I have to hurry up and finish this post, or it will have to wait until next year...
I am a genius. And, I forgot where I got my brilliant idea in the first place, so not only am I a genius, I am an innovator.
"No", you all scream.
"Oh, yes!" I reply. Just wait.
Years ago, I had to spend gobs of cash on Monkey Boy's teeth. They were crap-takes after his father. No, I didn't give him a bottle at night (never, actually). No juice. Nothin' bad, followed all the rules about shit you're not supposed to give your kids. Still, massive dental bills, all before Kindergarten. Princess followed suit. Before Princess came along though, I was faced with a conundrum.
Both my kids have not only massive sweet tooths (sweet teeth?), but they have impeccable radar for junk food. If you happen to stash $10000 around the house, make sure there's a Snickers in there, so later my kids can help you recover it. Seriously, people, their instinct for sugar is, well, instinctual.
So, Halloween was drawing near one year. I wanna say he was 3. (Seriously, I want to say 3, because I know he was young-ish, and I have no idea how old he was. Coulda been 2. Maybe 4. Most likely, 3.)
I was dreading all the candy in the house, and him dragging us around better neighborhoods than the one we lived in til all hours of the night, hoping to bring home a bag that rivals the storage space in my swagger wagon.
Then, it came to me-The Great Pumpkin.
The next day, I told MB the story-the Great Pumpkin needs all his candy. In exchange, MB gets a gift. Kinda like Santa, but a more fair barter system. MB gets to keep 5 pieces, and eat them all at once, or save them, whatever. 5 anythings. The rest, hung on the front door handle. The next day, the newest Transformer/Barbie/DVD would be waiting for them, and all thoughts of sugar madness were thrown aside (because, as you guessed, they ALWAYS choose to eat all five pieces that night-no matter how big. In the grand scheme of things, what's one tummy ache?)
Well, each year, things have gone swimmingly. (always wanted to use that word in a sentence-did it work?) Now that MB is older, he pretty much says, "Hey, can you tell 'The Great Pumpkin' I want the new Guitar Hero game?". He even uses finger quotes. But still, a $40 game vs. days at the dentist? Done.
Then, the parents and grandparents get to go through the loot (in secret, of course, because the quality of the loot soooo determines the quality of the toy. EVERYONE knows that. Raisins are still bad. So are pencils, and coupons for crap. Smarties, however, rank pretty high. Almost as high as a full-size bar. I know, I know. I don't make the rules. The kids instinctively seem to know the rules. They are sooo my kids.
You can steal this idea. And, you can even pawn it off as your own-you can be all, "Duh. Of COURSE I do 'The Great Pumpkin'. Why don't YOU?" And then you can smirk at them, and shake your head, while you trot off to Target for the latest thing to trade the candy for.
And, your coworkers will totally thank you the next day.