Pop quiz, hotshot. You've got the wealth of Bill (or at least Antonio) Gates, but you live in a neighborhood that doesn't wall-out or otherwise secure your house from casual trick-or-treating. You love Halloween, and you want your house to be legendary. You don't want to go crazy here--no Oprah-style car giveaways. What you want here is something on the realistic side of awesome.
So given that scenario, what do you hand out to the kids? What do you do? Some suggestions, Richie Rich.
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10. Silver Dollars The newer ones: shiny, nearly uncirculated would be best. And don't hand out just one -- let the younger kids grab a fistful (small hands) and the older ones a stack of five or so, just enough to make any kid feel that rush of a small stack of found money, now theirs. Everyone knows that pocket change sucks as a treat, but that's because the spending power of a penny is nil anymore. But a fistful of dollars? The cold solidity of coin in a kid's hand? That's something. 9. T-Shirts No, nothing that says "Someone spent $15 on my Halloween treat and all I got was this lousy t-shirt." What you want here is a selection of sizes and styles, in kids' sizes -- or, just to amuse yourself, you could get extra-larges that say "I'm too old for this shit." (And then make sure your car is parked safely in the garage.) 8. Flashlights Kids have always had a special (read: weird) affinity for flashlights. Bonus points if they're arm-length Mag-Lights so strong that they look like the world's biggest lightsaber shining up into the late October night sky. 7. Comics Spidey, Superman, Batman, Archie Pals'n'Gals, Uncle Scrooge -- whatever you got. And not just one comic book, mind you. That's pretty cool, but not legendary. Legendary is getting to dig into a grab-bag (or box) full of comics, in order to pick out a handful that you want. Two things, though: one, you need to make room on your porch for the crowd of excited kids who want to get their stash before you come to your senses, and two, make sure that the comics are actually kid-friendly. If you're handing out issues of Preacher or Walking Dead or the equivalent, you'll be remembered not for your generosity, but for the court case to follow. 6. Boxes of Count Chocula, Frankenberry, or BooBerry Cereal Does anyone not like these? They're always available in large quantities at Target this time of year, and for only around $2 a box, the return on investment here is massive. This isn't just a treat -- this is a fucking treat that kids will get to eat for a week. For breakfast. This is made of Halloween win. 5. Books Okay, hear me out, because this has admittedly been done before -- but badly. So badly. No one wants a Bible for Halloween. And only lovers of kitsch and irony want Chick tracts or the proselytizing equivalent. No, here I'm talking about books kids want, from the Franny K. Stein series to the tried and true Goosebumps. Coloring books for the younger ones; maybe some trade paperbacks for the tweens. Good stuff, and it goes to show: Halloween is fundamental. 4. Toys Think about it: what do kids love more than candy? Anything that looks remotely playable. There's a huge range of possibilities here, from action figures and dolls to gender-neutral stuff like play-doh or Viewmasters or silly putty. Here's the thing: think about all the cool crap you used to get in Easter baskets. Now imagine what it might be like to feel like you got an Easter basket level of goodies from one house on Halloween? Born under a lucky star, that's what. 3. Filled Piñatas Overkill? Yes. Awesome? God, yes. 2. King-Sized Candy Bars If you're going to stick with the tried and true candy option, this is the way to go. Forget full-size. And fun-size can kiss my Collegeville costumed ass. Go big -- really big -- or go home. And just as an added bonus, you could add a tag to each bar that says this: "Someday, when you talk about this -- and you will talk about this -- remember me." 1. A Carton of Eggs, A Bar of Soap, and a Jumbo-pack of Toilet Paper To be used on the home of someone less generous. Godspeed, kids.