Places Michiganders Love to Be

“Up North Spooks and the Trick or Treat Treasure Hunt”

One of the things we went up North for was to be a part of was the Taquamenon Falls State Park Fall Festival. Pumpkin carving, crafts, costume contests, fall crafts all in the backdrop of peak Up North Colors. The highlight of the fest was the campground trick or treat. The campers decorate their campsites and people come in from the outer reaches of the area to go trick or treating. My sister in law had a site and as they went out to tick or treat, I prepped to hand out candy. I was NOT prepared for the sheer volume of people that crashed the campground!


There were hundreds of kids, and all the extended family came with them. Cars were lined up down the road. Entire groups were dressed up thematically and the sites...wow. They would have given any well healed suburban scape a run at their Halloween love. This was THE trick or treating event for the area, which makes sense considering the geography. No neighborhoods Up North. There were Such impressive displays setup many unique to the forest environment. After the trick or treat the crowds moved down the road to a haunted scare walk. It was a lot of fun.


Trick or treat time went from 5-7 and after watching my two young teens wind down into boredom I had a thought. To re-spark their fun I issued a challenge, something I called “Dad’s $5 Trick or Treat treasure hunt.” I listed out seven things they had to go find and if they completed the list, they could earn the money. Here were the seven things:


1. Snickers

2. Something Gummy (Grape or Red)

3. Twix

4. Something Gross

5. Reese’s

6. Chips

7. Something Black


They had 20 minutes to complete the challenge, they couldn’t get more than one item per campsite, and we needed two of each item. (You’ll notice I wisely put Mom’s favorites in there too!) In a way we created a Super Market Sweeps style game show for them to play.


They ran off laughing and plotting and nine minutes later they came back with the overflowing basket you see pictured. The campers were eager to help them on their list and we got some true winners in the basket. First Mom got all her favorites (whew-smart kids). Next up was the judging of the categories. First was the “gross” category.  My daughter picked out chocolate Laffy Taffy and insisted I eat it. I was expecting salt water taffy. It was not. Tasted more like freezer burned chocolate malt bubble gum which was indeed gross. My son picked out dog biscuits. Someone apparently had a bowl of dog crunchies for the costumed canines. The boy took the liberty to blur the line. So yes my other gross trick or treat item was dog biscuits. And I ate one. And it was gross!


Success!


Next for judgment the requested black items. I got black bag pretzels and black cherry sour candy. Perfect. The last real challenge were the chips. As kids went by I saw that chips were a popular hand out so I figured this would be easy, apparently it was not. But...after debating if popcorn balls would qualify as “chips” a woman ran into her camper, gave them two bags of chips and sent them on their quest.


I like to think that this goofy idea added to the fun and the thoughts of adults digging through candy bowls, or cupboards, to help the kids complete their list made me smile. As your kids go out this season I highly recommend doing up a “treasure hunt” list. Especially for the too cool older kids this will add a layer of fun and anytime you can hold onto a fading tradition that they are aging out of, you take it. And sometimes you just roll with it all even if it means eating an actual dog biscuits (Which tasted like stale Cheez-Its thank you very much)!


-GD