Beware of Halloween.
Kids will do anything for candy.
Jerry Seinfeld said, “Candy was my whole life when I was a kid. For the first 10 years, I think the only clear thought I had was ‘Get Candy.’ That was it – family, friends, school – they were just obstacles in the way of the candy. I could only think get candy; get candy; get candy.”
I wish I could say that ended when I was 10.
Sometimes my brain works like that now.
For now, forget all the studies about how bad candy is for you.
All that research about sugar rotting your teeth, making you fat, and increasing your cravings for all things not good for you? Forget it.
It’s Halloween. It’s all about the candy.
The costumes are just a means to an end.
As a kid, the more candy you get, the better. The one with the most candy wins.
Get candy. Get candy. Get candy.
Michigan football coach, Jim Harbaugh taught his kids that Halloween is all about the hustle — “constant hustle, hustling all the time.”
“You can hit the neighborhood in one costume — and better to jog and run from house to house, then you can get more candy than anybody else. Then come home make a quick change into the second costume and go hit those same houses again.”
I thought we were pretty good at getting candy when I was a kid, but clearly we were amateurs. We never even thought of the costume change-up strategy and the Halloween hustle.
We just plotted out the best neighborhoods – the nice, compact ones with lots of houses crammed in them so we could get a lot of candy in a short time.
You know it’s serious trick-or-treating when you outgrow your dinky little plastic orange pumpkin and pull out a pillowcase.
Now, because it’s all about the candy, you sacrifice the clever costume and go with the lame variety like grabbing a bed sheet and cutting two holes in it or putting a patch on your eye and pretending to be a pirate. I once blacked out my eye and wore a baseball cap. Good enough, I thought.
Again, means to an end here.
When our trick-or-treating starting looking like this, my mom did not hide her disgust.
She said, “When you stop dressing up in decent costumes, rummage through the house for old pillowcases, and beg me for a ride across town just so you can get more candy, you’re too old to trick-or-treat. And when kids like that knock on my door, I don’t want to open it. That’s not Halloween. That’s just begging for candy.”
Clearly, she did not understand the kid-crazed mind that can only think one thing at Halloween – get candy, get candy, get candy.
And gathering all that candy was only part of the fun. The other part was coming home, dumping it all out on the living room floor and sorting it into piles — Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops, Lemon Heads, Sixlets, and Mary Janes — all in separate piles.
Then, the negotiations started — – I’ll give you two of my bubble gums for one of your Lemon Heads. The good chocolate stuff like Butterfingers, Baby Ruths and Kit Kats were in the not-up-for-grabs, no-way-are-you-getting-this-pile.
Because kids can’t think straight when it comes to candy, Halloween can be a very dangerous holiday.
For one thing, you have to watch out for candy thieves. They’re so consumed by the need for candy; they’ll just rip it right of your hands and leave you standing there sugar-deprived and deflated.
My brother, all tough and rugged, said that could never happen to him. He would fight off a candy thief lickety-split.
But, then it happened.
His clearest Halloween memory was when a candy-hungry, sugar-obsessed overgrown kid mugged him. Of course he had gone to a different neighborhood to trick-or-treat because our neighborhood was too spread out and the candy potential was too low.
“We were probably too old to be trick-or-treating,” he said, “but we wanted that candy. Between Jon and me, we had a full pillowcase of candy by the end of the night. Then, some big kid came around and tried to steal it. I worked hard for that candy. I wasn’t about to give it up. We tugged back and forth and pushed and punched each other for a while. Finally, after he kid kicked me in the shin, I gave it up. And, Jon, he just handed his over first thing. He didn’t even fight for it. After it was over, I said, ‘Jon, what were you thinking just giving up all that candy? We had enough to get us through until New Year’s.’”
The things we do for candy.
The other lurking danger, according to our mom, was that some sickos might hand out apples with razor blades in them.
I know, it sounds outrageous, but it was a thing in the late sixties.
Getting a seemingly good old nutritious apple was the worst possible thing that could happen to a kid on Halloween.
They even reported this razor-blades-in-apple danger on the news. That prompted legislators in New Jersey to pass a law that if you booby-trapped your Halloween treats, you’d go to prison.
It was hard to believe our neighbors would put razor blades in apples.
But, then again, we left the neighborhood on a get-more-candy-mission so, we didn’t really know who was giving us what now did we?
It all added to the spooky nature of Halloween.
So, now that I’ve given you some good candy-grubbing strategies and some safety tips, go out and have yourself a Happy Halloween.
Get candy, get candy, get candy.
Just do not get apples.
I repeat, do not get apples.