I see you over there. Staring at me. Tempting me. Casually peeking over the counter, in your transparent attire. I’m only human. And you’re not playing fair.
I should’ve known I was playing with fire when I bought the jumbo Halloween chocolate bag. I should’ve known it would be only a matter of time until I was unwrapping a little piece of sin. But I have no regrets. This bag is a childhood promise to myself fulfilled. It’s 150 pieces of fun-sized dreams coming true.
When I was young, trick-or-treating was serious business. Weeks before that magical night of ding, dine and dash were spent systematically mapping out the neighborhoods. Homes that handed out king-sized candy bars were hit first. The homes that housed teenagers were hit last, as they often answered their doors the latest. Pillowcases were compared for maximum candy-holding capacity. Sneakers selected. And the friends I invited were selected solely on their candy preferences, otherwise the post-candy-run barter system would be a wash.
I loved Halloween as a kid. I loved trick-or-treating. The only thing that put a damper on my evenings of werewolves and witches was the occasional insufficient swapping of sweets with friends, born from receiving too many Smarties. And Tootsie Rolls. And dumb Dum Dums. They were viewed as mortal enemies Oct. 31, taking up precious room and wasting precious time that could’ve been spent visiting better houses. I vowed that when I became an adult, I never would hand out such atrocities to the human race. I would be an adult with a house worth hitting.
The first handful of years into adulthood, I behaved in a way that would have gotten my home toilet papered by my younger self. I didn’t buy the sacrilegious Tootsie Roll mixed bag of confectionary grossness. Oh, no, I did worse. Much worse. I handed out whatever candy was lying around my pantry, left over from Valentine’s Day and Christmas gifts. Instead of Tootsie Rolls, I gave children Hershey’s Kisses wrapped in red and green foil. Instead of Smarties, I gave children conversation hearts. I betrayed my prepubescent self. I should be imprisoned.
You never can rewrite the sins of the past, but you can correct the future. It will be a number of years until my child will be running from home to home trick-or-treating. But knowing he will be hitting the streets, demanding something sweet to eat with the open threat of exposing the neighbors’ bums if they don’t abide, made me re-examine my candy purchases. Twenty minutes were spent examining bags in the newly allocated Halloween aisle of my grocery. I walked past the Tootsie Roll bag, lingered for a while on the Spree and Laffy Taffy bag. Then I moved on to an enticingly see-through bag boasting nine kinds of candy bars. This was the point in the family film where I would look into a mirror and see the reflection of my 10-year-old self, chocolate-coated smile, giving older me a Butterfingered thumbs-up.
But now, there you sit. My good deed. On the counter. Taunting me. Reminding me of why I never bought candy in the past. Reminding me that I didn’t want to live with the Halloween hold you have over me when I no longer have the metabolism to support your hold. There are 150 pieces of candy. Who would know if one of your candy bars went missing? Or two. Or 12.
I mean, really, will I even get 150 trick-or-treaters? Probably not. And sure, if there is leftover candy, I could always leave it in a bowl on the doorstep with a sign that says “Just Take One.” But everyone knows that no child can abide by those rules. Do I really want to be the kind of person who sets up the youth of America to fail? Do I want to breed a society in which I tempt children and then condemn them for giving in to the temptation I created? Absolutely not.
I think it’s time I opened the bag and ate a few pieces. You know, for the children.
My inner child included.