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Dan Moran: Treats can be more than candy

Updated: December 2, 2012 7:14AM

Halloween is over. Let the recycling begin.

The family and I were reminded of this, oddly enough, by items found in our trick-or-treat bags — a “” informational flier, a “” refrigerator magnet and, last but not least, “” T-shirts. Two of them, actually.

These were not handed out during your traditional neighborhood door-to-door search for free candy, though it is possible that a grandmother who remembers seeing Country Joe McDonald at Woodstock might hand out such green-friendly items. No, these were collected during a relatively modern-day ritual: Trick-or-treating in a business district.

Sure, my 9-year-old came home with enough sugar to keep our dentist busy. But participants in last Saturday’s “Halloween Fall Festival and Business Trick or Treat” in downtown Grayslake also came away with treasures that would only be edible in a survival situation, and possibly not even then:

A miniature notebook, shaped like a pumpkin, stamped on the back with the address of a pediatric therapy center.

A Dum Dums lollipop taped to a pencil with the name of a Montessori school.

A 1.25-ounce bottle of Mandarin and jasmine vibrant color shampoo, wrapped with an advertisement for a beauty salon.

A coupon for a $7.99 haircut. Might just use that one.

Even some of the actual candy being handed out had an ulterior motive involved, such as the snacks provided by a congressional candidate standing outside a campaign bus the size of a Chicago bungalow.

I’ll withhold the name of this candidate to avoid any violation of equal-time provisions. But I will say that, because this was a “Business Trick or Treat” and we were 10 days away from Nov. 6, I was surprised that his opponent wasn’t standing directly across the street with a bucket of Milky Ways and an even larger bus.

Anyway, I’m not saying that these non-perishable treats will be pitched in the recycling bin. In fact, I am on record as being a fan of free shampoo, and no one can ever have too many pens stamped with the address of a chiropractor’s office. But there were two free items in particular that I know will be put to good use as we put the 2012 candy-harvest season into the past: A free toothbrush and a free tube of toothpaste.

Some businesses know how to deal with the realities of Halloween better than others.

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