Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Making enemies without really trying: A Guide to Halloween Candy
Once upon a time I was a kid who really really loved Halloween, possibly more than Christmas. Essentially, its the only day of the year you get to knock on someone's door, let alone a whole neighborhood's worth of doors, while dressed up like a werewolf and expect,no demand, they give you something for your effort in interrupting their dinner or viewing of American Idol. As we get older we reevaluate our willingness to do the things we'd otherwise dive head first into as younger versions of our older selves. I myself have thought about whether I'd spend an afternoon and on into the late evening methodically knocking on every door in the 89110 zip code of less than fabulous East Las Vegas all in the name of going home with a pillow case filled with the stuff that ensured my dentist would remain gainfully employed through my teenage years. And sadly, I have to say that the notion of doing all that walking for a bag of Smarties and the red headed step child of all Halloween candy, the orange or black "peanut butter" flavored candy, the true calling card candy of the tight wad, really just doesn't make sense to me anymore. Candy is to kids as prunes and fiber and the Price is Right is to the elderly. Very demographically oriented, which makes total sense. To that end, in anticipation of your Halloween candy purchases, I'd like to assist you in ensuring you make the right decision.
1. Chocolate: Nothing says big spender like a sports car in the drive way and a bowl full of chocolate of varying brands. On the occasion I'd stumble across a house where they were giving out full candy bars. It's amazing what a fifty cent candy bar means to a little kid, and I always assumed these types of people were loaded. The thought of changing costumes to return for multiple bars always crossed my mind. Remember: Chocolate is a win win. Unless its the retarded younger sister of chocolate which goes by the name of....
2. Tootsie (anything, roll, pop, etc..)
Another preferred tightwad staple, these candies tell the sugar to step aside and take the heavy lifting of dental destruction on as a labour of love as they rip out your fillings while confusing your tongue with what initially tastes like chocolate, only a much lesser version. Chocolate is Van Halen with David Lee Roth. Tootsie Rolls are Van Halen with Sammy Hagar or that guy that sang for Extreme.
I know at some point in the early 80's the candy companies spread an urban legend that people were sticking razor blades in apples. Needless to say, no one gave our fruit or let their friends take it. The average kid is going to wait till you close your door and do something ornery with the fruit, unless its me and the fruit in question is a pomegranate and then I'd do nothing but savour it as pomegranates are both expensive and delicious. But most kids are taking that apple and tossing it in your yard, at your dog, or stuffing it in your mailbox. Skip the fruit.
4. Orange and Black Peanut Butter Candies
Giving these to kids is the equivalent of paying them minimum wage for their trick or treating efforts. It's quite possibly the closest you can come to a candy equivalent of $4.25 an hour. I worked for $4.25 an hour, and it felt a lot like what I experienced when I'd dump out my candy at the end of a long evening of intense trick or treating only to find 2 pounds of these sons-a-bitches hiding at the bottom of my sack. My mom always brings up the kids in Africa and how they'd eat anything. They might pass on these as they try to proximate the flavor of peanut butter, with the texture of wet concrete.
5. Leaving a bowl of candy on the porch with a "take one" sign next to it.
Are you serious? This happened to me plenty of times and I'd like to say I did the good Samaritan thing which is to take a single pack of "Bottlecaps", then leave the rest on the doorstep. Kids are by nature, not thoughtful. And I certainly wasn't either, so I'd lift the bowl to my pillowcase and I'd proceed to dump the entire contents of the bowl in. The entire premise aims to take kids on their honor, and if the entire night is built on getting yours while dressed like a ninja, well then, I just did what I was supposed to do.
So that's a rough look at the candy spectrum, from crap to quality. There's some perennial favorites (Nerds! Pop Rocks, Blow Pop's) and others that somehow fought the good fight and managed to find their way into my pillowcase year after year (Smarties, Dum Dum's, Brachs Butterscotch candies, the preferred candy of eighty year old men). I'd like to thank all of those who have given and given well when it comes to your candy of choice. It's the chocolate that makes the blisters and blindly knocking on your neighbors door dressed as a 4 foot Frankenstein worth the effort. And for those about to trick or treat, I salute you.