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?