We’re two days post-Halloween, and my kids are still on a sugar high. All that chocolate and treats-they-only-get-this-time-of-year has them buzzing and bouncing about. It’s not as bad as it could have been: both kids walked away from Halloween with four pieces of candy each, a steep decline from the 179 pieces in my daughter’s haul (my son, interestingly, came home from trick or treating with half that amount). The rest of their candy collection went to the Switch Witch, with small presents left behind in their place. What is the Switch Witch? Read on, my friends, and start planning for Halloween 2016.
The following is a repost of an original post I wrote for BlogHer.com.
A couple of years ago, a hurricane was predicted to hit my region on Halloween, so trick or treating was cancelled in my town. My kids were devastated; I was thrilled. No opportunity to collect dozens of pieces of sugar and preservative-filled candy? Aw, that’s too bad. Here’s an apple; let’s watch a movie.
I can’t get out of trick-or-treating this year, though — my kids are beyond excited for the holiday to arrive. They have started a countdown to October 31, asking me daily, “How many more days until Halloween, Mommy?”
They dress up in their new costumes to practice how they will be in character during their walk around our neighborhood, ringing doorbells with their friends. Specifically, this means putting on their Hogwarts robes and Gryffindor scarves — my son and daughter will be dressed as Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, respectively — and running around our house yelling “Expelliarmus” as they shake their official Harry Potter wands at me.
What they don’t do, however, is talk about the candy they’ll collect during trick-or-treating. And, for that, I have the Switch Witch to thank.
I learned about the Switch Witch last year while perusing Facebook one night. I can’t remember which of my friends shared this idea — I wish I could remember because a big present would be coming his or her way — and I immediately recognized its genius. I pitched it to my kids the next day. Our conversation went like this:
“Hey, have you ever heard about the Switch Witch?” I asked, wondering if this was a thing kids talked about at school.
My kids looked up from their breakfast cereal. “No,” said my daughter, ever attuned to the universe of witches and fairies. “What is it?”
“The Switch Witch comes to your house on Halloween, after you’re asleep,” I explained. “She collects your candy, leaving you just a few pieces — maybe three or so — and a small present. She takes the candy to soldiers who are far away from home.
“That sounds cool,” my son said, nodding his head.
“Would you like the Switch Witch to come to our house?” I asked carefully, my fingers crossed underneath the table.
My son considered this idea. “Would she bring me Legos?” he responded.
“She could,” I answered. “A small Lego kit; no Millennium Falcons or anything as big as that.”
“How many pieces of candy would she leave for us?” asked my daughter, visions of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups in her eyes.
“Three,” I said.
“Five?” she asked.
“How about four?” I responded, wondering how I had ended up in a candy negotiation with my five-year-old.
“And one piece on Halloween night,” replied my son.
“OK,” I sighed.
“I like it,” he said. “How do we get her to come?”
“Well, there’s a way Mommies can reach out to her, but you both need to agree,” I said.
My son turned to his sister, expectedly.
“I’ll only do it if she can bring me a live unicorn,” she said, her chin set firmly.
Oh brother, I thought.
And, oh brother, indeed. After three days of intense persuasion, my son got his sister to say yes to the Switch Witch. On Halloween night, after staying up past their bedtimes, running from house to house with their friends to trick-or-treat, my kids gathered at our kitchen table to go through their haul. I collected the M&Ms (my commission), and they each selected four pieces to keep for later. They gobbled up one piece that night, and placed the rest in a big yellow bowl for the Switch Witch. Hyped up on sugar, they bounced off to bed.
While they slept, I took the Switch Witch candy, double-bagging it so as to make sure they did not inadvertently stumble upon it and hid it in my car. I later brought some of the candy to my office to share with colleagues, and I contributed the rest to a local dentist who was collecting candy to send to the troops in the Middle East.
When my kids awoke the next morning, two presents awaited them. For my son, a small Lego kit — a space ship that he built in 15 minutes. For my daughter, the Switch Witch brought a Playmobil play set consisting of a fairy in a tutu with shiny wings and a unicorn.
This year, despite my son’s unmasking of other fairies in our family, the Switch Witch will be back. (My son, after all, isn’t giving up on his Lego connection.) The Switch Witch will again bring Legos for him and a book this time for my daughter. I’ll get my M&Ms and the majority of my kids’ trick-or-treat bounty will be donated.
Witches, in turns out, can do good, after all.