Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Halloween handouts: Why always candy? (Nov. 1, 2008)

Current mood: happy

Why candy? Why always candy? Do we not force-feed ourselves enough on Thanksgiving and Easter and Valentine's Day and Christmas and the other 360 days of the year?

No. On Halloween, I do something different. And what I did this year, as I do every year, was promote my long-time favorite hobby, numsimatics. This is what I handed out to my neighborhood ghouls:

Along with each I enclosed a note, which read thusly:  
Have you ever seen one of these before? Go ahead, kids, hold these two coins in your hands. One is 100 years old! The other is 50 years old! The 1908 cent, commonly called an Indian Head, was used in everyday commerce until about the 1940s, the 1958 until the 1980s, but you will almost never see either one in change any more.

The 1958 cent looks the same as today's "penny" on one side, but the back shows two ears of wheat, so is called a "wheatie". You should be able to get one cent from every year since 1959 by going through enough pennies.

I also enclosed a note for the parents:
I have been giving out coins, or something coin-like, every Halloween since I moved here in 1991. Why? Because I find coin collecting – numismatics – to be a fun, fulfilling and educational hobby. For me, it has proven to be the glue that ties together every subject you learn in school. Everything from chemistry to economics to history, to even such remote topics like zoology and music, has a tie-in. By truly getting into collecting, budding numismatists also exercise down-to-earth things like budgeting, planning, decision making, as well as the obvious buying, selling and trading. Halloween provides the ideal opportunity to interest youngsters. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

I only get about 20 kids, but as always, I'm looking forward to at least one of them, or their parents, following up.

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