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Frank Gray

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No trick to choosing candy for Halloween

I saw an item on the news about a woman – somewhere – who plans to give trick-or-treaters whom she thinks are overweight a note instead of candy, chastising the kids’ parents for letting them go out and collect sugary treats that they obviously don’t need.

Well, if you come to my house, I don’t care how fat you are. I’ll give you a piece of candy. So I guess you can blame me in part for what some people call the obesity epidemic in America.

But you gotta get there early.

I used to periodically talk to a guy named Dr. Professor Dan, who diligently monitored the weather and temperature on Halloween and tried to predict turnout based on how nice or miserable the weather was going to be.

In theory you could look at the weather forecast and decide how much candy to buy.

Dr. Professor Dan doesn’t call any more, and to tell the truth I don’t know whether his predictions were accurate or not.

So when it comes to preparing for Halloween, I just buy some candy and hand it out as long as it lasts.

Choosing the type of candy has always stumped me. I like traditional candy – Snickers, Almond Joys, Hershey bars, stuff like that, real candy.

My spouse, on the other hand, picks stuff like Pixie Sticks, those paper tubes with sugar inside of them, and red licorice sticks. She says she knows what kids like.

I gave a clump of those to a trick-or-treater one year and one of them said, “Oh, Pixie Sticks,” and my spouse took that as proof that she knows candy better than me.

I say that if you’re a normal kid you’ll like anything you get, even candy corn, that horrid stuff that people still hand out.

Actually, the problem with candy corn is its appearance. If you’ve ever tried it, it doesn’t taste bad. It’s no worse than a sucker or a little Tootsie Roll. It’s just ugly.

That hasn’t stopped people from handing it out on Halloween, though. They’ve been giving it out since I was 6 or 7, and I usually sneak a few bags into my mix just for old times’ sake and to see the look on the occasional kid’s face when I drop it into his bag.

Usually, though, I get no response no matter what I put in a kid’s bag. They don’t even say trick or treat these days. They just take the candy and turn and leave.

Measuring exactly how much candy to give each kid is the big challenge for me. I tend to start out a little generous, then start to panic when supplies run low after about 45 minutes.

Every year now, I run out of candy after about an hour.

I could buy three times as much candy as usual, and I’d be out in an hour.

That’s because the crowds keep getting bigger, the lines of kids at my walk keep getting longer.

I guess I could stretch my candy supply by giving only a single sucker to infants, the ones who are too young to say trick or treat, too young to understand what’s going on and too young to eat candy as it is. You know who’s really going to eat that candy. But that’s a hassle.

So I’ll just sling out candy to all comers, fat or otherwise, until it’s gone, in about an hour, then turn off the light and close the door, and all the people who show up late can assume that I’m one of those grumpy guys who doesn’t give out candy.

Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at fgray@jg.net. You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.

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