The appeal of Halloween is easy to see. It revolves around one of the most magical themes of childhood: free candy. I had a slavish, almost pathological devotion to sweets growing up. It drove me insane, INSANE, to watch my sister parcel out her Halloween candy stash. She would eat one piece per day to make it last longer. Last longer??? What kind of craziness is that? Eating yourself into a sugar coma is what it’s all about.
My mother didn’t like the idea of dragging out the sugar-fest either. All she saw, though, were fillings and dental bills. So her bright idea for a couple of years was to make us eat all our candy within a 24-hour period. Anything left over was confiscated. I can’t describe the envy in my classmates eyes when I would open my lunchbox on November 1st to find it packed solid with candy (and a thermos of milk to make it nutritious!) “Oh yeah,” I would say with a toss of my hair, “my mom always gives me candy for lunch.”
I still have that crazy blood-lust for chocolate that starts up around Oct. 25 and goes strong through the New Year. I fondle our bowlful of Halloween candy on the entry hall table and I simply can’t resist arranging it in piles according to superiority.
In order from best to worst:
Peanut Butter M&Ms
Snickers are distracting, trying to be too many things at once. Baby Ruths are Snicker’s poor country cousins. Special Darks? What do you take me for? A European? And don’t even talk to me about those bottom feeders of the candy world: Tootsie Rolls, Bit O Honey and Double Bubble. Who buys those? Why don’t they just put a sign on their door that says, “I hate kids”?
Dads seem to be the ones who take the kids around the neighborhood on Halloween night. In my family I’m the one who goes from door-to-door. I am the hunter. I especially like taking toddlers. We go early when it’s still light out, meaning neighbor’s supplies are fresh. We might come across some cunning soul who eschews the Costco assortment for something more exotic: gummy eyeballs, Sugar Babies or perhaps even a Symphony bar (snack size? fun size? I’ll take either.)
Yes, costumes are fun. Jack-o-lanterns are a nice tradition. I like the Monster Mash as much as the next person. But let’s get real here; Halloween is nothing without sugar. Nothing.
(Oh, and the title? It’s the molecular formula of sucrose.)