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C(12) H(22) O(11)

By Hildie Westenhaver

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


Kit Kat


Peanut M&Ms

Junior Mints

Plain M&Ms

3 Musketeers

 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.)

About Hildie Westenhaver

(Blog Team) was born and raised in Detroit, but is happy to call Austin, TX home now. She majored in Art History and Geography at BYU and graduated a week before having her first baby. There have been five more babies since then. Hildie is an avid baker and tries to fatten up the people she loves.

25 thoughts on “C(12) H(22) O(11)”

  1. Love this! Snickers and Special Darks are my faves. Shall we have a candy swap November 1?

    Except for those years when I declare myself sugar free, I'm all for the sugar coma, too.

    I thought sucrose was C(6) H(12) O(6). 🙂

  2. "bottom feeders of the candy world," too funny!

    C12H22O12 is the molecular formula. C6H11O6 is the empirical formula (the simplest whole numbers non-reducible ratio formula for a molecular formula). Expertise: chemist and candy-lover.

  3. You are witty and fabulous!! (and what is up with Alecia's comment?? Reading her comment made my brain hurt! Now I have to go eat some Peanut Butter M&M's….my molecular formula for happiness!)

  4. Don't forget the other bottom feeders: smarties and dum dum suckers.. . it's like just because you love sugar they think you have no standards!

    My mom used to take all the candy from her 7 kids, put it in a big communal pot and dole it out at a disappointingly slow rate. My dad used to take out all the candy bars to take to lunch leaving us with all the bottom-feeder candy. . . enfuriating. . . it still brings tears to my eyes.

  5. I actually like Tootsie Rollsand Bit O' Honey. But I hate Smarties, bubble gum, dum dums, and pretty much all hard candy.

    My all-time favorite Halloween candy is Candy Corn. The best part is, my kids don't like it, so I get it all to my self! I also love Salt Water Taffy and usually pass that out.

    Other than that, I'm all for chocolate!

  6. Chemists!? You ladies are too smart for me. Our house is a 24 hour candy fest. 7 p.m. tonight until 7 p.m. tomorrow night. They don't have to ask, they can eat it for breakfast. They can shovel as much as they want into their little bodies. And at 7 p.m. tomorrow night, whatever is left goes in the trash. We've done it for about 5 years, and it works great for our house. (and my thighs, who for some reason don't like me nibbling on candy for the next 3 months straight).

  7. I love this post! You are strong!!

    I have no kids left at home and even though we will be passing out candy tonight I feel a need to confess here. I on purpose bought some amazing dark chocolate bars just for myself to nibble on and I am leaving the other stuff for my husband. (He doesn't know this, though.) I am hoping that I can get a little bit better control on the holiday binging by "treating" myself. Ha, ha! We'll see how that goes.

  8. The fact that I am actually laughing out loud says that this post hits too close to home. One the rare occasions we were allowed to go Trick or Treating, my mom (ever the health nut)would actually — wait for it — throw the candy out!!! I learned very quickly to "eat as I go"

  9. I am so over the Costco assortment. Where is the originality? Don't you know that everyone else got the same thing?

    Have some creativity! Otherwise, you might as well buy a bag and have everyone sit at home. Halloween is about the free exchange of all types of candy!

    My parent's neighborhood has a tiered system. Know you? Know your kids? You get the good stuff–homemade caramel popcorn, the good candy–sometimes even full size. Don't know you? Never seen you before? You're getting the Tootsie Roll assortment.

  10. Haha, I related to this post- loved it. (Though you're wrong about Bit-O-Honey. Oh Wait. You're right. I like it now, but didn't then). So glad my mom let us keep all our candy (mine usually lasted about 3 days, with the best being gone the first day, the in-betweeners the next, and the bottom-dwellers being eaten last, mostly of desperation for a sugar-fix.

  11. Oh. And while we were allowed all our candy, Trick-or-treating was OVER for us at age 12, since my mom said trick-or-treating is for kids. Luckily by then I was resourceful enough to buy my own candy stashes–still, though. Such a broad assortment of candy is only possible through trick-or-treating.

    (Those who have not seen Seinfeld's (clean) "get more candy" skit should look it up on YouTube–it's a very good compliment to this post).

    Here. I found a link of two boys lip-syncing it for you:

  12. Hello?



    I have the enviable position of being mother to a preschooler who doesn't eat candy, and a sixth grader who doesn't like chocolate. Do you know what this means? I get to carry along a bag "for Thomas," and when we get home, I give sixth-grader all the non-chocolate stuff in exchange for his chocolate. Which means I end up with an impressive mound.


    Here's my question: Why do I love eating Halloween candy so much? I mean, I could buy any candy I wanted, any day of the year.

    Maybe because I don't have to deal with the shame of buying myself large amounts of candy. I buy it for *other people*, and then we trade. Very nice.

  13. Kathy S–one almond is an insult, not a candy bar! If they were to cover the entire thing with almonds, then we could talk.

    Reese's–I like the mini peanut butter cups. The chocolate-to-peanut butter ratio is much better than the big round ones.

  14. you are a kindred spirit Jennie! though I confess I used halloween as an opportunity to finally meet the neighbors when we lived in VT. That's the only day of the year when you can legitimately walk up to someone's door and have a conversation without any problems. But really, it was all about the chocolate.

    My mom always made us give up half our candy to the mentally retarded kids at the local mental hospital. at least that's where she TOLD us it was going. I never actually saw her take it there, and for all I know she ate it all herself. So I felt no guilt racing from door to door (I preferred to operate alone for this very reason…trick-or-treating was no time for social etiquette) to amass as much as I could possibly acquire on that one most glorious night of the year.

    And Carina, I want to meet you and your neighbors and come trick or treating in YOUR neighborhood!

  15. Carina, that Costco assortment has saved my life. I can happily plunk down my 12.99 and not have to put nary a thought into it again.

    Plus, you can sneak candy out of it for a whole month ahead of time, and it still looks full! (small holes hide well in those monstrous bags.)

  16. I. love. this.

    Favorite Candy bar? Other than an IV filled with milk chocolate inserted to my vein? Let's see…I'm super in love with the Milka bar they sell here (especially with hazelnuts). I can't have a bag of 'Bounty' bars in the house without eating one after the other after the other (they're an almond joy with no almond and with European chocolate and no corn syrup..yummy).

    But this year, the only thing Halloween is doing for me is making me tired. Very very tired.

  17. maralise– was it really nice to rub in that you live in chocolate heaven? Yes, I want my children to see the wonders of Europe, but it's really about the chocolate.

    love, love, love this post Jennie!

  18. Ha. ha. ha. If it makes you feel any better Michelle…I've gained at least 10 pounds since moving here (and so has every other non-Austrian I know). So I guess there is justice. 😉

    And also, the ultimate lame gift: toothbrushes. Even from dentists. That's just wrong.

  19. Yeah, that was totally my dad (the dentist) with the toothbrushes. Until us kids finally convinced him that it was totally uncool. Then it was a year or two of cheap candy — smarties and worse: those peanut butter taffy things. When the leftovers weren't finished off after being in the pantry for a year, he finally gave in and started giving out chocolate.

  20. I am the mom who keeps sending my kids back out, "Are you kidding me?, that pillowcase isn't even half full! Get back out there and score!"

    I agree reeses's minis are my favs. I haven't tried the peanut butter m&m's though, I'm going to have to head back to the pillowcases…My kids can gorge for a week and then it's all gone. No questions asked, it's part of the fun.


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