Thursday Oct 15 2009
Halloween best time of the year for candy junkies
By: Tony Overbay, Special to The News Messenger
With Halloween just around the corner, I thought it might be wise to address a topic that I am very, very passionate about. Candy. As a father of four, I don’t want to be accused of driving my home value down any more than it already is. I stand to bring in quite a haul on Halloween night. And Big Tony is sure to get a piece of the pie. Thankfully this year, Halloween falls on a Saturday (Oct. 31). To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me if it falls on a school night, I’m going to wet my beak or get a taste of the action before the kids go to bed, regardless. Not having to pull them out of a candy hangover at 7 a.m. on a weekday is a bonus. As a veteran of more than a decade sending out my candy minions to do my dirty work, I have developed a sorting system that I’m happy to share with you. First, all candy undergoes a standard safety inspection. I’m sure we’ve all heard horror stories of razor blades and the like being inserted into Nestle Crunch bars as well as Kit Kat’s and Snickers. And if you haven’t, well, now you have and you can thank me later from your chocolate-induced coma. I remove these “A-list” candies immediately from the kid’s bags and put them into a large Ziploc labeled “Dad,” which I tell them is a trash bag. Trust me, these will definitely be disposed of. Next we run a series of tests on the remaining candies. Tootsie Rolls are bent and squeezed to check for freshness and a Butterfinger or two is sacrificed right on the spot to check consistency, or more specifically, if these were left over from last year. If the kids get home early enough, these go into the bowl to hand out to the neighborhood kids along with the black and orange colored taffy. I have a theory that those were made back in the ‘50s and we’re still working off of that initial batch. If we’re too late to hand them back out, they get put into the “eat only when desperate” bag. You then put your Hershey’s Chocolate, M&M’s, Skittles, Nerds, Runts and Laffy Taffy into a “B-list” pile. These will be in the immediate rotation, meaning they’ll be snacked upon throughout the day in small-enough doses that the calories will never really “stick.” Yes, this is another one of my theories. M&M’s used to be put in the “Dad” bag but I took exception with them, or more specifically, the packaging. I, for one, don’t find much “Fun” in a “Fun Size” bag that contains seven peanut M&M’s. It takes me about five or six “Fun Size” bags to even start remotely having fun and, by that time, I have a pretty “Pathetic Size” pile of wrappers sitting in front of me. Finally, we divide up the “C-listers” such as the Bottle Caps, Milk Duds, Dots and Smarties amongst the kids. I’ll let them keep the Milky Way’s and Three Musketeers as well as the Hershey’s Kisses, just so they look like they made out all right. Let me be perfectly clear, the contents of your piles may vary. I once met a girl who loved the Root Beer Bottle Caps and would have clearly put them on the “A-list.” She was wrong but entitled to her opinion, nonetheless. When the kids were little, they tired easily and often didn’t earn their keep. To compensate, I learned the fine art of turning off the porch light to preserve what was left in our own candy bowl. But with age and a slowing metabolism, my wife no longer wants any part of the Halloween haul so she started buying the yucky candy to hand out so that she wouldn’t be tempted. If you’re looking for quantity over quality, hit my house up right before bedtime and I’ll empty the remainder of the bowl in your pillowcase for an even half-hearted “Trick or Treat!” Inevitably, though, too much of a good thing can indeed get old. We’ll hit the candy buffet hard for the first few days and, eventually, the thrill of the haul is gone. The Kit Kat’s lose a bit of their bite, the Snickers don’t quite satisfy and the Crunch bars aren’t so crunchy. Not to worry, though, the kid’s candy bags quickly disappear only to find their contents magically lining the bottom of their Christmas stockings, my minions, I mean my kids, none the wiser. Tony Overbay is a humor writer, a 16-year-Lincoln resident and father of four. You can find more of his writings at tonyoverbay.com.