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The 2015 Candy Bowl

October 29, 2015

The World Series is happening. That I know. I even know that it’s between the Mets and the Royals. I was going to say the Cubs for a second, and then I remembered that was the playoffs and Back to the Future had it all wrong.

I’m even a Mets fan. Of course, that’s only if you come from the school of thought that suggests once a fan, always a fan. I couldn’t tell you any of the pitchers or who plays first base. But my grandfather was a Mets fan, and that made me a Mets fan. My first major league game was at Shea Stadium. A double header against the Cubs, actually. I cheered for Mookie. I lived through the Strawberry scandal. And I remember as a kid watching the World Series game where the ball rolled between someone’s legs and the Mets pulled the most unlikely victory out of the jaws of defeat, and jumping for joy even though I was alone in my family’s guest room.

These days, sports are almost completely off my radar, unless somehow there is food involved. Yes, it was cool to see American Pharoah run in Saratoga this summer. But to be completely honest, I was probably more excited by the Double ShackBurger. Man, that was good.

Which brings me to the only sporting contest going on this week that I actually care about, and that’s the 2015 Candy Bowl.

Unless you’re completely clueless about national holidays, you already know that Halloween is on Saturday. Saturday dammit. So let me not see you out in costume on Friday. You celebrate New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight to welcome Father Time. Halloween is on October 31. It doesn’t get a whole weekend. It’s just one night. Let’s keep it special, okay?

Maybe this year we’ll get trick-or-treaters. Our neighborhood doesn’t have a ton of kids. And people locally tend to go to the high school or the mall for their annual traditions. I can understand, both are indoors. It’s cold out there at the end of October.

But perhaps things will be different when the holiday is on a Saturday. Kids can head out earlier, since they won’t have to deal with the everyday school routines. And they can stay out later too.

Regardless, the kids and I each get to pick out one bag of candy from the store with which to stock the candy bowl. I think this began after I bought a lot of Unreal candy one year, and the neighborhood kids just did not go for the elegant well-designed packaging, opting instead for the few brighter colored boxes of Nerds which shone like jewels in the night.

Young Master Fussy didn’t even have to think about his selection this year. Snickers bars. Not those crappy little square ones either. He wanted the legitimate fun sized bars. Of course they aren’t fun for those with peanut allergies, but this entire holiday is a treacherous one for anyone who needs to watch what they eat.

Personally, I have all kinds of concerns about Halloween candy. But I try to let them go for the sake of the children. I’ll spare you the lecture. But it’s just awful. And on top of all the awful things, it’s still just a massive hit of sugar.

Sigh.

After looking around extensively and evaluating what seemed like every item in the extended Halloween candy section, Little Miss Fussy lit up at the thought of filling the bowl with Ring Pops. It could have been worse. At far as I can tell those are just sugar with artificial colors and flavors.

You know what’s funny? Both of the kids actually like black jelly beans. Little Miss Fussy gets excited when I remind her that it tastes a bit like fennel fronds. She loves those suckers. I bet I could have convinced them to hand out Good & Plenty had we seen it on the shelf. Then we could have been that house.

Any guesses on my choice?

It’s a challenge when you want to avoid artificial colors, artificial flavors, GMOs, and chocolate tainted with the tears of slavery. The best I came up with this year was Junior Mints. Sure, the sugar is most likely from GMO sugar beets and not sugar cane. And yes, they are coated in chocolate, but there is hardly any. At least it’s the real stuff and not something brown and sweet masquerading as chocolate but without the requisite cocoa butter. Even the mint flavor comes from actual peppermint oil. And miracle of miracles, Junior Mints are made in the USA.

I wish I could say the same about Candy Corn. Even though Brach’s, the company that makes Classic Candy Corn, bills itself as America’s Candy Maker, the candy itself is actually a product of Mexico.

Really, I couldn’t remember the last time I had eaten candy corn, but I do recall enjoying it as a child. Given all the scuttlebutt about the divisive nature of the candy online, I thought I would give it another try.

You know what? As far as candy goes, in small doses once a year, it’s not terrible. I guess that pretty much sums up my feelings about this holiday. Enjoy it. Stay safe out there. And if anyone has an inside line on a house handing out Good & Plenty, please send me a note. I might be able to drive the kids over and make their Halloween dreams come true.

One Comment leave one →
  1. boya3706 permalink
    October 29, 2015 9:51 am

    Did you get the candy corn made with real honey? They’ve started removing the High Fructose corn syrup for honey, though leaving in regular corn syrup. I’ve convinced many a person to try candy corn again, and all responses have been, its not as terrible as I remember. Win.

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