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We spoke with the Milwaukee woman who went viral for giving kids potatoes for Halloween

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The pinnacle of every trick-or-treater's journey is finding the house with full-sized candy bars. But what happens when sugar-crazed kids get a second, more starchy option?

Sarah Ross decided to offer the rare "trick" option by placing a whole potato in her bowl of candy.

Then she took it one step further, documenting the entire evening of interactions on her personal Facebook page, resulting in a viral post garnering more than 30,000 shares so far.

Ross was running late for the start of the Saveland Park neighborhood trick-or-treat event Oct. 29, so she made a last-second decision to pick up a 10-pound bag of russets from the grocery store.

"It was less about a thought experiment and more like, 'Oh man, I don’t have decorations, I’m showing up late, I have to do something funny," she told Radio Milwaukee.

In a large bowl that ran the gamut of full-sized candy — Hershey's, Reese's, Heath, Hershey's Cookies and Cream — plus pencils and other goodies, Ross put one whole potato on top of the pile to see how kids would react.

"At first, kids would come up, and a lot of them didn’t even notice the potato," she said. "I decided I was not going to press the potato on any kids. They could pick whatever they wanted. I wasn’t going to point out the potato in the room."

But one group of teens set off the sirens for the spud spot on Milwaukee's South Side.

"They were running down the street yelling 'potato gang!' Ross said. "It turned into a snowball effect because there were kids yelling at each other across the street."

Ross, a quality engineer at Rockwell Automation, made clear that kids were free to take as much from the bowl as they wanted, candy included. "There were a lot of cases where a kid took a potato and didn’t take anything else."

By the end of the night, Ross had given away 46 potatoes, including several from her personal pantry.

Ross's friend Dustin asked permission to share the hilarity of her Facebook comment memoir, and she happily obliged. "I’m just glad it’s gotten a positive response. Most of the comments have been really heartwarming," she said. "Worst-case scenario is I would end up freezing or donating some potatoes."

As for next year, Ross already has plans to switch up the giveaway, though she expects to have potatoes on hand in case the notoriety continues.

"If everyone else is doing it, the novelty may wear off," she explained. "I might do something else as well. I’m already brainstorming."


Digital Marketing Manager | Radio Milwaukee