And Happy Halloween. Halloween is a weird-ass holiday if you're asking me. It's like the ultimate in contradictions when raising a child. You drill things into your child's head (Not literally! Yes, I know it's Halloween, but cranial drilling of one's offspring is never acceptable.) to keep them safe. Things like the old "Don't take candy from strangers." Then, after the kids think that they're clear on the concept, along rolls Halloween and BAM! Confusion runs amok. Not only are they going to be taking candy from strangers on Halloween, they're going to be encouraged to do so. AND they don't even have to wait for the strangers to come to them! No, they can randomly go to people's homes, knock on their door and ASK them to give them candy! And the strangers comply!! OH, but wait! There's a catch! You must ask strangers for candy only if you are dressed up in some sort of scary-ish garb. That's it? That's the catch? Deal! And the merriment begins!
Now if you're a grown-up, or you play one on TV, or even if you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, it is your job to get candy for these small people that you do not know. My advice is simple: Don't screw it up. You must remember what it was like when you were a child and you went Trick-or-Treating and ended up with horrible candy at the end of the night. It's not pleasant. And as a child, you really feel like you were ripped off somehow by coming home with a bag full of crap. You need to remember that feeling and make sure that you don't continue to pass it around to the hopeful and unsuspecting youngsters who will trample your flowers instead of using the perfectly good walkway as they traipse to your door in search of sugary handouts.
Thus, here are several items that you need to avoid distributing to jovial children who have donned bedsheets for the evening.
- First up are the inexplicable Boston Baked Beans. These are not good. Why someone thought that they could make a candy that looks like and is named after a picnic side dish is beyond me. No one wants candy that is pretending to be a bean. Beans aren't all that fun.
- Next up are the Dum Dums. First of all, Dum Dums are way too small for any good use. Second, they never taste like the flavor that the wrapper says. And third, you almost always, for some reason, end up with the cream soda flavored Dum Dums or the pineapple flavored Dum Dums. Probably because the folks handing them out took out all of the good ones. If you're going to hand out lollipops, go with a Tootsie Roll Pop. You can't go wrong with those
- Necco Wafers. From what I can tell, Necco Wafers are Tums antacid tablets that have been flattened out and dusted with sugar. They do not taste good. Contrary to what the waxy wrapper says down there, they are not "an American Classic" and the "flavors" are not "great." And of course they're "fat free". They're made out of chalk, what do you expect? Avoid these at all costs.
- The general assortment of hard candies. As a rule, if it is a candy that is typically found in a grandmother's purse, you really want to avoid handing those out on Halloween. Especially the butterscotch ones. Children do not like butterscotch. Adults do not like butterscotch. Those elderly women with the candies in their purses? Right, even they don't like butterscotch, that's why they're always giving them away.
- One of the more perplexing candies out there, the Idaho Spud. This is a candy that I guess is supposed to look like an Idaho potato. The thing is, it doesn't really look like that. It looks more like....well, um....OK, fine I'll say it, the thing looks like poo! And no one wants poo on Halloween. Ever. Hand out Necco Wafers before you hand out poo-like treats.
- Now we arrive at the Tootsie Roll. If you must give out Tootsie Rolls, give out a bunch of them to each kid. Those of you who give A Tootsie Roll to A kid are just angry, angry individuals who should probably seek counseling. You'll feel much better about things if you toss a handful of Tootsie Rolls into a kid's bag and watch them shriek with joy (until they realize they were just Tootsie Rolls). It's a lot better than watching them stare at you as you drop A Tootsie roll into their bag. Much better.
- Another candy that is not for children and is barely for adults is the Big Hunk. Big Hunk of what has always been my question. This thing is disgusting. It's like some sort of conglomeration of leftovers from another candy making process. Look at it! No one wants that.
- You want to see how close you can get a kid to crying on Halloween? Hand out raisins. What a waste of a walk from the sidewalk to the front door only to be given a very tiny box of raisins which you will not eat. You will use them as ammunition for torturing siblings. You will also use them as a counting aid when trying to figure out how many of them will fit up the dog's nose. You will not eat them.
- Finally, we arrive at the "feel good" treats. Oh, but they're not making the kids "feel good". No, they're making the smug, sanctimonious treat giver "feel good". Those kind of people like to be "practical" on Halloween. (Liking to be "practical" also seems to equate to "liking removing rolls and rolls of toilet paper from the front yard foliage the next morning." Go figure.) There is no place for anything "practical" when a bunch of people under four feet tall and running around the neighborhood, anticipating free candy AND getting it. Nothing practical about that and that's how it should be. Thus, no pencils, erasers, or any other type of school supply. If that was what the kids were after, they just would have gone over to Office Max and knocked on their door.
- The only folks who are allowed to hand out dental floss, toothbrushes or toothpaste are dentists and other professional individuals who do business inside of the mouth (preferably those with degrees and licenses, not hanging out on street corners under neon blinking lights that say "Massage"). But even then, they can only hand out those things at their office! At their home, they're not a dentist, they're a candy guy. So keep your floss to yourself and fork over the Snickers.
See? It's very simple. Avoid the stuff on this list, hand out stuff that kids want, and you'll be fine. Most importantly, whatever you do, just have a good time and just have good candy.