Tag Archives: candy

Why Halloween Is Just Really Weird

It’s just about Halloween, that time of year when tricks and treats and spooks and scares dominate stores and social media. It’s a fun fall tradition—mostly if you’re a kid, of course—but have you ever really thought about how weird most of this stuff is?

Of course you haven’t, so I’m here to do it for you.


Haunted Houses

Let’s start here because the fact of the matter is that people are paying a minimum of $20 to wander through a darkened establishment in which aspiring actors dressed as creepy clowns and ghouls jump out and attempt to scare them. Any other time of year this would most likely result in attempted assault/harassment charges and a stint in a much scarier house—the big house.

But in October? Fun! Let’s pay strangers to freak us out! I don’t need to do that. You know what scares me in equal measure for no cost at all? The psychotic level of excitement parents have in eating their kids’ Halloween candy, Facebook notifications that I’m tagged in a picture, sneezing while driving, or losing the Internet for more than five minutes.

In other words, if I want candy, costumes and creepiness, I can go to WalMart and wander among the shoppers any day of the week.

Apple Bobbing

Let’s fill a giant basin with water, throw in fruit, tie peoples’ hands behind their backs, and shove their face into the water in an attempt to force them to grab the apples with only their teeth.

In other words, it’s waterboarding for fruit. Let’s move on.


I covered Halloween décor last year, but in October those cobwebs in your house normally considered something to be removed are now festive and fun. And while hanging a skeleton or ghost from a tree in August would put you on the Neighborhood Watch list, it’s now a sign that you’re a house that probably passes out candy come Oct. 31 instead of turning off the light and hiding behind the couch to ignore the doorbell (hypothetically speaking.)

That’s right. You can dress up as a sexy nurse and hand out candy to children and not wind up on “To Catch a Predator.” Just put a wreath on your door and leave your porch light on for the little beggars.

Corn Mazes

My internal GPS is MIA and I get lost in a walk-in closet. In other words, the idea of wandering through a maze of maize with strangers bumping into me while we all try and find our way out before desperately gnawing on a corn cob in desperation for our survival isn’t at the top of my list. I’ve done it before, and the only way I’ll pay money to do it again is if at the end I’m awarded with an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet and luxury spa.

Pumpkin Carving

The fact that they sell pre-cut apples and butternut squash, pre-hardboiled eggs, and “Uncrustables” at the store proves that people have become ridiculously lazy when it comes to prepping food.

However, when it comes to Halloween, people round up the troops and often trek through pumpkin patches—pumpkin spice latte in hand— to pick out a giant fruit they will festively disembowel over the span of several hours, bent scooping spoons, and broken carving knives.

They will then shove a candle inside and leave it neglected on the porch until it looks like a toothless meth addict before throwing it behind the fence for the squirrels to enjoy.

But with all that said, tradition is important and Halloween kicks of the holiday season—for better or worse with that whole statement—and gets you prepared to fist a bird carcass for Thanksgiving and hang old socks on the fireplace for Christmas (or whatever it is that you celebrate.)

For now, Happy Haunting!

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Trick-or-Tofu Treats

We’ve talked about the costumes, so let’s talk about the candy.

Although I’m a bit of a gum whore, I’ve made no secret to the fact that I’m not a “sweets” person. But to each their own, and if there is ever a time and a place for treats, it’s at Halloween. Candy is part of the tradition, and some traditions don’t need any updating or modification.


In other words, don’t try and make Halloween a healthy holiday.

I was lucky in that I lived in one of the “good” neighborhoods filled with houses of young children and eager parents ready to turn on the spooky sounds tape and serve as our sugar daddies/moms for the night. We would race from house to house in small gangs, maniacally ringing the doorbell and waiting for the owner to drop some sort of treat into our impatiently-thrust candy collection contraption—a plastic pumpkin, an empty pillowcase, etc.

When we got home, our bounty from the evening was strewn across the floor and open for inspection. Favorites were hoarded and hidden while the less-liked items were up on the trading block.

Always popular were the mini-candy bars of just about any type—the Snickers, Baby Ruth, Milky Way, Peanut Butter cups, that elusive Krakel that seemed so difficult to secure. I also liked the little boxes of Milk Duds even though there were only three in the whole damn box and they basically ripped your teeth out of your head.

When it came to trade bait, Smarties topped the list for me—little chalk disks wrapped in plastic, in my opinion—and candy corn was basically colored wax and quickly discarded. Things like jawbreakers, butterscotch disks, gumballs and mints were lost on us.


Flavored Tootsie Rolls should not exist.

But then there were some of the more “non-traditional” treats that found their way into our bags of pilfered goods. I remember getting coupons for a free French fry at Burger King, some plastic toys that were quickly tossed aside once identifiable as inedible, popcorn balls also quickly tossed aside once identifiable as inedible, coins and the occasional “healthy” offering.

Yes, once in awhile fruit (not in the form of a fruit roll-up,) crackers, baby carrots, boxes of raisins, etc. were offered.

Now you know I’m the first person to champion healthy alternatives to sugar-laden snacks, but to all of those well-meaning people out there—don’t try to health up Halloween.

With correct parental guidance, most children will consume these healthier items on a daily basis in their lunches or after school. And while it may seem like a practical offering, holidays — not to mention children — are not about being practical. They did not get dressed up and excited for you to dole out an apple.


Unless it’s covered in caramel and shoved on a stick, the apple just won’t fly.

So while I understand the epidemic of childhood obesity and agree that there is much that needs to be done, there needs to be tradition. Candy is part of the tradition, and if they eat too much of it, they may just learn a lesson about the dangers of too much sugar and moderation (that will inevitably be forgotten by the time Halloween rolls around once again.)

After all, it’s trick-or-treat—not trick-or-tofu treats—and we owe it to the younger generation to keep the traditional alive.

Plus, you can always eat the “leftovers.”

What was your favorite Halloween candy? Your least favorite? Are you one who dishes out fruit or fruit-flavored Blow-Pops?