It is the Season of the Witch! I’m not talking about election day in Delaware, I am talking about Halloween. Halloween is when most people start thinking about ghosts and goblins and carving pumpkins and dressing up in scary costumes and doing all the things people do on Halloween these days. (I am old enough to remember when it was holiday for kids.)
I don’t really think about any of those things, though. When I hear Halloween I start thinking about — food. Yeah, yeah. I know. I think about food when I hear Christmas and Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July, too. What can I say? I’m hooked. I started eating food at an early age and have never been able to break the habit.
And most of the Halloween treats I enjoy are those that I don’t get at any other time of the year. Like popcorn balls. I suppose I could mix Karo syrup with butter and sugar and pour the concoction over popcorn any of the 365 days of the year, but for whatever reason, I only do so the last week of October — which this is. And if I have to go to the dentist every year during the first week of November to replace the filling I lost eating popcorn balls, so be it. It’s worth it, and besides, I like my dentist and am always happy to see her.
Halloween means Rice Krispies treats, too. I’ve already made three batches of those this week and every morning my pants go snap, crackle and pop when I try to fasten them. My wife is partial to caramel apples, and I like the ones with the hard red coating (see reference to dentist above). And we have all of these delectable goodies at Halloween and only at Halloween.
But the real star of the show is none of the above. What I like most about Halloween — and what I have liked most about Halloween since the first time I put a sheet over my head, knocked on a door and pleaded “Trick or Treat?” — is the C-word.
Candy. I love candy. And candy is king on All Hallow’s Eve.
Every year I insist that we buy big bags of candy to give out to any trick-or-treaters that might come by. Of course we are pretty isolated and for the past 23 years the total number of trick-or-treaters that have knocked our door is — well, the number is actually zero, but we can’t take a chance on disappointing a little witch or ballerina, can we?
I read somewhere that the No. 1 candy bar this year is Butterfinger. Now I like a Butterfinger — smooth milk chocolate over crunchy peanut butter. What is there not to love? Other than the fact that the residue might get stuck in your teeth and pull the fillings out. (Did I ever tell you how much I like visiting my dentist?)
I’m a bit partial to the Baby Ruth bar myself. Chocolate, nougat, caramel and peanuts! Better than snuff and not half as dusty! Now the Curtiss Candy Company claims that its candy bar was named after President Grover Cleveland’s baby daughter and not the famous Yankee baseball player who became known as the Sultan of Swat. But the Baby Ruth bar was introduced in 1922, just a few months after The Bambino had shattered the home run record by hitting 59 in one season.
Ruth Cleveland was born in 1891 and was 31 years old when the candy bar was renamed. Her father had been dead 14 years. You can decide for yourself how the candy bar really got its name. While you are deciding, I’ll be peeling a few of the bite-sized samples I brought home from the store — just in case.
There is much to be said for the Snickers bar, too, not to mention the Milky Way, which is like a Snickers, but without nuts. (Getting hungry, yet?) And speaking of with nuts and without, I am a big fan of coconut covered by chocolate — and I also like almonds — so sometimes I feel like a nut and sometimes I don’t. So sometimes I buy Mounds bars and sometimes I buy Almond Joys.
And, yes, I like Hershey bars — with and without — and dearly love Nestle Crunch bars.
I know. Me, too. I’m getting a stomach ache just thinking about all this candy. We haven’t even thought about what used to be called “penny candy,” either. Mary Jane, Tootsie Rolls, Peanut Butter Logs, Bit-O-Honey — you name it, I will unwrap it and eat it. And for the record, I do like candy corn.
Wow! I have activated my sweet tooth just thinking about all that sugar. Unfortunately, all our kids are grown and out of the house. They used to bring me huge bags of loot on Halloween. I guess this year I will have to go out and buy candy for myself. After all, I’m a little old to go door to door. Maybe I’ll get lucky though and the kids I teach will share their bounty with me on Monday. I can’t wait.
And if anyone sees my dentist, Carolyn Leonard, please tell her that I am sure I will see her soon.
Darrell Huckaby is an author and teacher in Rockdale County. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.