No Candy for You Edition

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S1: The following podcast contains explicit language.

S2: Welcome to Mom and dad are fighting Slate’s parenting podcast for Thursday, October twenty ninth. The No Candy for you, Ed.. I’m Elizabeth New Camp. I write the Homeschooling and Family Travel Blog, Dutch Dutch Goose. I’m the mom to three, little Henry eight, Oliver six and Teddy, who’s four. And I’m located in Navarre, Florida. And I would love to believe that this is the final time I would say this, but it’s 20, 20, and I am once again under a tropical storm hurricane watch.

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S3: And on Thursday, I will know my fate while you’re listening to this, that hopefully the storm has passed over us. Hopefully the storm will pass over once again live with it. Hi, my name is Jamilah Lemieux. I am a writer contributor to Slate’s Care and Feeding Parenting column, host of Slate’s The Kids Are Sleep Eating Chat Show and Mom to name seven and live in Los Angeles, California.

S1: Hi there. My name is Isaac Butler. I am a writer and theater director and Slate contributor and I co-host Slate’s working podcast. But I also happen to be the father to Iris, who is six years old.

S2: Isaac, thanks so much for stepping in while they aren’t out this week.

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S1: Oh, it’s a great pleasure. I love doing this show, so it’s nice to be back.

S4: Well, we’ve got a special Halloween episode this week. Jamal and Isaac. Are you guys into Halloween?

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S5: I have plans. I’m going to dress up as Megan stay stallion for my friend zone party and do karaoke on Saturday night. But in terms of her costume, you know, they’re doing like a little costume party at school on Zoome. Nyima does costumes. I make them pretty much every year. We’ve done Beyonce when she first emerged with her twin babies wrapped in beautiful pastel colored fabric. We recreated that another year I was Beyonce’s mom and she was Beyonce. She was Beyonce from the Coachella homecoming performance with the sweatshirt and the funny boots. So I was hoping we’d go in that direction again. But Naima wants to be Kamala Harris. Aside from being a little bit boring, I have to admit, as the creative designer here didn’t leave me a lot of options. It’s extremely hard to find a girl’s pants. Let’s order one from the UK. And I’m also stressing at the idea of possibly having to straighten her hair for the first time. Because we do commitment. We our costumes are accurate. So Camilo doesn’t wear too little ponytail, so nor will name on that day.

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S6: But yeah, I’m into it.

S5: I just I think I’ve just seen the cosplay and it gives me an opportunity to do cosplay and to force cosplay on my child.

S1: Amazing. Amazing. I, I enjoy Halloween. I think it’s, I’m not super into it, I’m not, you know, I’m not against it. I don’t think it’s like a satanic thing or anything. I’m just it’s never been like a huge passion for me, but it is an enormous passion for my wife and my daughter and is the kind of person who would hand make her own costumes every year. And we always had these dreams of couples costumes we were going to do. And then I was always like rehearsing on Halloween for a show or something and couldn’t actually do it or teaching or, you know, something always got in the way. So we’ve actually never done one. Iris, you know, her ideal entertainment is both spooky and goofy. At the same time, she loves Vamp Arena. She loves Scooby Doo, Roald Dahl. That’s the kind of thing she really enjoys. So she absolutely loves Halloween. I think she would love it even if there was no candy involved with the fact that there’s enormous amounts of candy involved, sort of like only really like urge her passion to new heights.

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S4: That’s awesome. Yeah. Iris and Oliver, I need to meet. He’s my middle one. And he’s also like in that spooky, goofy like that is his genre and has been so excited about Halloween. And we do usually do like family costumes. And one kid we picked a name out of a hat for who gets to decide who’s coming up with the theme. And then I make all the costumes. But this year we live in this little neighborhood that does all these big Halloween things. And we decided that the best thing to do would to be just not be here, because since we’re in Florida, they are going about their Halloween plans as normal.

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S7: So we have planned hurricane pending a camp queen. I booked us a campsite and we I bought all these like ghosts to hang around the campsite. And we are going to go and do all kinds of things. And in lieu of costumes, I made us all glow in the dark shirts. So we have I have sort of like relocated our our Halloween. And the kids seem OK with that. It was kind of easier to just, like, say, well, we’re not doing any of the normal Halloween things. We’ll just have this be a totally different experience.

S1: You know, it’s funny, we live in Brooklyn and in our area there’s like pretty intense buy into masking and not going about your daily life. So I thought the telling Iris we weren’t going to be able to do trick or treating this year was going to be a bigger deal than it wound up being because she loves it so much. But she was like upset for a little bit. And now she’s like, well, next year when the coronaviruses over, we could do trick or treating. I’m not. To ruin that hope. So I’m just like, yes, yes, hold on to that, hold on to next year, hold on to next year. So now we’re like planning some outdoor stuff, you know, at a park where there will be separate picnic blankets with her friends from school. You know, we’re just trying to do outdoor stuff, the feels special and Halloween. That isn’t actually trick or treating because no one’s doing that right now.

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S4: Yeah, I mean, that’s the route we went to, just like make this a different experience. And all three of the kids kind of just bought into the like, oh yeah, it’s 20, 20. So this is not going to be normal. We know that so much of the holiday has been curved by covid. So we’ve got some ideas in the episode about how you can celebrate safely. We’ll be answering a question about a kid who normally loves dressing up for Halloween but wants nothing to do with it this year. Then we’ve got a question about how to handle all the candy, especially now. And as always, we will have Triumph’s fails and recommendations. So, Izak, do you have a triumph or fail for your return to Mom and dad are fighting?

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S1: I think I’m going to say that it’s a triumph, but the triumph is just like. I mean, you got to take the victories where you can, and this year, right, like this year, it’s like the fact that life is pretty normal right now feels like a huge triumph, like she’s going to school. We have these outdoor play dates with friends where we’re like dousing them with hand sanitizer every five seconds. They wear 12 masks or whatnot. They only wear one mask. But, you know, and just being able to do that and to have, like, some semblance of a normal life back has just been it’s been really huge. You know, we were really isolated for like five months. And so Iris being able to actually see her friends and not rely solely on us for all of her entertainment and social needs and stuff has been really, really incredible. And I think part of that has been, and this is the real triumph is like I feel at this moment we’re really trying to set reasonable expectations for ourselves of what we can actually accomplish as parents. I don’t think I’m like being the best parent in the universe right now, to be completely honest. You know, I’ve got a book due in two weeks. I’ve there’s the election. There was a strike at her school. There is the the pandemic. You know, there’s all this other stuff going on and the fact that we’re, like, doing pretty good, that it’s like a, you know, like that that feels actually like a huge, huge victory right now. So that might be a kind of boring triumph. But I think it’s a real triumph and it’s important to recognize when you succeed at anything right now.

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S4: Frankly, it’s such a good reminder for this time, too, that we can have successes amongst like kind of a global failure or at least a US failure. Right. That it’s OK to be having these small successes of just like we’re doing OK amidst the chaos, like our little family is is hanging in there. And that is a small success. And and that’s great. I’m a big fan of expectation management. I think low expectations are the key to success. So that’s good. I like the Djamila. How about you try and fail this week?

S5: I have a triumph. It was not an easy one for me, but my literary agent and I have been working for five years on a book proposal. Five years. We’ve changed directions a number of times. So it’s not just that four in five years we couldn’t get a book proposal then. You know, we changed directions a few times. There are a number of drastic life changes on my end on her and her father became very ill and we passed away. So it just hasn’t been a super easy process. But like for the last few months, we’ve been kind of like, OK, we think we’re kind of at the end, we’ve got something, you know, it just needs to tighten up. And like she called me last week and she says, we’re distilling five years of work into the next eight days like we’re getting this thing done. I sell it. I want to move on from it. And I’m like, OK, great. I mean, I kind of needed the, like, constant nagging from her that I’m getting now. It doesn’t work well for me, for other people, but like from her specifically, I’m like I needed her in my ear, like. Right, right. Do this. Think about that. And so I’ve sent my child away till Friday and then she we’re going to do Halloween stuff for a night and then she’s going to go back away for a few more days. But I have like isolated myself. I haven’t been answering text messages and Dems from most people or I’ve been doing it slowly. I’ve been largely offline. At some point I am going to go one hundred percent offline. I just kind of needed to be connected to the Internet first and work stuff this week. And it’s also just hard, like eight days from election. I’m part of me is like you kind of decided to do this two months ago, you know, like I would gladly have been able to look away for the election and everything then. But now it’s like, you know, but it was very hard for me, even though namaz then stepmother have never said no. If I wanted to, like, change a date or ask them that, you know, keep her a few extra days or whatever, like we’ve always been able to work things out, even if there was like a negotiation involved. But it’s still hard for me, like, you know, especially now that we have her fifty fifty. Right. Because in the past you still with me the majority of the time. So if I asked her to do some extra time with them, you know, she still is with me the majority of the time now that our time is balance. You know, I had this whole script in my head of like why she can’t take care of her kid, you know, like why she needs to do that. And I know that’s not who they are, not how they have treated me. But, you know, I couldn’t help it to feel that way. And also hearing my mother’s voice in my ear, knowing how complicated and difficult it would be for me to explain to her that Naima was going to be gone for a week, maybe ten days. And, you know, that was just something that I had to do because my mother never spent ten days away from me. I don’t think ever once that the conversation with her dad went extremely well. We cried. I mean, he gave know, like, some really great encouragement, you know, and a. Armed, I know how much you want to do this, like if you do this, you’re only going to make things better for Nyima. Just get it done. She’ll be here. You can call. She’ll call you twice a day. She is not called me twice a day, but you know it. So it’s been interesting, you know, and again, like, it’s only been a few days, so it’s not like I’m unused to being separated from her for a few days. But this is going to stretch out a little bit longer than, you know. I’ve been away from her in a while. And the difference between us doing this, you know, in twenty nineteen and doing it now is that I had interaction with the rest of the world. So like if she was gone, there was still everyone else. And she’s kind of it for me to some extent, you know, in terms of people I see in person. So there’s a little bit of awareness there too. But it’s a triumph because I finally broke down and did I knew I knew I wasn’t going to get this thing done if I didn’t take a real break. I just didn’t have the courage to say to anybody, I need time off, I need a break.

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S7: I think that these wonderful triumph that you’re like doing this thing and you’re doing it and then you’re going to end with Halloween and Nyima and it’s going to be awesome.

S1: That’s so great. I’m so I’m so happy for you. It’s really amazing.

S7: Thank you. I think it’s great. Well, I am going to claim a success for myself, but in doing that, I’m going to sell out my husband Jeff, because his failure leads to my success. We went on a canoe trip this weekend. Some of you remember that at the beginning of the pandemic, I took the kids or attempted to take the kids on a float and there was not enough water in the river for us to float. So we just sat on the tubes. OK, so I visited the same place. But now there’s enough water to canoe. It’s too cold to tube and there’s been too much like debris falling into the river. So we rented canoes and our family rented two canoes. We thought no big deal. Now Jeff is like a former Eagle Scout, like does all this outdoorsy stuff. And so he was like, well, I will take, you know, Teddy, the four year old who is a, you know, just problem, took him and my oldest child, Henry, who has some anxiety about this entire situation, like going on the river, all of this. I took just Oliver who said, I don’t plan to paddle. I’m just going to sit in the front of this canoe. And I was like, all right. So we get on the river and things are moving. It’s kind of narrow. We get on, things are moving really fast. And there’s a bunch of, like trees and stuff that we have to kind of navigate around in this first part, just like go ahead of me. That way I can see you. I’m like, OK, I go ahead. And I just hear, like, splash and screaming and I turn around and Jeff’s canoe has completely capsized. He like, has Teddy by the lifejacket. Henry is like floating down the stream but manages to like write himself and get to the side. The paddles have gone askew. He has our cooler like everything is a mess. And I just like pull the canoe up onto the shore and, like, tell Oliver stay seated, which was his plan all along. So no problem. I like, hop out, run through the water over to where he get the canoe the like. One time I did canoe in the camp, I had learned to like flip it over and get under it and empty the water. And I was able to do that.

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S6: So we get everything back.

S4: Our lunch was completely ruined. The cooler had filled with water. Oh my. I packed myself a salad in a Ziploc bag. Jeff had packed everybody else’s in tinfoil. So my salad was also completely fine. But everybody else is the same. I like sandwiches and the tinfoil gone, but as we’re kind of reorganizing because you can’t you know, we have to complete the trip like we’ve left where they dropped us off and our car is at the finish. All the kids now want to be in my canoe like they have zero said, oh, no safe or the proper person to navigate this river. So we we did eventually get people back in the canoe. But for a brief moment, I was like the person who knew what I was doing and was cool under pressure and did not swamp the canoe. So I’m taking it as a as a huge success as the result of my husband’s failure.

S5: That is a huge success. Because you won. I did. When I mean, you won the race.

S1: It’s a sweeter triumph when it comes at the expense of your spouse.

S7: Yeah. And everybody was right. Exactly.

S4: And he can take a good you know, if he hadn’t bolstered himself up to be this big outdoorsman, I wouldn’t have to rub it in. But he did. So that’s where we are. All right. Well, before we move on, let’s do the business.

S8: Tune in tonight, Thursday, October 22nd to Djamila Slate Live show the kids are asleep. She’ll be joined by Slate’s very own Alicia Montgomery. Tune in at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Pacific. We’ll have links to Slate’s YouTube and Facebook pages and our show notes or check it out at Slate Dotcom Live. You can also find all her past episodes there as well. So make sure you check those out. We’ve got a lot of amazing parenting content coming at you these days. And Slate’s parenting newsletter is the best place to be notified about everything, including mom and dad are fighting. The kids are asleep. Ask a teacher care and feeding and much, much more. Plus, it’s just a fun personal email from Dan each week. So sign up at Slate Dotcom Slash Parenting Email one even more parenting advice. Join our parenting group on Facebook. It’s super active. We also moderate it so it doesn’t get too out of control. Just search for Slate parenting on Facebook. All right, we’re back. Let’s get into our first listener question. It’s being read by the fantastic Sasha Lanard.

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S9: Hi, mom and dad. I’m a mom of an eight and a six year old. My eight year old has never loved dressing up or putting on costumes. He’s played along and dressed up for Halloween in the past. But this year he wants nothing to do with it. I know this year will be a weird year and we probably won’t do much trick or treating, but I’m still not sure how to handle the situation this year or in future years if he doesn’t dress up. Do we tell him he can’t go trick or treating? It feels wrong to force him to dress up if he doesn’t want to, but it also feels wrong to take him trick or treating without a costume. What do you think?

S1: My short answer is, of course, he can’t go trick or treating without a costume like that’s the deal. If you’re going to participate, there is a price of admission and the price of admission is wearing a costume that’s just part of the social contract of of Halloween period. But my somewhat longer and more helpful answer is, is two things. One, I’m actually unsure from the letter how much the kid likes trick or treating at all because the letter says he’s played along and dressed up for Halloween, but this year wants nothing to do with it. He might not actually care that he doesn’t go trick or treating, particularly since you might not actually be going trick or treating. So this might all be a moot point, but I wouldn’t think of it as forcing him to wear a costume so much as giving him a choice and agency in the situation. It’s up to him. If he wants to wear a costume and go trick or treating, that’s great. And if he doesn’t want to wear a costume, then he won’t go trick or treating. And that way it’s really about empowering him to have the time that he wants to have and make the choices to be the kind of person he wants to be. And it’s less about coercing him into doing what you may want him to do, which is, you know, like I understand that it’s the same process either way. But I think the more it can be framed as the agency thing instead of the coercion thing, the better. But absolutely not. Can’t go trick or treating without a costume.

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S5: I agree that it’s important that you don’t accidentally slip into the habit of coercing your child to do something they don’t want to do, something like trick or treating. Right. It’s not like trying to convince them to get a flu shot or to brush his teeth. Maybe he’s not into trick or treating either. You know, this might really be no big deal. Hopefully there’s, you know, another adult in the house who can keep an eye on him while you all do some hopefully distance and brief trick or treating. And he doesn’t have to participate in that. And the six year old can share a piece of candy or two as they see fit. But of course, without the pressure that, you know, this is our candy or, you know, that the eight year old is going to pick the good pieces, but also ask, like, what is it about dressing up that you don’t enjoy? Because it could be the costume options that have been put before them. Like if it seems like the only way to do Halloween is to dress up as a superhero or goblin or some sort of creepy makeup thing, and maybe he wants to be, you know, I don’t know Joe Biden or something, you know, like perhaps perhaps he wants to be, you know, somebody from pop culture that wouldn’t necessarily be on your list or he wants to dress up as a whole historical figure. I don’t know. I mean, I think you should also, like, talk to him and try to expand his kind of understanding of what it means to dress up for Halloween, that there are a lot of options he may not have considered. It could be dressing up for the occupation you want. It could be, you know, doing something that’s kind of cheeky. And, you know, I’m trying to think of some sort of pun right. Where it’s like the costume, not literal, but the play on words of some sort. But, yeah, just sounds to me like you have a kid who’s not really into Halloween, which is not the worst thing. But yeah, as long as you’re from the like, dressing up as part of the ritual of going trick or treating and that he’s not being punished for choosing not to dress up, it’s just simply that when you open your door and you give candy to strange kids, you are looking to see a costume from those kids who are able to put together a costume. And since he is able to have one, he wouldn’t have excuse for not having one.

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S4: Yeah, I agree that you have to like, play by the rules to play. But I was also thinking like, well, you’re kind of lucky this year, like one less kid who’s upset about it. So I would rejoice, take that as a win. I also think that because he’s a like we’re definitely inching towards an age in which Halloween’s going to become more about, like hanging out with your friends and what can you go do. And so looking forward, can you think about other opportunities to use this? Like, is this his whole social group doesn’t want to do this? And maybe next year instead, assuming we’re at a place where we can celebrate safely, can you have a group over to do something at your house instead to kind of enjoy this social opportunity to be social and grow those friendships? Or do they want to go like to be some kind of funny, witty costume? I feel like as boys approach that age, they also really like something that’s a little like Halloween’s an excuse that you can be kind of like potty humor and and things like that that they find funny. So are their options going forward? I mean, this year I would just be like, you want to sit here, watch a movie? Cool. But yeah, in terms of actually giving like going to door and getting candy, if he wants to walk around and do that, he has to wear a costume. And this did kind of remind me about like I know people always say, like, are you too old to ever go trick or treating? What do you guys think about that? Like, is there an age at which you can’t be trick or treating anymore?

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S1: I don’t know. When I worked at Bullecourt R.S.V.P., it went out of business a few years ago here in. Brooklyn, you know, in Brooklyn, kids go to stores for candy, as you know, as much as they do to their neighbors. And I just remember a couple times there were like 16 year olds sort of in some thrown together bullshit being like trick or treating. And because we were a business, I felt like I had to get the candy. But I was like, you are really too old to be doing this. And I understand that actually, like, you’re trying to do something kind of transgressive here by barely putting in the effort and being too old and still getting candy. And that that’s actually part of the thrill. I don’t know is that once you’re teens, as a teenagers, that’s too that’s too old. I certainly had stopped trick or treating by the time I was 13.

S5: I would think, you know, middle school is around that age where it kind of shifts. Like Elizabeth was saying, you know, even at eight, you’re starting to trend toward the idea that I want to spend this day with my friends as opposed to my mommy. It’s going to take me trick or treating. By the time you’re 11 or 12, you all may be able to go out in a group with those friends by yourself unsupervised or perhaps, you know, you guys are keeping after some younger kids. But when I see 15 or 16 year olds and when I lived in New York, I definitely did like seeing, you know, the ones that were well costumed and had actually put some thought and effort into their, you know, looks and they were just simply being outside having fun. It didn’t seem that they were necessarily trick or treating as much as they were, you know, some of them perhaps getting into some general mischief and others just being teenagers outside at night on a school night when you typically wouldn’t be able to do that. I want teenagers to have an activity that goes beyond trick or treating. I think, you know, 11 or 12 year old is one thing, but I don’t really want a 15 year old who, you know very well, may have a job going around and asking for some candy.

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S1: You should be like ordering a pizza and watching a horror movie with your friends.

S4: Yeah, I also agree. I mean, I agree with that. Although in practice, if you show up at my door and you have a costume on, I’m going to give you a hand. So, you know, I’m unlikely to ask your age anyway. I was just I was curious because this mom is sure to have other other problems like that in the future. So. Well, good luck. And we hope to hear if he decides to dress up, send us a picture. If you have a question for us, send it our way. Email us. Said Mom and dad at Slate Dotcom or post it on our Facebook group onto our second listener question. It’s being read by the fabulous Shasha Leonhard.

S9: What Halloween ideas do you all have for an almost three year old on a strict diet for medical reasons during a pandemic? Every event for kids has candy being handed out, and I just feel it would be cruel to take him when he wouldn’t be allowed to have the treats. Plus, the social distancing is hard for kids too young to understand why we really, really, really love Halloween. And he loves pumpkins but doesn’t love structured activities. So aside from carving a pumpkin at home in our costumes, what should we do?

S5: I actually I think that Halloween is one of those events in our lives that I think we’re going to have to really re-evaluate and just remind ourselves that this is not the most important holiday. This is not something that is going to devastate our children for the rest of their lives if they don’t get to really have a great celebration of it and to adjust accordingly. So if your little one is on a special diet or if you’re I wasn’t sure if it was dietary restrictions or simply restricting the ability to eat candy handed off by strangers during a pandemic, which is a reasonable concern. But either way, it just sounds like trick or treating is not the right activity for your family this year. If being socially distanced from the other kids out there is going to cause him upset, if not being able to eat the candy is going to cause some upset, then I think this would be a lot worse than if you simply tried to come up with an experience that you can have in your home that is safe and and allows you to check off the boxes that you need to. These days, when it comes to entertaining your child, you can create or purchase some healthy snacks. I’m sure Elizabeth Fry has some really great ideas or some blanking at the moment. There’s always those peanut butter cookies that you make that’s literally just peanut butter and eggs. I think maybe flour to no no flour, just like peanut butter, sugar and eggs. Yes. Like you can make some very simple peanut butter cookies and you can use black pipe cleaners and raisins to decorate them like little, you know, like they’ve got tentacles coming out of them or something. You can rent some scary movies that are age appropriate. You can come up with cool costumes to wear the family and wear them in the house. You can look up, drive through Halloween experiences and see if there are any in your area. I know there’s a lot out here in California where, you know, at no point. For some of them, you never get out of the car, you know, you’re just touring Halloween decorations and some of them have scary things that jump out at you and bump and you feel like you’re having a real Halloween excursion as opposed to just kind of driving around in the car. But, yeah, this year can’t be like other years because this year it’s not like other years. And that’s OK. And your son will deal with that. And I don’t think that, you know, you didn’t mention that Halloween is typically the most significant, meaningful observance of the year for your family. So I’m hoping that it’s not. And I think that just playing things kind of low this year will be more than sufficient.

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S1: Yeah, I mean, the good news here is that the kid, your your son is three, right? So, like, he’s not going to actually remember what he did this night, you know, in like two years, he will have no memory of it whatsoever. So he’s not going to know what he’s not missing, which is the great news. So just I say this as a way of telling the questioner that, like, you can just you don’t have to be so hard on yourself. It’s not going to create lasting trauma. You haven’t ruined Halloween. It’s just just figure out how to have a good time with your kid that night. I think all of Jamila’s recommendations are really, really great ideas. I think that, you know, you can call a friend up on Zouma. You know, you can watch a movie, the drive thru experiences making things. The one thing that we’re doing is having a pinata. You would have to fill it, not with the candy that you don’t want your kid to have, but you could fill it with other fun things. There’s all sorts of stuff you can do to make this special that doesn’t have to do with his participating in a ritual he actually has no familiarity with anyway and isn’t going to remember. So I think that you’re going to come up with something great and it’s going to be a lot of fun. Just don’t beat yourself up too much about it.

S4: I think I love that advice because our three year old will nice far, but is like game for anything. And he only has an idea of what’s coming because his older brothers know what’s coming. So I think you have this opportunity to make Halloween, whatever it’s going to look like for you. And assuming that the candy thing is some kind of lasting situation, then this is a good time to go ahead and kind of set up the boundaries for that. I know we have that problem with Henry. He’s my oldest child who suffers from pandas. And one of the things we do to help with that is some really pretty strict dietary stuff. So we have just from the get go in learning the diet was going to be part of this have just said, like, listen, Candy can’t be part of how you celebrate this. In years past, he’s gone trick or treating, and we do a candy trade in for a Lego set or something else when he gets home and he knows, like usually we’ll have a couple treats that he can have that he gets to kind of eat. Right. Then the other kids pick out a few candies. Everybody trade stuff in for some kind of toy or an experience or something else we’re doing. And then there are a bunch of places that collect that candy and actually send it. And as far as I can tell, a lot of that is still happening. But things like treats for troops, which is run by soldiers, angels, and they actually send the candy out to deployed service members. There are also groups, I think there’s one called Operation Gratitude that gives it to first responders. And then if you have a Ronald McDonald House in your area, they also usually collect it to have it just like available. So if the activity we always have thought of it in years past is like the activity is going out and collecting candy and going to door to door, and that’s really fun and it’s fun for Henry and to do as a family. So we go do that. But then when we get home, it’s kind of like, OK, well, the thing that we collected is not something that we can have. So we’re going to send that to someone who can use that. And here’s what we have for you as a replacement treat. So I think there are options. We’ve done that enough now that our kids actually don’t know any different. Like when they talk to their friends, they say like, well, in our house we send our candy off to people who are deployed and we get this Lego set or whatever, this other little toy that we like in terms of I thought you guys came up with like some great ideas. I had pinata on my list and making, like, simple cookies. I think all of that is so fun. And as usual, I have made kind of a ridiculous list to go through. But we’re going camping, like I said, which is a super fun like you could if you’re not going to go out, put up your tent in the backyard and just have a fun little spooky camping, you know, something that you wouldn’t normally do. It’s a full moon. So if you have a telescope or you just want to go out and observe the moon, I think it’s a great night to do. Sound like spooky astronomy and just kind of looking. A bunch of the planets are out now, too, so that can be a really fun educational experience. There’s apps for all of that. So you just don’t you don’t have to know anything. You just go out there with the app and everyone will have a good time. Also, like think about doing like a mini pumpkin hunt around your house. You can stuff your Easter eggs with anything and draw little faces on them or just be like it’s an Easter hunt at Halloween. Yay, you can put them in the backyard and have them or in a dark room and have them search for them for flashlights. Like, I just feel like Halloween is right for like any kind of fun activity done in the dark or done with glow sticks like Willow. We also are doing a pinata. But I had the kids make them from grocery store paper bags and we stuffed them full of the kind of like gummy little fruit gummy snacks and things that we can have. I also put some crackers in there which like they’re definitely going to beat to smithereens, but oh, well, the crackers are wrapped. So I also printed out some activity sheets and crumpled them up and we put them in there so that when they pop it, there’s something to do, I don’t know, but just anything to kind of keep them occupied and make it feel special. And I think just. No, like whatever you do can be like the thing your family did this year, or it can be. Like the thing that we always did because we did it this one year, like you never know what that’s going to be that your kids talk about or do with their children or do with their friends. Like, here’s this wacky thing. We did this one year that was so fun. We did again. So I think, again, have like really low expectations, set something fun up and just be like this is going to be fun and it will be. Well, thank you so much for the question. Hopefully our advice helps. If you want us to help you, you can send your questions or conundrum to mom and dad at Slate Dotcom or do what this listener did and posted on Facebook. All right. Well, let’s move on to recommendation’s. This is the section where we tell you some things that we like. Djamila, what do you have for us today?

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S5: So I am recommending an album by Open Mic EGL, who was a guest on The Kids Are Asleep a few weeks ago. Mike is a rapper, comedian, content creator, owns his own record label. I mean, he’s a one man band in so many ways. He’s so creative and he’s so talented. He had last year a show on Comedy Central called The New Negroes that, you know, was very exciting for him and for his fans. Of course, there were billboards. There’s one near his house and the show ended up getting canceled. And in the same year, he divorces from his wife and now he’s facing 40. And he’s been making I mean, he’s been rapping since he was a kid, essentially, but has been doing it professionally since he was 30. And so he’s got like ten albums at this point. Most of them are fun and irreverent. And, you know, he talks about societal issues, but he also talks a lot about anime and games and silliness and humor. And this is the first album where he really goes into his own issues. And it is such a beautiful it’s just a really refreshing take on the devastation of the dissolution of a marriage and what it means to be heartbroken professionally and overall. What I relate it most to it, even though I’m slightly younger and our circumstances are a little bit different, just feeling like, you know where your life is going. You’re you’re on one path, you’re doing something, it’s working for you. And then, you know, the next thing you know, that part of your life has changed drastically. You know, something has been taken away, a relationship has ended, a career opportunity is ended. And just being forced to kind of figure out what comes next. And the closer you get to 40, figuring out what comes next becomes a little bit more daunting and perhaps something that you weren’t preparing for in the way that you are prepared for it at 30 and all of that. It manages to be hilarious. I mean, if you’re into rap music, it’s very well produced. He’s a great emcee. That’s also hilarious. There’s a song called The Black Mirror episode Ruined My Marriage, and it’s a cheeky take on, you know, and he doesn’t say which episode. I walked away from the album not knowing the details of their divorce or why exactly they were breaking up. And I didn’t feel like I needed to. I felt like it communicated these very universal human themes of love, loss and suffering in a way that didn’t break me down or make me sad. It somehow still made me encouraged and really inspired by just a really well put together piece of art. So the album is called Anime Trauma Divorce, and it is available wherever you stream music by Open Mic Egal. It’s been doing really well on Spotify and I think you should check it out.

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S4: That sounds great. Isaac, how about you?

S1: I am going to go with the recommendation that I think is for the adults and their teenagers. Perhaps. Let’s let’s let’s cap it there. But I am one of the the many people at Slate Dotcom who is a big fan of and champion of Heidi Shrek. What the Constitution means to me, which is it started as a work of theatre. It’s a mostly one woman, although there’s other characters in it show in which Heidi relates the true story of her teenage self participating in these debates about the Constitution as a teenager, in part in order to pay for college, for her eventual, you know, going to college. But it’s about a lot more than that. It is about the Constitution itself. It’s about what it means to be a woman in America. It is about what it is to be a teenager with hope for this country’s purpose and an adult confronting how disappointing this nation can be. And it’s a really, really beautiful, quite feminist meditation on America itself. I absolutely loved it. I’m friends with many people involved with it. So take that with a grain of salt if you want. But I absolutely, absolutely loved the show. When it was performing on Broadway, it was filmed by Marielle Heller. She did that Mister Rogers movie. And she did can you ever forgive me? She’s an incredible film director and she filmed it on Broadway and it is now available to stream on Amazon Prime, even if you watched it already in the theater. Watch it again. And if you haven’t seen it, there’s a great opportunity to do so. And if you have a teenager in the house, I would absolutely recommend sitting down and watching it with them. You’ll have a lot of really important, I think, conversations provoked by it. And it’s also a great work of art.

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S7: Yeah, I’m a huge fan, we streamed it actually to to watch it and enjoy it and thought it was a great like just really thought provoking even for adults like thought provoking piece that is definitely worth an evening. Well, I am recommending a sort of fall thing, which is using a weighted blanket, particularly for your children who have anxiety. I feel like when we lived in the Netherlands, this is something we could use year round. And I was like a huge it was like part of our daily life. But being in Florida, we basically have been through the season where it was completely unusable because we were just too hot. And with a little bit cooler weather, I’ve been able to bring them out again and just remember how great they really are for my kids, particularly, I think, when they’re picking up on a lot of my anxiety and my husband’s anxiety about everything going on. Plus just like twenty, twenty anxiety, they’re just a good way to, like, settle down my kids, even grab them when we’re doing read aloud or like if they are just particularly worked up a lot of times they will just get it. And the weight is like just a nice settling thing. We got ours from a company called Rugaru that makes one specifically for children. And you can go there and make sure it’s the right weight because you don’t want something too heavy. But they’re really great. All three of the kids use them and I actually have one, too. And I think as it comes into fall, if that’s something you’re really craving, they really it really does help me, like, sleep better and just calm down. So weighted blankets for you and your children. If you feel like a little a little hug or something you you need and are not getting the good. That’s a good way.

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S2: Good safe covid approved way to get what you need. Well that’s our show. So one more time if you have a question, email us at Mom and dad at Slate dot com or post it to the Slate Facebook group. Just search for slate parenting. Also, if you haven’t already subscribe on your personal podcast app of choice, you never miss an episode Mom and Dad are fighting is produced by Rosemarie Bellson. For Jamilah Lemieux and Isaac Butler, I’m Elizabeth Nicam.

S4: Hello, Slate. Plus listeners, thank you so, so much for your support. We talked a little bit about costumes on the main show, and since dressing up at home is one of the safer ways to celebrate this year, we thought it would be fun to talk about our favorite costumes throughout the years and the costumes we always wished we could find in stores. So let’s start with you, Djamila. You mentioned you and Nyima go all out. So what has been your favorite costume?

S5: OK, so my favorite costume, Nyima is definitely isn’t her favorite costume, but when she was in oh my gosh, this must have been her second year or maybe her first year at her daycare center. Yeah, because I think her first year is her second year. So like the kids, they didn’t do a traditional Halloween party. We had harvest festival so there were no guns and goblins and each class was assigned the theme. So like maybe the twos would be the animal barn animals and the threes would be fruits and the bigger threes would be vegetables. And the four year olds would be farmers usually kind of like shook out like that. And so the first year we got animals. So I ended up just getting her little sheep costume. It was cute. I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t really I didn’t feel like I could make something. But, you know, I was still very cute. The next year she had to be a vegetable. And so I was like, OK, well, what the hell? You know, like there’s four or five vegetable costumes on Amazon, which means and party city and all of them. So that means that, like, you know, the likelihood that you and one of your little buddies have on the same costume is pretty high. And that for me is a big deal. You know, I get it. I know it happens. But we’re always trying to avoid having on the same costume as someone else that there’s nothing else we can do on Halloween. We can try to be the only one wearing our costume. And so it just came to me. I was like, I’m going to get an Oscar the Grouch costume and I’m going to put some green streamers coming out of it.

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S6: And I got her spoon. And I made her a pot of greens, so I use Oscar’s cam to be a silver. I don’t even know like it came to me so quickly. It’s like it was scary.

S5: It was just like, OK, but I’m going to ask your costume and make her a pot of greens. Like, I don’t know why that was my thought process. I wish that I came up with other ideas that easily, but I did. And I will put the picture on the show page. I think I feel like I teased it out last year. We were talking about Halloween well before it actually happened, and I don’t know if I actually shared the picture. So I will share the picture. And it was great. It was absolutely great. I took her to the grocery store so she could stand next to like an aisle next to the cornbread. So everyone was very clear, you know, greens and cornbread. And I bet no one else was a pot of green and no one. I’m pretty certain that no one else has ever been a pot of greens for Halloween.

S1: That’s amazing. That is, you are an inspiration to parents all over the world. That’s incredible. I once went to a tube of toothpaste, and I want to I want to explain why I think this was this was a potentially disaster. Well, it turned out to be a disastrous choice. I made it with my parents and it was like basically a big box that we painted. Right. And it cut off just below my knees. And so I just fell constantly. I would just be walking along trick or treating faceplant. That might be why I don’t really love dressing up for Halloween. But like I said earlier, and my wife really loves it, and I think the best one that she ever did was Tippi Hedren in The Birds. And so she did her hair like Tippi. She went to a vintage store and found like the right blazer, you know, to get the look. And then she had, like, little birds attached to the costume attacking her. I mean, she, like, went all out. It is one of the most amazing, amazing things I’ve ever seen. And maybe someday when we have a little more free time, she’ll be able to return to her glory as a as a true Halloween costume queen.

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S4: That’s amazing. I OK, so I told you, we, like, draw to see who gets to pick. So a couple of years ago, Henry got to pick and he picked Christmas for a theme. And so everyone I think Teddy, maybe this is like his second Christmas. So I just bought him a reindeer costume. Henry, of course, wanted to be Santa. That was the whole reason he wanted to dress up. But Oliver decided he wanted to be the Christmas tree. So we got him a Christmas tree costume. It was great. He was like, so excited. They make a ton of those. I think they’re for girls because they’re like dresses. But we just put a pair of, like, brown pants under. It was great. So the next year he drew he was the name that came out to pick and he wanted to be a tree again.

S7: So but this year he wanted to be a tree with animals living in it. We put these like Beanie Babies in, like glued them on to him and like in brown leggings, I carved our initials like his and my initials into them with glitter paint.

S4: And he was a tree with animals. And then Teddy was a bear. And then Henry was a park ranger. You can see Henry always chooses the like what it would be the organizer of this who would be in charge in this situation, not me, but the other kids are so scared that he will will draw, you know, again, because it seems like he always seeks to be the tree. Now, last year, the little one picked it. And so we were all characters from Winnie the Pooh and Teddy was Pooh Bear because he drew the name. But yes. So we’ve had years of tree costumes which are not also not sold in stores. Very few people want to be Christmas trees or trees. Just in general. It’s a pity. So if you were in charge of selecting the costumes that were to be mass produced in the stores this year, what would you choose?

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S1: Ninja Nurse? Just anything with masks wear like you can incorporate a mask into the costume, right? So it’s like a ninja, a nurse, certain superheroes, but not other superheroes. You know, just just just make sure people have a goddamn mask on. That’s all I really care about at this point. Like we’re in for a long, hard winter. Just get masks on people’s faces.

S4: Well, this year, every costume should be like, you know, like it’s usually like sexy nurse or this. It should they should all be with mask. Right? Like a sexy nurse with masks.

S1: Yes, exactly. Exactly.

S5: I wonder if sexy nurse with math is the thing yet. I’m going to look and see. Look at that.

S1: Your search results are going to be destroyed for days. Yes.

S6: Of sex. I sadly they will not.

S4: I was thinking I mean, my I was thinking of our love of Schitt’s Creek in our attempt to get Dan to love Schitt’s Creek. And I think that the more like little kids I can see as Moira the happy hour, just stick a wig on them and let them do whatever weird accent they want to do. And you’re good.

S1: How is your attempt to get Dan into that show going?

S4: Well, it’s slow. He hasn’t given up on it, but we can’t really get him to like like it. Is that how you would summarize our. That’s yeah.

S6: I don’t know.

S5: I just don’t think he’s committed to really watching it yet. I think he’s stuck in his head with what he decided the show was about. Because it’s such a dance show, he’s totally going to be like by the time that Ted and like he’s going to cry.

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S1: Yeah. For now.

S6: Is he just kind of like he’s just like it so much? Yeah. Yeah. Well, he’s like, I don’t hate it, but I’m, I’m watching it, but we don’t like love it and I like. What are you doing. Amazing. Like it’s so good.

S5: Like it didn’t take me long you know, like the first few episodes didn’t like hook me but I knew there was enough there. I was like OK, I’m just going to keep I’m not doing anything. I left it on the background and by four or five and I was like, OK, I get it. And now I’m like, I’m spacing it out because I don’t want to lose that. Right. But I wish I know I would love to do a Moira Rose costume. That would be so fun.

S6: Just any wig you don’t need any wig and a big ridiculous dress. I know. It’s like I could actually certainly shop from home for every piece of that costume and then like any child in that is like instantly cuter. Yes.

S1: The year I went as BoJack Horseman was Big Bang for the buck, because you just order that horse mask that everyone has, right? You just ordered that horse and then you wear a blazer, you know, and pants and you carry around a fake mean. That’s like all you or a fake Golden Globe or whatever. That’s all you do. And then everyone is like, oh, my God, I can’t believe you did that. I was like, honestly, this took five minutes.

S4: I was also thinking about things are like the beginning of the pandemic and like maybe a Marie Kondo type thing. And then, you know, because I think she just wear those like Aileen skirts and like a plain top. But then the real kicker would be that like as you received your candy or whatever, you would organize it, but also toss what did not bring you joy. So like, if someone gave you the candy that you didn’t like, you would have full permission to just like toss and be like, this doesn’t bring me joy.

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S1: You’d have to. Really commit to the bit there. Yes, I mean, you’re really like you’re throwing candy back in people’s faces. I mean, you really have to commit to the bit to do that and get away with it.

S5: Most kids are too shy for that. I know one kid who is not name is little brother. He would knock that out of the park I gave him his birthday was last week. And so I got him a couple of toys. I got him some dolls that he’d wanted. He’s into Barbie dolls and Barbie dolls and really he wants to create a big black family. That’s his goal. He wants to create a big, huge doll family, probably because we’re all missing our extended loved ones and stuff out here in California by ourselves. And so I got him this what I thought was an adorable it was like a little like a boy baby doll. Those like also a superhero, you know, and like it came with the Cape for him. And at first glance, he said, I don’t want it. And so his mother said, well, you know, Davey was turning six, please say thank you. And he said, thank you, but I don’t want it. And so she said, well, you know, look at it. Can you understand why someone would think, wow, this toy is perfect for David? And she was going through all the things about it that seemed like they would appeal to him. And he says, yes, but I just don’t want it. And so and it was everything I like and I could not stop laughing. I’m the worst. I’m not the straight man. And it wasn’t my kid. So I was like, I can’t really get in trouble here. But I felt bad, like I couldn’t stop giggling. But I think he would do very well if if his task was to tell people, I’m sorry, your Candie’s insufficient.

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S6: We don’t like I’m sorry, but we don’t like this. Yeah. Every time she’s home, I say, well, say thank you. He say thank you, but I don’t want it. Thank you that you can have it back.

S5: And of course and I’ve got the most adorable picture of him like in the costume with the doll because he did like it, he was just showing out but.

S4: So he eventually accepted the gift, eventually get into his family. Yes, he took it into his family that he’s creating. I love that so much. We need we need more people like that. Well, that’s it for this week’s Slate plus segment. So until next time.