MABLETON — Mableton resident Kayla Taylor has supersized treats waiting for angels, superheroes, witches and other costumed kiddos who visit tonight — but the trick-or-treaters are going to have to earn them.
Taylor has alerted her neighbors in the Anne Place subdivision that before she hands out her traditional giant-sized Hershey’s bars, kids ages 3 to 5 will have to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and older trick-or-treaters will have to correctly answer one of 10 civics questions.
Taylor thought up the idea about three weeks ago, she said.
“I was getting ready to buy the candy, and I thought, let’s do it a little different this year. Plus, it’s an election year,” said Taylor, a jazz singer.
So far, she says, the reaction from parents and kids has been swell.
“I was kind of nervous people might be upset, but I’ve gotten lots of emails and Facebook tags,” she said. “They’re all supportive.”
Neighbor Kerry Flading said her three children —Elizabeth, 9; Luke, 7; and Katherine, 4 — are happy to oblige.
“I think it’s great, and the kids do too, so that’s even better,” Flading said. “It’s good that it’s coming from somebody other than their parents or teachers.
“She’s really into making sure the kids respect where we live, and be respectful for what soldiers are doing for us,” Flading said. “With her not having children, this is her way of helping the kids and just making sure they’re a little bit patriotic. They all have the utmost respect for her. And I’m glad she makes them earn what they’re getting. That’s a pretty good treat.”
Decorating her house for Halloween is also a treat for Taylor, a 1985 graduate of South Cobb High, but that won’t start until after the neighborhood kids get on the school bus this morning.
“There’s lots of scary ghouls, and lighting, fog, and music,” she said. “When my nieces and nephews were coming to trick or treat, I thought I should do some decorations, so I made tombstones and wrote silly things on them. They thought it was great, so the next year I had to do more. Every year now, some new prop enters the arena.”
Zach Connolly, 15, who lives in the neighborhood and is a sophomore at North Cobb High School’s magnet program, said Taylor “always has one of the best houses for Halloween.”
And the civics questions she emailed — such as “What do we celebrate on July 4?,” “What was the Mayflower?” and “Who gave the Gettysburg Address?” — are no sweat, he said.
“Honestly, I think it’s really good for her to do this,” Zach said. “Most people just open the door and try to hurry it out. She’s trying to interact with kids and is being a lot friendlier.”
And just in case, Taylor does have gummy eyes on standby for kids who can’t say the pledge or correctly answer a question.
“You can’t be a Scrooge to kids on Halloween,” she said.