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Candyland is a real place, and it starts on top of my fridge

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The chocolate in most mass-produced candy bars is as waxy and luscious as any pillar or stick at a mall candle store.

Candy corn tastes nothing like corn and it’s debatable whether it is worth bothering with calling itcandy.

Jaw breakers, lollipops, and gumballs are choking hazards.

Sweet tarts, Sprees, and Smarties are little disks of processed cringe, perfect for when you want to experience the feeling of your throat puckering.

And classic Tootsie Rolls? Reminiscent of cough medicine, cat poo, and cement.

I love them all.

Halloween is looming and with it parents find themselves ranting about all the candy that will be in the house. Some kids harvest quite a bit and we are no exception. In fact, with several kids of trick-or-treating age I anticipate at least a dozen pounds of pure evil perched on top of our refrigerator. I like seeing it there, knowing that at any time I can be the proverbial kid in the candy store. I smile when I find an empty candy wrapper in my pocket.

Candy is not evil in ounce form. A piece will not steal the rosy blush from your child’s cheek, nor will a bite cause all his teeth to shatter in unison. A crunch of a Crunch bar will not make them forget yesterday’s math lesson or how to eat a carrot.

I fully admit that when I hear of parents banning sweets and candies from their households, my eyes roll back in my head pretty far. Far enough to see that memory of me sitting at the kitchen table in a homemade Raggedy Ann costume, eating a chocolate bar right before bed on Halloween night. Life was good. I just had a delirious night of walking block after block, fixing my wig made with an old shower cap and red yarn pompoms. The neighbors were kind and enthusiastic. The joy was genuine. The candy was an undeniable treat, a wonder of the universe. It was mine!

Try that with a celery stick.

Life deserves to be celebrated without sourpuss notions that everything not grown in Farmer McRighteous’ manure-laden fields will kill you faster than you can say, “Delicious!”

I am all for steamed green beans and white meat free-range chicken. Bring on the whole grain breads and yogurts bursting with pious bacteria. I’ll fill my children’s tummies to the brim with the good stuff 95% of the time.

But I will not give Halloween candy more importance, mystery, or gravity than it deserves. It isn’t tobacco, alcohol, drugs, firearms, or porn. It is sugar mixed in interesting and legal ways, wrapped in cellophane, dropped in a pillowcase or plastic jack-o-lantern bucket.

Now, go brush your teeth.

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Comments
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  • comment avatar Minnesotamom October 16, 2008

    My latest addiction…100 Grands. Oh boy oh boy! But none of those sweet Halloween-y treats can beat fresh cookies, in my book. Anja seems to have inherited her mama’s sweet tooth. Thankfully right now I can monitor how much she gets or she’d probably be like me, sneaking wrappers into various garbage cans throughout the house so Husband doesn’t see how much I’ve eaten…

  • comment avatar Melissa D October 16, 2008

    In our old neighborhood, I used to have to buy 8-10 bags of candy for Halloween.. it was trick or treating mania. Since we moved a few years back, we only have 2 kids that come (the next door neighbor’s grand kids). DH decided that he was going to give them the monstrous Hershey bars.. he can’t wait to see their eyes pop out of their heads!

    I’m a Snickers kinda gal myself. Grandma got me hooked on eating them frozen when I was a wee lassy. MMmmm.

  • comment avatar Amber Johnson October 16, 2008

    I am a firm believer that candy in moderation is a good thing. I know too many kids whose parents deny them and they go absolutely CRAZY now whenever they’re around it.

    Your reference to waxy chocolate got me thinking. When I was on a mission in Switzerland indulging in Swiss chocolate, my mom sent me a care package with a Mars bar. I thought I was going to throw up eating it. Just call me a chocolate snob. 🙂

  • comment avatar Lori October 16, 2008

    Can I come over to your fridge?

    I guess I’d better get to the candy store. Maybe the okra I’d planned on giving out to the kiddies isn’t such a great idea.

  • comment avatar Joanne October 16, 2008

    Excellent post! This mama agrees wholeheartedly with you. Without exception, every child whose parent denies them the occasional piece of candy, is the same one who is obsessed with the stuff. Ok, quite possilby there is an exception, but I’ve seen oo many kids sneak candy, steal it, or however they could get their hands on it just for lack of having the occasional bit of sugar.

    http://www.live4truth13.blogspot.com/

  • comment avatar edj (www.planetnomad.wordpress.com) October 16, 2008

    I totally agree. All things in moderation.

    But I’m with Amber. Give me European chocolate any day! My kids are multi-cultural and equally happy with either 🙂

  • comment avatar Melissa D October 16, 2008

    Amber.. I am SO with you. Swiss chocolate does indeed rock.

    Lori.. you don’t want to be “that house” .. please rethink the okra for the sake of your reputation. ;o)

  • comment avatar Heth October 16, 2008

    Gretchen, this post confirms what I already knew.

    I love you.

    Bring on the candy stash, kids!

  • comment avatar Joanne October 16, 2008

    I commented on this earlier this morning, but now I don’t see it. Just gotta say, I completely agree (I’ll skip everything else I rambled on about)

    http://www.live4truth13.blogspot.com/

  • comment avatar Anonymouse October 16, 2008

    Oh my goodness. Thanks for this post. I get so tired of hearing about how juice is the devil because it has sugar. I don’t know when my friends balance and perspective flew out the window, but I’m going with them!

  • comment avatar Kagey October 16, 2008

    My only headache around halloween is my peanut-allergic 4 yr old. I will go through his bucket as soon as he returns home, and stuff all the snickers, paydays, reese’s, etc into our give-away bowl and try to get rid of it before the evening is over. And any of those chocolate coins or otherwise unlabeled goodies have got to go, too, since many cheaper chocolates are stretched by adding peanut butter.
    So he ends up with lots of dumdums, tootie rolls, and Dots. And i go buy expensive peanut-free chocolates for him to have a treat once in a while.

  • comment avatar Jamie (ohbecareful.com) October 16, 2008

    Preach on, sister! 🙂 My sweet tooth says, “AMEN!” and the Dove wrapper on the desk is evidence of my wholehearted approval of a little indulgence now and then.

  • comment avatar Inkling October 17, 2008

    When I was a teenager my uncle and I were purchasing some treats at a little podunk store, and there was a sign over the candy: “Candy is delicious food, eat some every day.” The wisdom of those words sank deep into my heart and I have since tried to follow that poignant advice whenever it sings out in my head. Candy corn is the food of the gods. Ye angels, nibble on.

  • comment avatar Beth - total mom haircut October 17, 2008

    Absolutely. I am pretty disgusted with the move toward ridding Halloween of candy and treats. It’s HALLOWEEN, people! I mean, c’mon. It’s once a year. Let the kids dress up and have the parade at school and let them eat their chocolate for goodness sake.

  • comment avatar nutmeg October 20, 2008

    “Try that with a celery stick.”

    You are so GOOD!