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Halloween treats that do the trick

Woke ways to keep the kids away

Jeffrey Denny

We live in two different Americas, according to U.S. Census and demographic data, polls, surveys, research studies, long unread magazine articles, and most of all, Halloween.

In one America, neighbors hand out “fun size” Snickers and other candy bought in 400-piece bulk at Walmart so there’s enough for the year and the socialist apocalypse. Kids’ costumes culturally misappropriate Marvel movie characters, mostly the white male superheroes.

In the other America, where I live, kids snicker at smart, healthy, creative, planet/climate-respecting no-fun “treats” handed out to signal virtue. The kids “love” them because their progressive parents indoctrinated their spawn to prefer kale chips over candy. The kids’ll get even by turning conservative in college.

This being Washington, DC, my neighbor kids also dress in conceptual political costumes. Favorites this year include the impeachment process, Ukraine quid pro quo, Emoluments Clause, and “Nevertheless She Persisted.”

“What are you, little girl?” I asked a toddler who came to the door with her parents last Halloween. “I’m your worst nightmare, you Western-hegemonic white-privileged abuser cissexist!” she growled.

So cute! (I mean that respectfully.)

I do not mean to stereotype or trigger any snowflakes, right or left.

Maybe I’m acting out because I’m not part of either America on Halloween.

On the one hand, I feel even more guilty about giving candy to a baby than I would taking it.

Snickers and suchlike, we all know, lead to dentist enrichment and sugar addiction, highs, crashes and insulin treatments covered by “Medicare for All,” “Medicare For Those Who Want It,” or “Regular Medicare Covering Older People Who Hate Socialism.” Also, $35 billion in sales enriching Mars Inc.’s greedy 1 percent owners.

On the other hand, I’m not as thoughtful or creative as my neighbors. Certainly not as caring — I’m among the last clinging to a fossil-fueled motorcar. I fail to compost my indigenous rain garden. My daily wear isn’t REI hiking togs made from eco-friendly recycled plastic that bursts into flame when I drop hot cigar ashes down my front.

Worse, once while singing “Up Up and Away,” I let go of a beautiful balloon so it could fly way up in the air and sail along the silver skyway. Later the balloon came down and killed an endangered turtle that ate it thinking it was Persistent Trillium, an endangered herbaceous plant that apparently is not persistent enough.

Since — like most Americans — I want to unite our divided country, I embrace what both sides say about me:

“He’s doing the best he can.”

Reflecting that highest compliment, here’s some woke stuff I’m handing out this Halloween. (By “woke” I mean just waking up at dusk for trick-or-treaters after sleeping off a long boozy lunch):

· Dusty, yellowed, dog-eared paperback literature classics I bought used and barely read for my liberal arts degree. Most I purchased subsequently to decorate my bookshelves to impress dates and mates who were not impressed. Kids need to read more books!

· In a similar vein, old New Yorker magazines, lightly perused just for the cartoons. Kids: John McPhee, Calvin Trillin and Dorothy Parker are timeless! And “M.F.K. Fisher” is a celebrated writer, not an obscene term in the Urban Dictionary.

· Unused binge purchases from Sur Le Table, William Sonoma and other luxury kitchen-porn retailers where you can buy a spatula for as little as $85. Some lucky kid will get an indispensable, once-used electric garlic crusher.

· Dusty cans of Dinty Moore beef stew, La Choy chop suey, Hormel chili and Campbell’s soup stockpiled in my survivalist bunker. Since I’m now eating healthy, I’ve replaced my canned favorites with tasty paleo grains, seaweed delights and dried chickpea snacks. Don’t scoff, kids: Hormel is delicious when there’s nothing else to eat but your family after the zombie apocalypse you’re obsessed about.

· Snifters of brandy. Not the good stuff. Kids don’t have the palate to appreciate a Germain-Robin Select Barrel XO. Bring your own snifter, kids!

· My collection of 27 obsolete iPhones since the first in 2007, tumbleweeds of electronic wires that don’t go to anything, and my last five printers that were cheaper to replace than fix. First comers will receive my discarded keyboards with crucial keys stuck by a gluey admixture of bad food, expensive brandy, cat hair, my hair pulled out, and angry tears.

· Ladles of delicious homemade soup I bought at Whole Foods, made from 100% natural planet-respecting non-GMO, non-gluten, non-peanut, vegan lactose-free locavore ingredients. Even the edible grasses, including slough, brome, switch, canary, timothy, blue and bristle, were grass-fed. Bring your own Bosnal Palm Leaf Planet Friendly bowls, kids!

· Plastic straws. I bought tons for a BBQ in 1996 and am cleaning out my cabinets. They don’t ruin your day and beverage-enjoying experience by sticking to your lips like the planet-respecting paper ones. But they still work, kids, especially if you’re iconoclastic and love to Trump-trigger/bully classmates whose parents think Greta Thunberg deserves the Nobel Prize.

· Trenchant political insights. I’m handing them out every day, requested or avoided. But I’ve been saving my best for the kids coming by on Halloween.

So, for example, I’ll engage the kids in a fascinating round-table discussion about what our Founders would say about our current president and political situation. I’ll kick things off with a few thoughts of my own.

Some stone-hearted, passive-aggressive grumps keep the house dark on Halloween to ward off ankle-biting, crumb-snatching beggars, forgetting that “children are our future.”

Not me. I celebrate the spirit of the holiday by scaring kids and their parents by coming to the door in my boxers with boxes of clutter stuff I’m getting rid of through the KonMari Method.

It works! Nobody ever comes to my house anymore, ever. Yay!

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.

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