The Science of Halloween Candy

TomummyHalloween has changed a lot since I was running the neighborhood with eye holes cut out of a sheet with my brother dressed as a hobo. (Modern translation of hobo: a more delicate and antiquated word for homeless person). Now it’s a major production on both sides of the door, so it’s important to know key candy distribution guidelines. Pay attention, kids, this can be the difference between a bag of worthless suckers and a full-sized Hershey bar wrapped with a $5 bill.

Here’s how it works now. Little bitty kids who show up before it’s even dusk get fussed over because they’re beyond adorable in a costume that mom spent a month making or a month’s salary buying. They get one or two pieces of the good candy – name brand chocolate. Mom needs some kind of payback for her efforts, because, let’s face it, that’s who will eat that candy. For that matter, consider just handing her one of those single serving size bottles of cheap red wine.

As soon as it gets dark, look for elementary and middle school kids. They’re more interested in quantity than quality. Feel free to mix in filler candy like Jolly Ranchers, candy corn and those weird circus peanut things (what are those things other than nasty?) along with several pieces of good candy. Remember, unless a mom finds this, this candy will likely live under a bed until spring.

Later in the evening, the older kids come out. You’ve got a 50/50 chance that they didn’t even bother to put on a costume. My policy is no costume = no candy. I tend to vote Republican, so there’s no free candy handout at my house. Earn your candy. You can get a cat ear headband at the dollar store. Otherwise, you better come prepared to entertain me. For what candy costs these days, I want some payback. Sing, tell a good joke. A two-minute rehearsed monologue from a recognizable playwright and I’ll empty the rest of my candy bowl into your pillowcase and throw in a $5 bill.

At the end of the night, if my porch light is off, I’m tired of opening my door and I’m planning to enjoy the last three KitKat bars I held back with red wine at a price point that doesn’t befit handing out for free to young mothers. So stay safe and don’t take candy from strangers.

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