Halloween Treats

The good, the bad, and the ugly
September 22, 2008
It's that time of the year again, leaves begin to fall and there is a chill in the air. Fall is dancing around us, which means hayrides, sloshing through leaves, and pumpkin carving is surely on its way. Although these activities are more than fun, Fall brings about something else...something a little more special. That's right, Halloween has made its way around the calendar again, to jump around the corner and scare up some fun. Halloween has become the only time of the year, where it is acceptable for kids to take candy from strangers...and we always did...well the strangers my parents approved of anyway.

As stores have stocked their shelves high, frantic candy givers grab bags of treats for the excited spooks that will surely fill the streets on that long awaited October night. As a kid, I always looked forward to running home and checking the goods I had collected that night. It always seemed like I categorized my treats in three distinct categories...The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Even though my tastes have matured, let's explore my childhood candy pail for ol' times sake.

.::THE GOOD::.

As I dug through my plastic pumpkin pail, it was custom to grab my favorites first. The variety wasn't as extreme as it is today, but we had our assortment. It was always great to pull out a few Reese's peanut butter cups.

Even though the pumpkin shapes came a little later, Reese's peanut butter cups were always a treat, for there was no wrong way to eat them. If you were feeling crazy, you could even pop in a pair of vampire teeth and attempt to recreate the old Reese's commercial. Either way, they were a treat, just like they are today.

We all know that kids shouldn't smoke, but we can make an exception on Halloween, right? Well, the smokes I am talking about are candy cigarettes! It was always exciting to get a pack or two of these sugar powder coated sticks, that looked nothing like cigarettes, but more like worn out chalk. None the less, candy cigarettes came in realistic looking packages, but have long since been remodeled. Now known as candy sticks, candy cigarettes were Halloween rarities that were never under appreciated.

Now here is a candy that seemed to only appear on special occasions. I am not sure why I only ate them around Halloween, it just ended up that way. It was always exciting to see that you had collected Whoppers as a Halloween treat, but when you got a little carton of Whoppers...it was a good night. To make things more exciting, it was always fun to act like you were eating chocolate coated bugs, as Whoppers always delivered a good crunch.

While Trick-or-Treating, you had to have some fuel. If you were like me, you didn't want to waste time unwrapping large candies, but reached for something quick and efficient. Insert bubble gum. There were many different varieties of bubble gum handed out on Halloween, but we will stick with a classic. The yellow and blue Dubble Bubble kept me going from Halloween night, way into the heart of November. Bubble gum is a must on Halloween, and while Dubble Bubble is one of the most familiar, veterans like Bazooka and Rain Blo still hold dear to my heart.

I don't think I could consider Halloween valid, until I rip open a few bags of M&Ms. From childhood, until now, M&Ms are a staple on our beloved spooky night. Although they do melt in your hand, just as fast as they melt in your mouth, M&Ms are a timeless classic that could put a smile on the scariest monster's face. With their candy coating and chocolate centers, M&Ms always deliver during the holidays, not to mention they have great commercials!

When summer is wrapping up, and the stores are receiving there first shipments of fall time goods, candy corn and autumn mix are always first to show up around here. Rightly so, they should be first, for these candies signal a change in season, and provide a great snack throughout the fall months. I can remember getting individual packs of candy corn while Trick-or-Treating, and was always excited to snack on these as the night came to a close. I believe it is time to fill the pumpkin dish on the kitchen table...

I suppose I could list a million other candies, but here are a few for honorable mention. Tootsie Rolls, spider rings, and bottle caps were a dime a dozen as a kid. Although they are all equally as good, these treats seemed to lurk about the bottom of the candy pail, but they are foundation treats...they serve the higher ups. These are the treats that were common at school parties, carnivals, and pre made Halloween treat bags. Every pail needs its foundation treats, these were mine.

.::THE BAD::.

Although there weren't as many bad treats given out, there were a few that sent shivers down my spine. I am talking about the treats that old ladies took pride in, and parents fully approved of.

Popcorn balls are just bad. When I saw one of these babies being tossed in my bag, that house got a permanent x put on it, for future Trick-or-Treating. I am not sure why I have such a hatred for popcorn balls...I just do. While they may be festive, popcorn balls are not candy, and they never will be. It was a common trend among older people to hand these things out. Most likely, it helped them to feel better about the treat giving process...I call it an old fashioned rip off.

Healthy, low fat, and anything that states "good source of" has no place in a candy pail. Ok, ok, fruit snacks are fully acceptable, but pretzels are not! These wholesome snacks, although enjoyable now, were not appreciated back in the childhood days. Perhaps the awesome bag they come in gives them a little credit, but past that, they had little to no appeal to them. I felt as if I was giving in when I opened a bag of pretzels on Halloween; and there is definitely no room for the weak on Halloween...only the strong and sugar bound survive!

Oh boy, the dreaded "black and orange things". That is what my sister and I came to know them as. Every year it was guaranteed that I would get a handful of these things. Better known as Mary Janes, black and orange things were simply peanut butter candy that stuck to your teeth and mouth alike. Even though I hated these things, my dad would begin to light up as we shoved our discard pile toward his way. He loved Mary Janes, and I never understood why. As I have grown up, I can admit that they are ok, I just hope I never turn into that old man who hands these things out on Halloween.

.::THE UGLY::.

Now, let me explain the category of ugly. These were the candies that weren't necessarily hated, they just had certain quirks that made them less appealing. Sure enough, I would gobble these candies up, they were just not in the first string line.

Dentists have to love the Sugar Daddy. These cavity pulling, teeth sticking candies almost made me dread eating them, even though they tasted good. Milk Duds and Sugar Babies are not too far behind, it just seemed like the worst was the Daddy. These were common in my candy pail, and for the majority, I never finished them off. The Sugar Daddy keeps its reputation as one of the most feared and respected candies around. After all, he is the head of the household.

I truly do like Pixie Sticks, I really do. However, these powder tubes were so tasty, that I had a little problem of eating more then one at a time. Thus, creating a throat full of choking and hacking up the powders until I could breath again. So, does this qualify Pixie Sticks to be in the ugly category...? Probably not, but that's where I decided to put them, not for anything else other than there amazing choking abilities. It was always a treat to get pixie sticks on Halloween, even though they were a summer staple as well.

Now when it comes to hot stuff, I am definitely a Halloweenie. I can't handle anything hot or spicy, thus creating a dilemma when it came to Fire Balls. They had such a strong, good, cinnamon flavor...but they were too hot for me. I would be doing good if I could keep one in for over a minute, and after much debate, I would usually pop it in again. Fire Balls were simply fun to look at too, for they almost taunted you through their dangerous looking packages. Fire Balls always graced the candy pail, and usually gave it a good scent too!

There you have it, a few of my Halloween candy memories. If you feel cheated by my failure to mention other classic candies, cheer up, there is always the comments section for further discussion. While Twix, Junior Mints, and Hershey bars hold dear to my heart, it's just more fun to talk about Whoppers and Candy Corn!


Thanks to those I borrowed pictures from, you helped make this article possible!
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