Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Halloween Handouts 

Looking at the endless giganto bags of candy piled up in every convenience store for Halloween, I realized, these kids have it good.... I remember when getting one Snickers in a whole bag of candy was a score. I also just realized that my saying that has not only sprouted 10 extra gray hairs on my head, but has also created my second parental good-ol'-days statement, much like the "I used to walk 6 miles in the snow uphill both ways" of my parents' generation. My first one is, "I remember when I checked my e-mail on UNIX and there was no Internet Explorer," but I've been using that for years on my students. You should see their eyes widen..."U....nix?" If I'm really feeling sadistic, I explain that it means there were no pictures and no IM.

Anyway, I think we should do a Retro Halloween--no fancy-pants mini individualized Mars Bars. No glow-in-the-dark personal bags of Doritos. No Hershey's one-bite medley o' chocolate. Just...

Nasty Candy From the Past
(Take One Only, Please)

1. Necco Wafers - As pretty and pastel as they are, I think we can all agree that these are formed from the piles of colored chalk in elementary school classrooms. I always wanted to like Necco Wafers, but it just didn't work out.

2. Circus Peanuts - Candy or Styrofoam? You decide.

3. Fire Balls - My childhood friend Amy had an obsession with these, and most kids were drawn to them like moths to a flame, waving their little hands in front of their gasping, red-drool-covered mouths. But now that we're adults, let's own up to it: They're awful.

4. Fruit Roll-Ups - Not quite candy, but an unfortunate Halloween handout of the past. I can still see the kids and their dirty little hands, covered in melted roll-up goo. We all know you licked your fingers. Just admit it.

5. Ring Pops - 1. The candy fruit flavors not only didn't resemble the actual fruit, they didn't resemble the accepted candy imitation of said fruit. 2. Again with the dirty hand situation.

6. Candy Necklaces - Probably formed from the same deposits as Necco Wafers. Or maybe they were recycled Necco Wafers after their 75-year shelf-life expired. Regardless, any kind of potential for sticky drool to be left on your person is never a good thing.

7. Caramels - Not necessarily nasty, but a sure 30-second road to ruin for the dental work that just cost their parents $500. Plus, maybe it's just me, but who wants to eat any more candy after one of those? It's like a candy appetite spoiler.

8. Pink Gumballs - Now, I don't know what these were called, but you know what I'm talking about. Biting into them revealed that their center was not so much gum as it was pink powder. Whatever flavor they had was gone in maybe 10 seconds. A true classic.

9. Gummy Frogs - This one is just a personal issue, because I don't recall getting these, but I happen to believe they are the worst candy ever foisted upon an unsuspecting world. The green top is like a sour apple, and the white underbelly is some kind of marshmallowy substance. One of my friends and I used to send these to each other in dime bags with our letters during college, and much like a fruit cake, they were never consumed. For the purposes of this column, I'll expand the definition to gummy anything, because individual packets are typically stale.

10. Peanut Butter Bars - These are tricky, because they smell really good, and they have the potential to be really good, but right after they rip out your fillings with their inevitable staleness, you realize...they aren't good. Then they continue to age in the bottom of the candy bag/bowl until their born-on date can only be determined by carbon dating, but you can't quite convince yourself to throw them out because your mind is still thinking they're good candy. You know what I'm talking about. Don't lie.

This is a work in progress, and seeing as how there are so many nasty candies from our past, feel free to suggest some. Kids these days have it so easy! *5 more gray hairs*



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