles and other sex offenders have to leave their lights off as a signal for kids not to show up there.
That’s an interesting idea, but I’d be concerned that arming the kids with rakes might have unintended consequences.
I like the pneumatic tubes. Why can’t you just run one from the sofa to the front door, or preferably even link the door bell to the delivery system: When someone rings the door bell, a lever triggered by the ringer portions out some candy into an opening of the tube, and it gets blown right out the door. Though I have no idea what to do about the paper cuts from the candy wrapper.
El Guapo suggested bundling band-aids in with the candy. But I think paper cuts aren’t my problem — most parents insist their kids wait until they get home before opening any candy, so it’s not like they’ll be bleeding all over my doorstep.
I need a dog. Preferably a big one that slobbers a lot and chases children. That will provide hours of Halloween for me.
I don’t want a dog full-time, but occasionally I think it would be nice to be able to rent one.
Cats totally have better things to do with their time. Like making fun of dogs who are easily duped into handing out Halloween candy for their owners.
I don’t have a doggy door, but I do have two poorly trained dogs whose crazy-ass barking will scare kids an entire block away and therefore save me from having to distribute candy to the delinquents in my neighborhood. I notice you left that off your list.
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But what if one or two exceptionally daring kids do come to your house? How big are your dogs? If they get a running start, can they make their own doggy door?
Hmm. Just wandering around today – Easter and Halloween: candy! Maybe the Easter bunny might consider some of these hints? (The dog is heading out after having stolen the basket from some little kid, right?)
How does the Easter Bunny do it? Does he have a sleigh and reindeer?