Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Candy Witch



So, we've been heavily entrenched in our Waldorf School for 2.5 years now. So much of it was just a totally natural fit with how we were parenting and living. And so much of it still feels as totally bizarre and foreign to us today as it did in the beginning. But for K & O, who have been "Waldorf" since age 3, it is all totally normal. For the most part, we go with it (and deeply appreciate it). However, every once in a while something comes up that really makes Braydon and I look at each other, tilt our heads to the side, and say, with raised eyebrows, "Um, what?!!!" The Candy Witch was one of those things. We heard all about it -- from letters sent home each year around Halloween, from fellow parents, from the boys' teachers (who strongly encourage it) -- but the "Candy Witch" was just one of those things that we never really bought into. Didn't buy into at all. The idea of adding yet another mystical Santa-EasterBunny-ToothFairy-esque phantom-in-the-night-who-leaves-gifties seemed way over-the-top. And the whole concept--- that after trick-or-treating you leave out your candy for the Candy Witch, who comes in the night while you're sleeping, takes away all the candy, and leaves you a little gift instead --- well, honestly, to us, it seemed darn-right cruel. Yes, she's a "good witch," a "happy witch," etc.... but still... to expect that our 5 year old's would give away all their trick-or-treat candy? Well, it just seemed crazy. Remembering back to our own childhoods, and all those Halloween goodies that we had collected, we couldn't bear the thought of telling our own kids that they'd have to part with their trick-or-treaties. So, over the past three years of Waldorf autumns we just basically, conscientiously, sort of blew off the whole Candy Witch concept. This year, though, we were in for a surprise. Right before our very eyes, our boys made the Candy Witch come alive. Monday, the first day back to school after Halloween, Kyle came home ecstatic with excitement over -- none other than -- the Candy Witch herself. He announced enthusiastically that the Candy Witch was coming that night. He wanted to leave her all of his candy. And he KNEW what she was going to leave in its place. "A new toothbrush! And a toy!" And this, it seemed to him, was a great deal. Kyle, who truly could not care any less about candy of any kind, was absolutely thrilled with the notion that he could trade it in for something better. Owen actually likes candy (well, at least, he likes chocolate -- and he likes it a lot), but no matter, he jumped right on board Kyle's Candy Witch train with no hesitation. I was kind of shocked. In retrospect, I shouldn't have been. I know my boys well enough to know that a new toothbrush is more exciting to them than a plastic pumpkin full of and sugary-candy-they-don't-actually-like and cheap chocolate (Lindt or Godiva or something good is a whole other story, but they have yet to ever receive any of that while trick-or-treating). I'm sure all it took was for Kyle to hear of one or two kids at school who had been visited by the Candy Witch to make him a True Believer. If there is one thing I know about K & O it is that they are Believers. It does not take much to spark their imaginations and believe in the magical-mystical. But on Monday evening, faced with their excitement over the Candy Witch coming, the biggest challenge before me was logistics. I simply was not prepared for the visit of this new phantom-in-the-night-who-leaves-gifties. I convinced them that they should hold off on giving away their treats and enjoy eating them for another day. "Tuesday," I said, "don't you think you'd rather leave your candy for her to come on Tuesday!!?" They seemed alright with that. They ate a couple pieces of candy after dinner Monday night (that might be a stretch... maybe they ate a couple of pieces combined... seriously, they are weird, weird little kids -- really just not fans of the candy). By Tuesday night they were chomping at the bit and were even more gung-ho than ever about the Candy Witch. And --importantly-- by Tuesday night I was prepared for her. Kyle basically orchestrated the whole thing and the rest of us followed along. They saved a few pieces of their favorites from their plastic pumpkins (although, 4 days later they still haven't touched them), dumped all the rest (including Meera's) into a basket, dictated a note to me, and put it outside on the front porch for the Candy Witch to take. The next morning, sure enough!, she had come! They were thrilled beyond thrilled with what the witch left: new toothbrushes and toothpaste for all three, three new books, and a couple of toy golf carts. Amidst all the excitement on Wednesday morning I said something like, "You know, I never even knew about the Candy Witch! When I was a little girl I didn't even know she existed!" Kyle said, "Well she does exist! And I have even seen her!" "Yes!" shouted Owen, "I have seen her too!" "Oh?" I said, "I didn't even know about her, and I definitely haven't ever seen her!" "Me neither!" said Braydon. To which Kyle replied, very excitedly and matter-of-factly, "That's because you're not black! Only black people can see her! And she is black too!" Which Owen then promptly backed up, with much enthusiasm, "Right! We can see her and you can't! Because we're black! And she's black! Only black people can see her!" Wow. Later, when I asked them if the Candy Witch was just coming this year, or if she would be coming every year, they confidently told me that she is "DEFINITELY coming every year!!!" And thus begins a new (at least for us), most magical Waldorf-y, Halloween tradition: The Candy Witch.

7 comments:

Kristin said...

I recently learned about this new Halloween concept, except here The Great Pumpkin comes, takes the candy, and leaves gifts for the kids. (Think Charlie Brown - it's the Great Pumpkin). My bio kids are behind trick-or-treating so we haven't had to deal with this, but who knows what will happen by the time we get our son and daughter home from Haiti. It's still a long way off.

M3 said...

Dang, I think that tradition just rocks!! The only one eating tons of candy in this house is ME and my butt does not need two whole buckets of candy. Maybe we can institute

Oh man, I was interrupted in the middle of typing this by TubaDad yelling "M, come here now, we've got a Nerd in the nose!" Apparently Ree shoved a Nerd (one of her Halloween candies!!) up her nose and it got stuck. Is that the weirdest coincidence or what?!!!

Jess said...

Geez, I can't even properly execute Tooth Fairy duties -- no Candy Witch here. Glad the kids were into it, so you didn't have to grapple with the issue.
My kid claims to have seen the tooth fairy, despite the fact that she's white. ;-)

Brittany said...

That's a cute tradition. I have never heard of Waldorf schools before reading your blog (but then I don't have kids, either!) and I think that school sounds really neat. I would have liked to have gone to a school like that.

Gregory and Tegan said...

What a classic Waldorf tradition. I'm just laughing.
Thank you for sharing...I wonder now how many more children and families will be in cahoots with with Candy Witch next year. :)

rhea jill said...

What did you do with the candy?

Heather said...

Rhea Jill~ I gave the candy to my undergrad students-- who LOVED it! ;)
hbj