Let Them Eat Cake. I Mean, Candy.

By: Elizabeth Webber Akre

Halloween is upon us.  As we all carve our pumpkins, string spider webs on our porches and hang skeletons about the house, the kids are eagerly anticipating one thing. No, it’s not dressing up in their costumes.  It’s not Halloween carnivals, nor the actual event of trick-or-treating.  It’s all about the candy.  Plain and simple.

Now, I’m a mom to a 6 year old. She’s like all kids: energetic, curious, funny, and she loves candy. So, like all good parents, my husband and I try to be conscientious about the frequency and amount of candy (and other sweets) she’s allowed to consume. We want her to continue to eat veggies and refuel her muscles with lots of protein, but sometimes it’s a battle.  We hear things like, “Did I eat enough to have dessert?”  I can’t even tell you how crazy this question makes me. I don’t want her thinking of a meal as a gateway to dessert. But, as often as I get annoyed and agitated about it, I try to talk myself down by reminding myself that she is, in fact, a kid. And to be quite honest, if she didn’t want candy and dessert, I’d probably be just as worried that something is wrong. (”Wait, she’s a kid and she never wants sweets?  What’s wrong?!?”)

So, let’s go back to Halloween. It’s all about the candy.  In recent years, many folks have meant well and handed out bags of microwave popcorn, little bags of “Halloween pretzels”, spooky bubbles, baggies of Halloween erasers and organic gummy stuff. The worst of all is the doling out of toothbrushes. What is this about?  Do we need to review what Halloween is about?  Really, people?  Really?

It’s about the candy- all about the candy.  As a kid, the best part of the whole evening was coming home and dumping it all out on the carpet and spreading it out to see all the goodies that I scored.

I even sorted the candy! Since I wasn’t crazy about Snickers, so those went to my mom.  No kid likes the miniature Hershey’s “special dark” and never has, but you have to hand it to Hershey’s.  They’ve continued making that vile candy bar in hopes that they’d eventually convince everyone else to eat it.  Thanks to that French woman telling us all how she doesn’t get fat, dark chocolate has finally gotten its 15 minutes of fame.  But, back in the 70’s, they just went in the trash.  I was a chocolate girl, so all the hard candy went to my friend Cathleen.  Suckers went into their own pile and were saved.  When all the chocolate was finally gone, the suckers were the last, sweet reminder of the Halloween spoils.  But you know what the best part of it all was?  On Halloween night, my parents NEVER told us “ok, just have 2 pieces and then we’re putting it away.”  They let us eat our candy. With reckless abandon, no limits, and no boundaries.  That is Halloween.

So, this year, my daughter is old enough to really take in all of the parts of Halloween: the lights, the jack-o-lanterns, the scary decorations, comparing costumes with the neighbor kids.  She’ll collect a lot of candy and her mouth may fall open when I let her dump it all out on the floor and take inventory. And, as much as I try to limit sweets every other day of the year, on the night of October 31st, my baby is going to truly experience Halloween. And the candy.  All the glorious candy.

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