Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Well, the drive up to Father Dick's was harrowing.  We took back roads all the way and I expected it to take much longer than it did.  Surprisingly, a typical highway drive is 2 hours and it took us 2.5 hours in snow and sleet going the back roads.  Yeah us!

What ensued was fairly typical.  Chili and pizza burgers, followed by a sauntering down to the local watering holes (a town of 78 has not one but TWO bars) and a little pull tabbing.  No money to be had this year.  Back to the rectory (or as my son calls it, the wrecktomy) for a venison fry.  At that point, midnight, I felt like I had been up forever.  In mom-time, it was close.

The morning brought coffee, church, breakfast and me, firmly cocooning myself into the rectory/church basement.  I was NOT THE LEAST bit interested in going outside for the temperature was FRIGID!  My oldest daughter however did manage to scavenger hunt her way to a $20 cash prize.  Then my husband found the jackass wining him the big money prize of the weekend...$100.  Whoot!

As we were waiting for the turkey to finish cooking, we played several rounds of bingo.

Father calling bingo:
Playing sit down bingo...other wise known as LOSER* bingo:
My baby and her cousin playing bingo:
When bingo was over, we got our family picture.  My middle daughter stood on the counter to get the whole fam damily:
We ate...and ate...and ate...and had dessert...and ate some more.

Then, there was a sight to behold.  The "boys" doing the dishes.
Or maybe not.  Maybe my ONE nephew was doing the dishes, while his uncle and they boy...er, uh, played "snap the dishtowel".  They actually made the little kids run a gauntlet:
Due to the temperature, the hay ride was canceled (did you hear the whoops of joy?) so we ended up in Sauk Center, touring one of Father's old churches that was built in the early 1900s in a baroque style (and since someone had to do the...if it's not baroque, don't fix it joke, I did the honors), followed by a trip to the local meat market were we left with a full strip loin, cut into steaks. 

After a stop for lunch, we made it home mid afternoon, got unpacked and relaxed.

Saturday we went and go our tree and my husband put it up.  I wasn't up to doing the full house so it's been a gradual process.  The tree went up on Saturday and we brought it in to warm up.  I put the lights on the tree on Sunday and the kids decorated it on Monday.  The only thing left to do is to put the candy canes, peppermint only please, on the tree.  Wanna see?
So, today, I got the house decorated.  The only thing I have left to do is strip a string of lights off my pencil tree (artificial....the one I put in the corner of our living room) since the whole middle section is out, and replace them and get that tree up.
Then, all that's left for me to do is to bake my cookies, finish writing my Christmas letter, order my Christmas cards, write out my list, buy all the Christmas presents, wrap them, send those that need to be sent, plan Christmas dinner, attend choir concerts, dance competitions and  basketball games.  Nothing out of the ordinary...if your name is Martha.

Loser bingo*=last one standing who does NOT have a number that has been called on their card, wins.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We Really are NUTS

Stomach knotted. I believe it will be a much longer ride than typical.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I never read as a kid.  Matter of fact, I HATED reading.  Even the standard "Little House" books, I didn't read until I was in my early teens.  So, I really had no idea about Ramona Quimby books.  Well, maybe a vague idea, but that was all.  When the Ramona and Beezus movie came out, the only remarkable thing I knew of the movie was that Selena Gomez was in it.  Still, when my 9 year old requested it as movie fodder while our oldest daughter was off being Lyndi Lauper on Saturday, I was willing to hit up Blockbuster to find it for her.

We ended up watching it at a friend's house, someone who WAS familiar with the books.  We discussed the movie a little and while it was OK, IMO, it wasn't great.  I explained that I like watching movies to be entertained.  I WANT the happy ending.  Oh, the ending was fine, but there wasn't that AH-HA moment with Beezus when she realized AND verbalized that Ramona was Ramona and EMBRACED her for who she was instead of who she wasn't.  That was what I wanted.  I wanted rainbows and unicorns (pooping Skittles...call me a romantic) and I didn't get it.  Still the movie was cute.

Fast forward to this morning.  My 9 year old was home from school yesterday.  She was up the night before with a bad stomach ache and woke up with it (yes...shades of Ferris Bueller without the licked palm) and ACTED sorta sick until around 4pm when all that suppressed energy bubbled forth and I KNEW she would be at school today.  Did she happen to mention to me while dancing/jumping/bouncing off the walls that she needed to write a speech she needed to give for her run at student council representative?  Uh...NO!  She waited until she had 30 minutes this morning, while eating breakfast (which is always an ordeal getting her to focus) to ask me for help...while she starts writing random things.  Like..."I promise to give all my clothes to those in need"...or "I promise to feed all the poor"Not that those are not admirable intentions, but let's face it...it's STUDENT COUNCIL, not Secretary General of the UN.   And woe be unto me if I should dare to point her in a more appropriate direction.  Whining and tears and help me/don't help me ensued until I finally said ENOUGH.  We do NOTHING more until...1. breakfast is eaten  2. body is clothed and 3. teeth and hair are brushed.

Here is where I made my mistake.  Breakfast was done.  I called out to her to ask if she was dressed and she said yes (which you KNOW didn't include socks) so I said brush you teeth and hair and I'm going to jump in the shower.  I turn on the shower, stripped to nekkid (yes, you are excused from forming a picture of THAT in your mind's eye) only to turn and find myself in a "Ramona Moment".  My daughter stood in the bathroom doorway with a comb in her hair.  No...with a comb ROLLED UP and STUCK in her hair.  840am.  I need to be OUT THE DOOR at 850am, I need to quickly jump in the shower.  And now I have to attempt to unroll a comb stuck in the front quarter of my daughter's hair.  Then her dad called.  And I was short with him.  I was also still nekkid.   I gave him a briefing of what was happening and went back to the "decombification of Beanie".  

It was then I realized that my life with Beanie is like a Ramona movie.  EXACTLY like a Ramona movie.  There are no rainbows or unicorns pooping Skittles in my life either.  No happily ever afters, nothing is ever neatly tied up with a bow.  What I have...is messy, it's funny, it's frustrating, it's  aggravating,  it's adventurous...and it's important to me to EMBRACE my Ramona for who she is.

I'm trying.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Murder Mystery, with a Twist

My oldest daughter has a friend who has THE BEST birthday parties.  They are so out of the norm and yet she comes home with the best stories of the parties she's been to.  This years party was no different and actually caught my attention (Oh to be a fly on the wall).  Her party?  A Murder Mystery with an '80s theme.  
So each of the guests were assigned a character.  The character theme was '80s characters where they had a slight variation of the original form.  They were all pulled from music, TV and movies.  It was SO clever.
The list of attendees included: Fadonna (Madonna), Nork from Pork (Mork from Ork), Alligator Dundee (Crocodile Dundee), Debi Gribson (Debi Gibson), Danielson (Daniel Karate Kid),  Wee Pee Vermon (Pee Wee Herman), Toni Oregano,  (Toni Basil), Polly Abdool (Paula Abdul), Spunky Brewster (Punky Brewster), El Vampira (Elvira), Jessica Bunny (Jessica Rabbit), Muffy Bangles (Valley Girl) and Lyndi Lauper (Cyndi Lauper).   They were to come dressed accordingly.

My daughter was Lyndi.  Holy cow did we have fun outfitting her.  We raided every nook can cranny of both of our closets and pulled together a pretty good look for her.  I think the only thing we bought was the tights off the clearance rack at a whoppin' cost of $1.75.  You decide:

Not only did they do the character route, but they pulled in pieces of '80s culture...Mogawi's, songs, movies...things so uniquely '80s that those of us (ok...me) who were a product of that culture got to relive it as we (ok, I) helped my daughter prepare.

As it turned out, Lyndi was the murderer, having killed Alligator Dundee because, apparently while her public persona had her as an animal activist, she secretly was eating Mogawi burgers and Alligator Dundee knew and was blackmailing.  Murder, intrigue, makeup..what more does a girl need on a cold wet (and icy) November Saturday night?  Even if she has to wash her hair 3 times to get all the paint out.

And yes, she had a blast.  That's what I love about 14.  Or maybe it's just this group of girls.  They are so willing to embrace silly and take it to the nth degree.

I like to think she gets a little of that from me.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Feats of Modern Engineering

also known as, what I (well, my husband) did on my (well, his)  snowy Saturday morning.

We moved into our house almost 14 years ago.  We had it built and we had a designer come up with a landscape plan, but we did all the work, planting, mulching, etc.

When we first planted, we wondered...would this REALLY EVER fill in.  What do you think?  I think this was taken spring of 1998 (we completed the front landscaping in  Aug 1997):
See those "trees" in front, staked? I'll wait if you need to get a magnifying glass. There were 3 and they are single stem purple rain birches.  
And believe it or not, the landscaping DID fill in.  After about 3 years, the house looked like this:

You can see the trees are starting to fill out nicely.  Then about a  year later, the tree furthest to the right, which was still staked, ended up breaking.  The rope from the stake seemed to be the culprit.  We ended up cutting it down.  Thus breaking the cardinal rule of landscaping...always plant in 3's.

So, we were reduced to two trees, that continued to grow, although not too rapidly.  They framed the door nicely, in MY opinion (my husband's differed..he thought it obscured the front of the house and was ever cutting down branches so one could see the house through the trees).

This was last year, after a snow, so you can see how big those trees grew to be (and how much more the landscaping had filled in)
Earlier this year, I noted that the birches seemed to be losing leaves REALLY early.  It couldn't be a lack of water as we had the perfect year for rain, so much so that our grass NEVER went brown and we never even turned on the sprinklers.  All the other plants around the trees were thriving.  It would rain at night, so it was perfect.  So I didn't understand why the trees were losing leaves.  I thought it might just be a fluke and we would see how they looked in the spring.  My husband, however, wanted to take them down as a precaution to them potentially damaging the house.  I balked.

Until this morning.  Which timing wise was probably wasn't the ideal "tree taking down scenario".  Last night it started raining, a cold rain that was a precursor to snow we knew would be coming.  It came (and at 1245 is still coming, although it is finally tapering).  We opened the front door to find many branches having completely broken off the trees and most of those still attached, barely so, with the weight of the heavy snow having snapped the branches at the trunk.  Thus, the decision was made.

My husband borrowed a chain saw and began cutting as many branches as he could reach with a ladder.  My son, a budding engineer, said they had done a similar project in school (SEE...they DO teach) and what worried the boy was that they weren't taking into account the full height of the trees.  He said that usually they underestimate the height and that's where it causes damage.
So, after much  consultation (with added input from the chain saw lending neighbor), they brought down the trees.  Necessary equipment needed:  chain saw, rope, 4 wheeler (who knew it would come in handy) and goggles...Mustn't forget the goggles*, because, above all else, safety first**.
First a large branch on the first tree was taken down.  Before:

 Now the fun begins.  Going:
Tree two was a little anticlimactic:
And now our house looks like this:
Oddly enough, I am OK with this.  I don't know why I was so totally against doing this when it would have been more convenient.  Now, it's a done deed.

The snow will cover the stumps during the winter, and I guess next spring, we'll figure out a game plan for what we're going to do with them.  In case you don't know, Purple Rain Birches have and EXTENSIVE root system (I hit them all over when splitting my perennials) that we'll also have to deal with.

So, here are my thoughts on this whole experience(from the comfort of my nice warm and dry kitchen table).  One:  it's just a plant.  Look at the bigger picture.   Two:  we have some pretty awesome neighbors.  Not only did neighbor one gas and oil his chain saw he lent to us, he came over and helped, in the cold and snow, so as to avoid us doing greater damage to our house.  Neighbor two is the optometrist.  I called him at home, on a Saturday and he immediately came to our rescue.  Without a moment's hesitation.  Three: sometimes starting over is a good thing.  

*goggles.  The husband wore goggles because he was chain sawing.  The boy, on the 4 wheeler, did not and ended up with a piece of sawdust trapped in his eye, which after two hours of pain, watering and frustration, ended us up at the local optometrist to have his eye flushed and determine that YES, he did scratch his eye.
**safety first...why yes, that is my husband, standing on a ladder, with a chainsaw, in the snow, on a slope.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thanksgiving Traditions

Every family has their own traditions, things they do each and every year.  I'm not always sure why some "traditions" continue while others do not because, you know, not every tradition is a good one.  Like for some reason, every year, I manage to get my panties in a twist over something my husband does.  Not one of those traditions you really NEED to carry on from year to year, but, alas, it has become "tradition".  Luckily, I'm wearing bigger panties so it's not quite so painful.

But this is going to be all about good traditions, or maybe memorable ones.

Thanksgiving in our house...well, is never at our house.  My husband's uncle, Fr Dick, hosts Thanksgiving at whatever parish he happens to be assigned.  In my 18 years of marriage, I have been to Elizabeth (probably the furthest away...think...North Dakota-ish), Isanti (the smallest house, BUT, the place I learned all I ever wanted to know about the making of lutefisk and I STILL can't get the smell out of my clothes, 13 years later), Osakis (large rectory house AND a convent with plenty of actual beds...and when hosting upwards of 50 people, this is a plus), and finally Spring Hill (where he has retired at a huge rectory).

"Traditionally", Thanksgiving begins when we receive the invitation that has a "schedule of events".  Yes, this is important.  For planning purposes.  And NO Thanksgiving isn't actually ONE day, it's a string of days that almost have the feel of a never ending frat party (NOT that I have ever attended one of those...ahem).

Thanksgiving (beyond the preparations I need to make for food I am required to bring) begins for us on Wednesday, usually around noon, when I start to load the truck.  "Traditionally", my kids' elementary school has 3rd grade parent visitation day on this Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.  For each of my 4 children (2 of which had the same 3rd grade teacher) we have warned the teacher that we would be pulling them from school early so PLEASE, do NOT give them a integral part of the 3rd grade parent visitation program.  Now some, NOT me of course, would call the pulling of the children early from school thus missing the presentation a win-win situation.  We do this because Father's parishes have ALWAYS been north of the city and we have to contend with "make a move Thanksgiving traffic" that begins earlier and earlier each year.

If all goes well, we usually arrive at Fr Dicks somewhere around 5-6 pm.  Father usually has a big pot of chili going.  This is tradition.  He tries to vary it up every now and then.  Like the year he made his chili from beef tongue.  We didn't want him making chili anymore after that.  One year he had a chili competition where people were to bring their best chili's (already made) and let the townspeople decide the winner.  I took myself out of the competition as I couldn't decide which of my recipes to make (and really it didn't matter, no one had a chance if I entered).  

After sating our appetite, the adults walk down to  one of the two bars in town.   The joy of being in Spring Hill (being able to walk).  In other towns, we've driven to...the legion, the VFW, etc. to meet up with the locals who know Father hosts his family and enjoy meeting us all...again.  Or for the first time (God help them).  If there is a pool table, then it's game on.

It's back to the rectory where "traditionally" there is a poker tournament.  Several tables are set up the cards are dealt and it is now, every man for himself!  Husbands and wives?  Fuggetabout!  It's cut throat.  Because, you know, there is a cash prize for the winner.

Hopefully the poker tournament is over by midnight because that is the time for the Venison Fry.  Those hunters who are lucky enough to bag a deer are required to save the tenderloins for the "traditional" midnight venison fry.  Even if you happened to be sleeping, once the venison, onions and peppers hit the pan, your nose will lead you back to the kitchen for a taste.

Clean up is quick as by now most are exhausted...AND it is JUST BARELY THANKSGIVING!

The next morning everyone is up for "traditional" Thanksgiving mass over which Father presides.  The challenge, at Spring Hill, is now how to get 30 adults through the single shower.  Yes, even though the rectory has 7 bedrooms, it is a true rectory house in the sense that it has only one shower (there is a half bath downstairs).  Most of us actually sleep in the church basement on the floor, where there are school type bathrooms...with stools and a sink only.  No shower.  That's what deodorant is for, right?

The clan usually takes up the front 5-6 right hand rows of the church.  Luckily it's a big church so the town people DO have someplace to sit.  And as is tradition, Father gives a heart rending sermon.  Occasionally (not traditionally) he'll sing his sermon.  THIS is a treat.  When he does, I have to remember to bring tissues.

Luckily, we only have to move to the basement for the "traditional" Thanksgiving breakfast.  Items included in the breakfast:  vanilla pull apart bread, cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, and smoked sausage (from every butcher shop from Rochester to Bemidji).  Occasionally there will also be egg dishes, but we have in the past also done just a large pan of scrambled eggs.  Oh, and "traditionally"...there are bloody mary's.  I make a MEAN bloody mary!

So, after breakfast and clean up, a plethora of games begin...for young and old.  First giant cardboard football games are squared off so that the betting can begin.  You pick squares until all are filled in, pay $x per square.  Numbers are drawn for both horizontal and vertical edges.  If your set of numbers match the score of the football game at the end of each quarter, you win.  Usually half and final scores are the bigger winners.  Both games get their own boards.
The funny part, there is usually so much going on, it's rare that the games actually get watched!

"Traditionally" there is a cribbage tournament.  I am a novice so I have never participated.  I need to up my game because as with poker, CASH PRIZES!  WHOOT!

The entire clan is involved with card bingo.  I think Father has to use upwards of 5-6 decks of cards to produce 50+ hand of 5 different cards, with enough left over for him to draw numbers.  As he draws a card, and you hold that card, you get to pull that card.  First one with zero cards to yell Bingo wins.  Traditionally...cash prizes.  This is fun because the kids can and DO win.  Everyone switches hands between games.  Usually around 10 games are played.

By mid afternoon there is the "TRADITIONAL" (note upper case...this is the one that is not only traditional but COMPETITIVE...) Father does the annual hiding of the Jack-Ass, a 2 in tall jackass that he hides somewhere on his property outside then gives clues as to where it is hidden.  Obscure clues, because you know...you can't have a quick winner.  Even if it's cold.  And snowing.  I've seen adults knock over kiddies like you would imagine a black Friday shopper after a $50  42" HDTV would, thinking they knew where the jack ass was and woe be it unto you if you were in their way.  Yes...THAT kind of competitive.  And as you would expect, that one is usually the BIG CASH WIN of the day.

Somewhere in there turkeys (yes multiple) are put in electric roasters, 50 lb bags of potatoes are peeled (note...we learned long ago...we MUST bring our own potato peeler unless we wanted to be there until Christmas peeling potatoes, so you might consider it "tradition"), wild rice dressing is put on, premade dressing goes in the crock pots.  Most of the other side dishes are already made and need to be heated, so the use of the church basement ovens (yes plural) is necessary.

"Traditionally" we USED to pull out appetizers, shortly after breakfast.  And a different appetizer rolled out almost hourly.  While this was lovely, we found come 630(ish) no one was hungry.  So we finally did the smart thing and put the kabash on appetizers.

Father does "traditionally" put together children's games too.  Sack races, apple races...the kids are not left to fend for themselves (well, yes they are, but not with regard to game participation).  If the weather cooperates, there is also a game of touch football.  This really is a sight worth seeing.  Never broken bones, but the occasional bruise is not unheard of.

The goal is to have dinner ready around 630.  "Traditionally", this does not happen.  But last year we got close.  When Father moved to Spring Hill, we began a new tradition of taking a picture, from atop a counter, of all the adults.  This is a tradition I really like.

After the picture, food is set out.  Prayers are said.  These vary from the children having their say, to EVERYONE having their say, to the "tradition" of Father giving the blessing and truly showing us what we have to be thankful for.

Then it begins:  turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing/dressing, wild rice dressing, warm bacon coleslaw, green bean casserole, sweet potato souffle (or a sweet potato dish of some kind), cranberry relish, occasionally corn pudding.  Fairly standard Thanksgiving fare.

IF you have room...out come the desserts.  Pumpkin and sweet potato pie.  Always.  Tradition.  Additionally, pecan and or chocolate pecan (or specifically Madiera chocolate pecan pie...ahem).  Maybe an apple (because MIL only really like apple pies).  This year, I'm bringing a Chai Pumpkin cheesecake.  Because, yeah, sometimes I like to thumb my nose at tradition (and my oldest daughter asked if I would...who am I to tell her nay?)

My favorite part?  "Traditionally" the boys do the dishes!  WHOOT!

Thanksgiving becomes pretty anti-climactic after dinner.  One "traditionally" finds a place to sprawl and digest.

On Friday, Father usually plans some sort of activity.  In Osakis, he would rent out the WHOLE bowling ally...all 6 lanes.  This was always fun.  But at most locations, Father enlists one of his farmer parishioners to hook up a hay wagon and provide his family with a hay ride.  Many coolers and flasks are "traditionally" involved.  And blankets.  Years before I entered the family, a farmer had used horses to draw the wagon and something went awry, ending with bodies being strewn every where, and if I recall the story correctly, an emergency room visit was involved.  So the hay ride has evolved into a tractor pulled hay ride.  And it works out fine.

Most of us leave late Friday afternoon.  I think Father is thankful to see the lot of us (and we are a LARGE LOT) go home.

But one of my favorite traditions at Thanksgiving, is the chat I have with my pillow the night we return. It's not usually long, but it includes lots of kisses and expression of love and how much it was missed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Church last Sunday had a very thought provoking message.  They are finishing up a series on "Is Jesus Lord of Your Life?" and Sunday's service revolved around doubt.  Typically one would think doubt wouldn't have a place in a church service, well, not an acknowledged place, which is what I love about our church.  Let's not brush issues under the rug but let's take the bull by the horns and address issues head on.

So, doubting Thomas was the subject of the service and how doubt is healthy and beneficial part of our spiritual journey.

Proverbs 14:15  A simple man believes anything but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.

Doubt of conscience.  I think this is the foundation for faith.  How do we believe that which we cannot see.  Funny enough, I recall a line from the Santa Claus movie from elf Judy..."Seeing isn't believing, believing is seeing."  This was what Thomas needed.  He would only believe when he saw/felt.  We don't have that luxury.  We can't see...we just have to have faith.

Doubt of convenience.  This one struck closer to home.  How often in the past have I made decisions not because they were right, but because they were convenient?  Easy for me?  I could say that it's human nature to do what's best for ourselves, but bringing Christ into the equation, gives me pause.  WWJD?  When given too much money at the register, do you correct the error or do you justify it because of when you weren't given enough money?  Does it even out?  Should it?  I have made a concerted effort (moreso in the last year) to live a life more in light than in darkness and I when I do something I KNOW is right, my world shifts.  Literally.  I feel it down to my toes.  I LOVE that feeling. But it's not always easy... as the Fray said in All At Once..."sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same."

Faith...believing is seeing...Jesus said, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20:29)

Yes, I am truly blessed.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

OH Happy Day!

6 weeks ago, my son had an ortho appt.  We expected he would be getting his braces off.  I was called back to the exam room and shown that his bite on the right side was slightly off as he hadn't been good at wearing his rubber bands.  They said 2..maybe 4 more months.  I knew we would lose him and any chance of him cooperating if he knew he had another 4 months in braces.

So, they said, 6 weeks they'll schedule a "conditional removal".  Conditional on MINIMUM of 20 hours per day of wearing the bands so they can see if the bite corrects.  If not, another 6 weeks.

Today was that 6  week appt.  And I'll give the boy this, he has been VERY good at wearing his bands, but I wanted to make sure he knew that the possibility was there for another 6 weeks.  He was NOT pleased to hear it could be put off and I wasn't happy about being the bearer of those tidings.

When is ortho came out to talk to me I literally held my breath.  The news was GREAT!

His commitment paid off.

And what were his parting "gifts"?   A goody bag filled with microwave popcorn, starbursts and skittles.  All the stuff he wasn't supposed to (but did) eat.One down, one to go (and the reality is, it's probably two).

For your listening pleasure...Oh Happy Day!

Monday, November 1, 2010


The Fall Ball followed immediately by Halloween was tricky.  But it worked even if I was at Target at 2pm buying finishing touches to costumes to be worn 4 hours later.  Still, it's all good.

Beanie was a perfect Bo Peep:
Her hair curled perfectly:
This is our new trick or treating buddy.  Based on the size of their haul, I think they did ok.
The older girls went off with friends so we didn't get pictures here but one here's my middle daughter with her friend.  Note the well thought out ninja, vs the we hit Target 4 hours before ninja:

My oldest daughter claimed to have dressed up but when she arrived home, she wasn't wearing much more than two tu-tus (for the fuller tu-tu).  

While I am not against kids of any age trick or treating, what I am against is a minimal/lack of effort put into costumes (yes, this would include my oldest daughter) and expecting that I am just going to hand over my "good" candy.  A friend on facebook had a great suggestion that I'm going to start using:  two bowls of candy, one good, one crap.  You don't dress up and expect candy, you'll get the crap.  Maybe if more people did this, these "kids" would get the clue that perhaps they ARE a little long in the tooth for trick or treating.