Back when I was a kid, every year at Halloween I’d come home from my trip around the neighborhood and eagerly empty the booty I had plundered from my neighbors onto the kitchen table.
Most of it was the typical Halloween fare like the miniature candy bars. However, I’d also get a few unexpected items; some were really awesome Halloween treats. Others were not.
One year I even got a rock in my bag — just like Charlie Brown. I’m not kidding. I just wish I knew who did it; then I could have gone back and toilet-papered their lawn. Oh well.
Anyway, with that in mind, I decided to survey my kids, Matthew and Nina, to find out some of the worst stuff folks in our neighborhood have tossed in their Halloween bags over the years.
Although they never received any rocks, they came up with the following list of yucky “treats” that — as far as they’re concerned — were almost as bad:
Mints. Are you kidding me? Why not just hand out travel size tubes of toothpaste? “They’re not even candy, Dad!” says Nina. She’s got a point. Save the mints for Christmas, people.
Mystery candy. Like most parents, the Honeybee and I go through our kids’ candy before they get the okay to eat it. Although we’ll usually let certain candies pass that are unlabeled but safe to eat, the kids have a different opinion. Nina refuses to eat candy she is not familiar with.
Baby Ruth. Both of my kids say a Baby Ruth has too many peanuts. That’s an understatement; a Baby Ruth is not a candy bar, folks — it’s a peanut-industry research and development experiment gone awry.
Jaw breakers. According to Nina, jawbreakers are “too much work.” She also says the sour powdery finish at the center of the jawbreaker is not her idea of fun either.
5-Flavor Life-Savers. My daughter says the biggest problem with 5-flavor Lifesavers is that the flavors don’t match the colors. I agree. Red doesn’t taste like cherries, and the purple doesn’t taste like grapes. By the way, whose idea was it to make grape candy taste the way it does?
Nerds. Really? Colored balls filled with sugary powder is not my kids’ idea of great candy. Mine neither.
Taffy. The biggest complaint with taffy — which includes taffy-like confections such as Tootsie Rolls — is that you’re supposed to stay away from it if you have braces. For kids with a mouth full of dental hardware, it can arguably be the cruelest treat of all.
Any candy with coconut. The consensus here is that coconut candy is good, but only in small quantities. Nina’s biggest complaint is that after she eats more than a couple, she has to give the rest away because the taste of coconut becomes too “overpowering.” For what it’s worth, when it comes to Almond Joy versus Mounds, my son feels like a nut; Nina doesn’t.
Halloween pencils. Pencils taste bad and can put splinters in your tongue. I’m sure that’s why they usually get tossed in a drawer, unused, and never to be seen again.
Black licorice. Nina says it tastes too much like rubber. I wonder if Goodyear knows about this.
Pretzels. Matthew’s biggest complaint is that they’re usually stale. Besides, it’s Halloween; so can we just give the healthy snacks a rest for one day? Please? What’s next — celery stalks?
Gum. Aside from the fact that kids with braces can’t chew it, Nina says she hates gum because, “It makes my mouth tired.” (See: Jaw breakers.) And, if that’s not enough Nina has a few other complaints: a) it loses its flavor too fast; b) you have to be careful how you get rid of it; and c) “it makes you more thirsty.”
Old Easter candy. I kid you not, folks; a few years ago both of my kids got chocolate bunnies in their Halloween bag. After all, nothing says “cheapskate” like recycled stale Easter candy. And my kids knew exactly which house passed them out too. I was absolutely dumbfounded. Believe it or not, the next morning that home’s lawn was covered in toilet paper.
What? Hey, now … Don’t look at me.
Photo Credit: narcosislabs
(This is an updated version of an article originally posted on October 20, 2010)