Well, hello there, princess/angel/butterfly costume. So we meet again.
Just let my mom dust you off and put you on my plump little body. We’re going paradin’ tonight!
Ah, Halloween. My favorite holiday after my birthday and Christmas because of, well, the candy. There is nothing cooler than putting on a ridiculous outfit and ringing people’s doorbells to get free candy. You just yell “trick or treat” and you’re in, you’re out, you’re done. It sure beats hovering around a co-worker’s desk, trying desperately to make small talk while you attempt in vain to stealthly liberate a few handfuls of M&Ms from the candy jar on her desk. Although the ridiculous outfit you have to wear now is called “business casual”.
All Hallows Eve was a free-for-all, running from door to door, screaming in the streets, and meeting up with friends to discuss who gave out the best candy (especially the full-sized candy bars! JACKPOT!) Older siblings had to keep an eye on their sugared-up younger siblings (apologies to my brother), but it was always worth it because the payoff was, excuse my pun, sweet. That big bag of confections held such promise. You were sad when you were called back home, but the night wasn’t over by a long shot.
As soon as you dumped out your parcel of loot on the table, the game had begun. It was a veritable “Where’s Waldo?” to pinch the palatable and discard the disgusting in a lightning-fast game of wits. I would always be filled to the brim with glee whenever I would get one my top five favorite chocolate bars. My brother and I would trade candy, eat a few pieces, and be off to bed, hoping we wouldn’t soon be visited by the Cavity Fairy.
However, there were always a few little baddies lurking in the midst of my delicious little treasure trove. They would sit there, silently mocking me, knowing that I couldn’t so much as put them in my mouth without sending my pre-pubescent tastebuds into a Hulk-like rage. Why? Why are there such candies that are allowed to be made? All candy should be delicious. These were just tacky, chalky wannabes and I was having none of it.
Horrible Halloween candy is just as rampant nowadays as it was when I was a kid (and, as I suspect, was just as bad in a lot of other people’s childhoods, too). Whoever had the gall to create such monstrosities should be tarred and feathered (or better yet: covered in molten peanut butter taffy and rolled in powdered Smarties). Just the thought of putting one of those nasty sweets in my mouth is enough to give me a case of “Atomic Warhead” face.
Let me explain: while I was eternally happy that I was able to get a crapload of candy for no effort at all on my part, I never understood why adults would insist on filling their candy bowls with the likes of peanut butter taffy, Smarties, or (I shudder to think) candy corn. Even worse, what the hell was a POPCORN BALL doing in my loot bag?? And to the lady a few houses down the road: since when do you equate trick-or-treating with a red delicious apple? I don’t want that anywhere near my gaping maw unless it’s smothered in caramel and on a stick.
For the most part, I made out like a fat (very fat) rat on Halloween, but it never ceased to amaze me how much of my valuable candy bag space was taken up by these fakers, these sugary wolves in sheep’s clothing. I couldn’t just throw out the candy I hated. That would be wasteful, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned from our mothers is that it’s a sin to waste food. Even the vomit-inducing, chalky-textured, horribly-flavored food.
I was lucky in the sense that my mother loved (and to this day, I have no idea why) those nasty, orange-and-black wax paper wrapped peanut butter taffies and Good n Plenty. My dad was strictly a chocolate guy, with the occasional affinity for a Tootsie Roll Pop. He happily took my Almond Joys and Mounds Bars off my hands, as coconut was a textural abyss for my baby-tooth-filled mouth. My mother’s smile got wider as her pile of candy got bigger, and I was all too happy to sacrifice some of my loot for the sake of being rid of those awful little food-devils.
I would go to bed suspicious that a goblin would take my candy away from me in the middle of the night, when in fact, I think my parents were taking a little dip here and there. I don’t blame them; if I ever have kids, you can bet that I’m going to snatch up some of my favorite candy from their bags when they’re passed out in their own respective sugar comas.
In hindsight, the majority of my Halloween adventures had me stuffed to the gills with my delicious plunder for several days afterward, and I never really thought of horrible Halloween candy until the next year came around and the fires of my rage were stoked once more. If anything, it’s taught me the true value of a fun-sized bar and its impact on hundreds of children’s lives for years to come.
But you’ll never catch me handing out full-sized candy bars. Those kids will never leave me alone.