Thursday, November 2, 2017


Sky will soon turn 13 (GAH!), and, so, this Halloween, he found himself in the existential morass of really wanting candy but no longer wanting to pretend that dressing up, knocking on people's door, and asking them for candy is anywhere close to a thing that people should do. Granted, trick-or-treating and Sky have always had a very fraught relationship. I don't think I am exaggerating when I say that there are an infinite number of costume- and candy-related meltdown triggers that come together in a perfect storm on the final day of every October. My hope was that this Halloween would be the one where he was just too cool to care about any of it anymore, so we didn't talk about costumes when I shopped for Pink and Stow, and he seemed ok with just handing out candy.

But, then for reasons probably too complicated to describe in detail, this year Sky decided that candy corn is the hill he's willing to die on (figuratively, of course). It all started when we got boo-ed. Do you guys know about "boo-ing"? Someone leaves a basket/bucket/bag of goodies on the front porch, rings the bell, and runs away. Then you are left with some snacks and trinkets and instructions to pay it forward. One of the requirements is that you hang a sign letting people know you've been boo-ed. In theory, this is an awesome way to build holiday cheer and have fun with your neighbors.

In practice, my kids are insane.

Stow quickly figured out that this whole boo-ing thing could be quite a racket. Within 24 hours, unbeknownst to me, he removed the fancy handmade sign (see below) I'd hung on the door. Only I didn't know it and was mortified to see that not only was it missing but that we'd been boo-ed again. You guys, I can't handle THAT much holiday cheer. I can barely manage a shower most days. When the first sign disappeared, I thought maybe someone had knocked it down mistakenly (and also that maybe I was being punished for being such a lazy cheapskate who didn't want to change the color ink cartridges in the printer). So, the second time, I hung the pre-made version of the "We got boo-ed" sign. That one disappeared, too. Then I had Sky make one. At least he's got a better sense of design than me.

My sign.
It wasn't until I caught Stow in the act of taking down the third sign, that I understood what was happening. For all his social skills issues and troubles with language, that child is extremely adept at getting what he wants. And, in this case, he wanted more cool Halloween stuff. No amount of reasoning could convince him that he shouldn't keep taking down the sign. So, we compromised, and Sky's second sign (the 4th one overall) said, "We got boo-ed" in big letters and then "But Stow wants more candy" in fine print. Stow agreed to this compromise but only after I let him make a sign of his own with larger print.

Sky's second sign and Stow's amendment (name redacted)

Anyway, back to candy corn...the kind neighbor who boo-ed us, knew about our allergies and so left three allergy-friendly packages of it for the kids. So nice, right? I mean, really, our neighbors are the best (and they also read this blog, so I hope they won't stop including us in their amazing-ness after reading this post). After all, what's not to like about candy corn? I'll tell you what's not to like -- it was as if that tiny packet of candy corn opened a long-sealed portal to all the things Sky once loved but can't eat anymore. You know how kids on the spectrum can get stuck on a single idea and not let it go? Well, Sky's perseveration planted itself squarely in Candycornville and never left. Multiple times a day, I was treated to lectures and treatises on why I needed to make sure they all had a steady supply of candy corn. It was only fair. Other kids could eat it. It is THE BEST CANDY ON THE PLANET.

Candy corn. You guys.

Seeing no other way, I asked my friend where she'd gotten the candy corn and went to get some. It was sold out, so I got another variety pack of Halloween snacks the kids could eat. For a millisecond, that seemed to appease Sky.

Then on Sunday, our church had a Halloween party. Sky, of course, still being in the morass of pre-teen-ness, decided to stay home but reminded me (more than once) to bring home some candy corn from the party. And, I planned to bring him some, I really did. I even checked the package to make sure he wasn't allergic. But, then Stow almost choked on one, and I decided that candy corn is indeed the Devil's candy and not needed in our house. Miraculously, Sky seemed to forget about candy corn for awhile--long enough, in fact, that I thought maybe we were past it. It was as if the candy corn wars had reached a tenuous, yet hopeful, cease fire.

Of course, if life has taught me anything, it's taught me that siblings have a way of making things a lot harder than they need to be. That night at dinner, Pink announced out of the blue, "Mom, remember when Stow almost choked on that candy corn?"

In my brain, panic. I mean, of course I remember the near-death experience that happened mere hours before, but why, oh why, must this child take this shot across the bow, re-opening the possibility of a candy corn barrage? Pink's warning shot hit its target square between the eyes. With the words "candy corn," Sky snapped to attention and went into full perseveration meltdown mode. Stow, seeing his chance, decided this would be the best time to stand on his chair and do a little candy corn dance. Any hope of getting back to a peaceful dinner disappeared as we heard Sky in his room weeping, the words CAAAAAANDY COOOOOORN on his lips. For the rest of the night and into the next morning, whenever Sky was in earshot, Stow would hiss whisper "caaannndy coorrrnnn" as if possessed by some little brother candy corn demon. It took several meltdowns or near meltdowns for Sky to figure out how to ignore him, and when he finally did I gave him a big hug for his effort.

Seeing this, Stow, wracked with jealousy at the obvious turning of my affections, went into a full-blown meltdown of his own. "You don't loooooove meeeeeeee!" he cried, and then proceeded to repeat those words nonstop for the next 30 minutes until we were able to get him onto the bus and send him off to school.


You've been booed image from:

Bite Me image from:

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