October 27, 2011 | 9:30am
Come on, you remember. As a kid out trick-or-treating, you knew exactly which house was the "cool" one. You'd plod along, rolling your eyes inwardly as Mrs. Eggleston gave you yet another piece of some candy last popular in Topeka in 1953 and Mr. Jackson, the dentist whose house everyone wanted to skip, gave you a toothbrush... but you'd get a spring in your step when you turned onto Main Street because you knew Mrs. O'Shea's house was coming, and she gave out awesome stuff.
You want to be the one kids look forward to? Here are five suggestions.
5. Actually give out candy.
Don't be Mr. Jackson. Don't give out toothbrushes, or floss picks, or pencils, or any of that other nonsense. Hallowe'en is about candy. And none of this North Santa Ana-style turning off the lights and pretending not to be home, either. The kids totally know. Be home; give out candy.
4. Let kids pick from the bucket.
The fifth question: what makes Halloween pretzels different from all other pretzels?
Of course, some kids can't exactly be trusted, but it was always way more awesome to be allowed to pick from the bucket than to have a piece of whatever dropped in your pillowcase or plastic pumpkin bucket. Kids remember this sort of minuscule detail.
3. Have a gross or cool decoration theme.
Younger kids will be scared by truly disgusting themes, but older kids will eat it up. Bonus points if you make them fish candy out of a bucket of slimy spaghetti ("entrails") or peeled grapes ("eyeballs").
2. Give out money.
It was always cool to get money. When I was a kid, it was mostly nickels and the occasional dime, but I'm old enough to remember when the telephone company owned the telephone and you couldn't just plug it into the wall, so... the equivalent now would be something more like quarters--or for truly great effect, half-dollars.
1. Give out full-size candy bars.
The number one way to be the house most in demand in your neighborhood is to hand out full-size candy bars. With a Costco or a Sam's Club around every corner, it's not as expensive to do as you might think; of course, if you have 500 kids showing up to your door it won't be cheap, either.