Well, the XML::Twig object is an old fashion hashref, and I have no plan to change this, so you can always add your own fields to it. Or use a "hidden" attribute (one which names starts with '#') to attach private data to any element, including the root.
A closure is the cleanest way to go though. It's not a trick, it's just a common idiom.
BTW, a google search on "XML::Twig passing data to handlers" (or using "arguments" instead of data) returns plenty of answers to that question.
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