Candy crush: the perils of trick-or-treating

Trick-or-treating in Sydney (Photo: Ari Kimber)

Ari Kimber braved the streets of one of Sydney’s wealthiest suburbs, to take a group of 6-11-year-olds trick-or-treating. It was a nightmare he won’t forget.


It was just your average Halloween in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. Children dressing up in their custom-made costumes, running the streets on the hunt for the best gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, organic lollies.

It was my job to chaperone five of those children for just a couple of hours before dark.

The rush for lollies (Photo: Ari Kimber)

First we had to unzip their ridiculously expensive, personally tailored costumes from their protective garment bags. Next, after all children were dressed, we had to cover their faces with fake blood and glitter – a task that took no less than an hour. Then it was time to assemble on the family staircase for the professional photo shoot, as mothers stepped in to stage manage where each child stood.

Finally… we were out the door.

Our search began on the streets of Vaucluse, where sweets are easy to find. This is a suburb where flyers are handed out in the days before Halloween, reminding residents not to “fail” to decorate their homes or to open their doors to children.

In most suburbs and towns across the country, hovering helicopter parents are in plain sight. Not here. Scores of children had taken over the neighbourhood; no longer fearful of the strangers they might come across.

(Photo: Ari Kimber)

As I stuck close to the children in my care, I was shocked at how many six year olds were sprinting across the streets in front of cars, to make it to yet another house to retrieve all the lollies and chocolate bars before their friends.

Soon my group of five turned into 15.

In Double Bay, mothers socialised on the streets. I found myself shocked to come across one parent dashing around in search of her missing son. He’d just been spotted running amok in the neighbouring suburb (probably having a sugar rush after tasting a chocolate that was not organically manufactured or sold by the vegan chocolatier who ships the sweets from France, I imagined).

As some kids devoured their sweets on the run, others exchanged them for gold coins – pocketing as much as $75 for their efforts.

When the bowls of treats started to dry up, the rage began to grow. Tantrums sparked left, right and centre and thousand dollar costumes started to rip.

It was soon time for the socialite mothers to relax over a glass or two of French champagne. A handy bottle hidden in the bottom of a pram, a welcome saving grace ahead of their child’s lurking “morning after” sugar low.