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this is halloween(w): CandyGate!

Today's Halloween topic is candy suckage. What kind of suckage? Oh, you know what kind. The kind that comes in a cute little Halloween baggie that you think contains candy but only contains a travel size tube of toothpaste. The kind that at first says "ooh candy corn!" but quickly turns into "Pttoooie! Last year's candy corn? Fucker!"

appleevil.jpgI had an unnerving moment last Halloween. I was standing on my neighbor's porch eyeing the cache of goodie bags he had ready for the mass of costumed kiddies heading his way. He had a few dozen little plastic baggies stuffed with carrot and celery sticks. Yes. Carrots and celery. For a Halloween treat. As I backed away from this evil man's house, I thought "I am so fisking this guy when I get home." Who fisks Halloween treats? A sick, demented blogger apparently.

But, a sick demented blogger who fisks Halloween candy always has an audience that not only appreciates such an endeavor, but has stories of their own to tell. We all had that one neighbor who hated children so much that, instead of just closing the door on Halloween, she would get her jollies by handing out little tricks instead of treats.

We had the Spider Lady and she handed out pennies. Two. Freaking. Pennies. And she cackled while she dropped those suckers in our bags. But we were anything but complacent little children dressed up in fuzzy bunny costumes. No, we were suburban terror. A gang of twelve year old kids in search of that elusive sugar rush. We were the crack whores of our time, stealing the costumes of our little sisters and brothers just so we could go knock down a few old ladies to get our hands on some Sugar Daddies. Ah, good times. Good times.

And just because I'm in a giving mood, I'll throw in a physics lesson: when thrown by a sugar-deprived teenager, a penny will make a dent in aluminum siding.

Hey, we had to do something with the tricks we got to go along with our treats. Ten year old candy corn? Sprinkle a little water on it and it will stick to the windshield of Mr. "Keep Your Ball Out of My Yard" Brown's brand new Lincoln Continental! Wax vampire teeth? If you warm those things up in the palm of your hand they become malleable. Malleable enough to fashion a waxy covering for the windshield wipers on Officer Goldberg's parked patrol car.

Don't look at me like that. We were destined to be juvenile delinquents. Haven't you ever seen Over the Edge?

And the apples. Who in their right mind would give out apples when they know that any parent who sees that fruit in their kids' bag will immediately take out a machete and hack the damn thing to death in search of that elusive razor blade. Personally, I think there were some parents that actually wanted to find the blade in the apple. It was a prize, a brass ring, a suburban legend that, if true, would propel the average Stepford housewife to new heights of fame. I could envision Mrs. Green, her long Clairol hair tied back in a ribbon, holding the rusted razor blade aloft like Charlie holding his golden ticket. Her name would be splashed across the town weekly, her beaming smile belying the sick-to-her-stomach fear that some crazed madman was out there. Then she would entice the other housewives on the block into forming a posse of the pony-tailed, mad mothers bearing pitchforks and torches, hell bent on finding out who put that razor blade in Billy's Granny Smith.

Of course, in the end it turns out that it was Mrs. Clairol herself who stuck the razor blade in that apple, and it would become a sad social commentary on the boredom that befalls housewives in suburbia. Walter Cronkite would air a special on it and three days later, Mrs. Clairol would check into a clinic to overcome her addiction to mother's little helper.

Uh..where was I? I was talking about Halloween candy, right?

Razor blades and used candy corn aside, what was the worst thing you got in your Halloween bag? Expose your neighbors for what they were: cheap, evil bastards.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference this is halloween(w): CandyGate!:

» Halloween? I LOVE Halloween. from A Bluegrass Blog
Michele at A Small Victory is blogging Halloween (that was an intentional Tim Burton reference, right?). Today's entry explores the topic of "candy suckage," those neighbors who distributed such pitiful "treats" that one wonders if they were actually p... [Read More]

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I'm not posting much as I've, strangely, had a really good day. Why? My wife hasn't vommitted once. Hurray! I got paid a little extra. Hurray! And Cheney gave Edwards a whoopin'! If you want good fresh Scrawly rants, go... [Read More]

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Someone Charlie Browned me once. I actually got a rock.

Later that night, they got it back.

Carrots and Celery sticks?!!?! Christ, I'm pretty crotchety myself so I completely understand not wanting to play along with Halloween, but that's just mean. Plus, doesn't this guy care about his property? Doesn't he know kids these days are vicious little criminals that will seek retribution on his car and yard? Better to just pretend you're not home.

A box of Parmalat

The worst thing in my Halloween bag? A religious tract, chastising me for celebrating a pagan, satanic holiday.

That kind of well reasoned logic meant a lot to an eight year old.

Toothbrushes. It's even worse because you know the dentist didn't actually pay for them. Also bible verses on little stips of paper.

I look at handing out treats as a protection racket. A little upfront investment in quality candy insures that my house is not a target later that evening. So far it has worked 100%.

One of those little hotel soaps. It's one thing to hand out lame treats, but only an idiot would hand out "trick" material... The only thing I could conclude is that the people in this house were masochists.

well, I've had the pennies, the apples, I got raisins once (ugh), never had prosletizing leaflets though. Truly scary.

One time I got a coca-cola from this guy, and a cup too. At first I was like, hey that was cool. Then I had to carry that bitch in my bag all night. I lugged this heavy soda around in my bag, with all the other candy, and when I got home and opened it, the crap sprayed everywhere. The thought was good, but in actuality, the logistics just weren't thought out all the way.

I got a water gun one time. The gift that keeps on giving. I went to a pretty liberal university, so there were always some interesting tricks and treats being given out during the halloween parties, but this is a family website, even if you guys do talk about doing the VP and the way your dicks bend. weirdos.

Popcorn ball. Pure evil in a round form.

I've never understood popcorn balls. Take perfectly good popcorn, and ruin it. Good for nothing but collecting all the icky candy corn at the bottom of the bag.

I give out GOOD candy, as a way of balancing all the popcorn balls I received as a child. (And to balance out the damned root beer barrels and circus peanuts as well.)

ughh...aw gross! I forgot about circus peanuts. The do not taste like a peanut or a circus; they taste like ass and earwax!

I never much cared for those Dum-Dum lollipops, because I always seemed to get the nasty pineapple flavor, but other than that I can recall any really horrible candy.

But then that's probably because my parents got religion when I was about 8 years old, and we were never allowed to go trick-or-treating after that because it was 'satanic.'

I can report that my mother -- if she gives out anything at all on Halloween -- gives out Jack Chick tracts and/or pencils she special orders, which have 'Jesus Loves You' engraved on them.

Of course, to balance this in the universe, I give out the good stuff like Reese's and Rolos and regular sized Tootsie Pops. Heh.

Some of that nasty hard candy - ribbon candy? the kind they sell at Christmas...along with the red and white peppermints.

Keep your holidays straight, people. It's Halloween, dammit! Where's my candy corn?

Popcorn balls and apples made the discard list, too. They ended up in the garbage-bound pile when you got home and you dumped out your goodies and then went through the traditional sorting and categorizing ritual....along with no-name-brand lollipops and those chewy orange slice things. And those Brach's candy things that looked promising because they were tan and pink and white but turned out to be a mixture of coconut glop and something vaguely strawberryish. Brrrrrrrrr.

How about the lazy people who leave a bowl on the porch with a sign that says "One piece each"?

I had an evening paper route in 7th grade. That bowl was empty by 4pm.

I lived on Military bases; many times I came back with apples, oranges and pears. We just put on the counter and ate them later or Mom made fruit salad.
It was almost as good as the canned peaches in heavy syrup.

Raisins and a Jack Chick comic. blah. :P

Mary Janes and Bit o Honey (actually, Bit o Honey wasn't that bad).

The worst candy I can think of was a taffy-like substance which was brittle and stale.

I do remember the best ever - one guy came rushing home and immediately pulled out the bag he had just bought. It was packs of lifesavers - entire rolls of lifesavers - that were stuck together in packs of 5. Score! Needless to say, he ran out fast.

We had a wicked old lady who handed out heated pennies once. She wore a glove to grab them and then tossed them in our bags. They melted through the bottom or stuck to the candy wrappers.

Her house looked like eggnog every Halloween after that.

As someone said Circus Peanuts.

What the hell are they? Are they some kind of unexpected waste product derived from candy making alah plutonium from nuclear power?

You want to know the truth about Circus peanuts?


Don't nobody say nothin bad about Corcus Peanuts, loved them as a kid and still do, as does my 6 year old girl.

Like peeps, they are best served stale.

Little bags of homemade pumpkin seeds. Hippie Chick baked them herself.

On the flipside...the other hippies on the block understood the power of two "fun-size" Snickers Bars per kid. That's right...two...which back then equalled a full sized candy bar. They had a BARRELL of the things. I heard their brownies were pretty good too...but you'd have to ask my big sister about that.

Gum. Sugarfree gum.

Circus Peanut round -up


Money quote: "Ingesting Circus Peanuts is kind of like digging your old bodyboard out of the basement, compressing it down into little turd shapes using your mighty vise-like grip, and eating it."

Horrifying but true...there is recipe for preparing a circus peanut treat


I will now light myself on fire.

"How about the lazy people who leave a bowl on the porch with a sign that says "One piece each"?"

Some of those "lazy people" are taking their own kids out trick-or-treating and leave the bowl out for the neighborhood kids cuz they don't have anyone else to mind the house to hand out candy.

Dental floss. I kid you not. Dental floss. I remember it well.

The other, older kids were not amused and TP'd their yard.

And as for me, I appease them with Milky Way and Butterfinger bars. And myself as well.

And hey, don't knock circus peanuts. My dad and I used to eat them out on the back porch on summer evenings. I'd give a year of my life to do that with him one more time.

Imperial Keeper

"Dental floss. I kid you not. Dental floss. I remember it well."

We had a dentist up the street who of course refused to do candy. Instead it was toothbrushes.

"And hey, don't knock circus peanuts. My dad and I used to eat them out on the back porch on summer evenings. I'd give a year of my life to do that with him one more time."

I apologize for getting a little carried away with circus peanuts. Having come way too damn to losing my own father this summer when he went into complete cardiac arrest and had quad bypass surgery, I understand.

I'm not too keen on the circus peanuts either, but they're still not the worst things out there. The nastiest candy I've ever received - and I got it every year without fail - were those disgusting toffee-like things in the black and orange wrappers. You were lucky if you could even peel the paper off all the way, much less eat it. Blech!

Those cheap, generic, dum-dum lollipops. They all tasted the same. I think they are made from whatever they scrape off the bottom of the pot at a real candy factory.
Thats why I always pass out the real thing. Either tootsie-pops or blow-pops.

Circus Peanuts.

Better living through chemistry.

"The nastiest candy I've ever received - and I got it every year without fail - were those disgusting toffee-like things in the black and orange wrappers. You were lucky if you could even peel the paper off all the way, much less eat it. Blech!"

Hey, I LOVE those!! Send me yours. You can have all my Jolly Ranchers (except the Pink Lemonade ones). I look forward to November 1st every year so I can go and get multiple bags of those very peanut butter taffies in the black and orange wrappers. They're like Mary Janes, but softer so they don't rip out your dental work. I love 'em.

All I know is, last year the kids didn't turn out in their usual numbers and I was stuck with fifty boxes of jujyfruits. This year I'm handing out something I like: potato chips.

One year my little brothers were trick or treating, and went around the neighborhood. The Iranian immigrant across the street had his screen removed from the window by the front door, and was popping popcorn (this was the days before microwave corn, obviously) on his kitchen table. He was standing on his porch and when kids would come up to get the goods he'd reach in through the open window, get a scoop of fresh popcorn and dump it right into the kids' candy bags. Mmmm, popcorn carried around all night in a candy bag.

Chick-o-Stix. Gotta be the Chick-o-Stix. My wife tells me she got pencils a couple times; how bad does that suck?

Valentine hearts.

I know valentine hearts start life 50 years stale anyway, but for halloween? evil.

Next worst? sugarless gum. I hate spoilsports.

So I have a question: this is our first year in a house with trick-or-treater aged kids in the neighborhood. what's the proper way to scare the bejeezus out of them, particularly the tween-aged kids who act like they are too cool to really like halloween?
any suggestions?

Even back in the bad old days of the 60's the lamest thing I got was a religious tract. Nastiest candy were the dum-dum lolipops.

Of the best things I got (from the moms on our little block) were homemade caramel apples, cupcakes and peanutbutter cookies. There is something to be said for a block of stay-at-home moms who know each other and the kids, those goodies were for us alone.

Next best was the house at the corner with the older couple who gave out full sized Hershey bars.

We always deck out the house (graveyard, blacklights, fog machine, etc), dress up and hand out good candy... almond joy, mounds, milky ways, snickers. We figure it brings good karma and keeps the pumpkins from ending up smashed in the middle of the street.



I change up the scare routine each year... but the best was the year I dressed up as a "dummy" oversized clothes which I padded so no angles would give me a way..put on a knit cap, ski googles and scarf to cover my face, stuffed gloves too. I sat slumped on a bench in the midst of other decorations while kids walked by me to get the treats from my eldest daughter. Since I was just a decoration while they first passed me, they didn't give me a second look as they were heading by the second time...at that point I would move swift and silent up and at them... (I was saving this specifically for the jr high crowd).... the shrieking of terror was enormous! Then followed by much laughter and admiration of a stunt well pulled.


I know how hard it is when your parent is seriously ill. I hope your dad is ok and you have lots more Halloweens to enjoy with him.


A piece of baklava.

Some background, growing up my neighboorhod was transforming from older Italians to new Generation Greeks and Albanians.

We knocked on doors, and this older lady invited us in, looking back, totally perplexed with the concept so she invited us in, took out her pastries and cut us each a slice, wrapped it in tin foil and sent us on our way.

PS. to this day I LOVE Baklava.

I second hockeypuck on the popcorn. Popcorn at the movies, good. Popcorn in your Halloween bag (where there should be sugar or chocolate), not good.

One year my sisters and I got real brave and decided to go to the scary-man-around-the-block's house. As it turned out, nobody ever went to his house so he was unprepared and sent us home with can's of Campbell's Soup in our pillow cases.

When we moved to a new neighborhood, the couple next door gave out FULL SIZE candybars!! Paydirt!

The worst thing I ever got for Halloween was a lecture from a mean old bastard, about how crappy my costume was.

Then he told me that (because he was such a nice guy) he was going to give me some candy anyway, even though my costume totally sucked. So I went home with a plastic bag full of guilt, and a little handful of mixed candy that the son of a bitch had picked all of the SMARTIES out of for himself.

Wow....this just brought back a memory for me that I must have buried somewhere.....the year I was 12 and trick-or-treated for the last time because an old neighbor lady answered her door and looked at me and my friend and said "You girls are a little old for this, don't you think?" and she DIDN'T GIVE US ANYTHING.

(Insert juvenile expletive here).

Which begs the question - when is the cut-off? When are you too old to beg for candy?

My personal opinion, based on my experience, no doubt - although I haven't consciously realized it until now - is that anyone who takes the trouble to dress up and go door-to-door is going to get a "Hey....look at you! That's a great costume!" and their pick out of the candy bowl from me. I've never dissed a trick-or-treater, even when their costume consists of a cheap mask or even just a pair of funny google-eye glasses,and their regular street clothes.

It's a candy bar. I'd rather give it away than have it left over in the bowl the next day, sending out a sugar and carb-laden siren's call that I will be powerless to resist.

worst "treats":

I got the two-pennies thing too.

I got a travel-sized toothbrush from the Evil Dentist who lived on my street.

I also got raisins.

But, geez - celery and carrot sticks. That's just CRUEL. I mean, raisins can be done with good intentions ("They're nature's candy, maaaaaaaan") but you have to be some kind of twisted jerk to do celery.

I try to give out "good stuff." If I do the snack-sized bars, I usually give two. I live in the South, so many of the local kids aren't allowed to do Hallowe'en (religious reasons) or they go to the "Harvest Carnival" which is advertised as a "safe" alternative to Hallowe'en.

Yeah, great. "Safe." Kids love things that are "safe."

So I buy the candy I like, and hand out a couple to each kid whose parents are brave enough to buck the "have your kid come downtown and get pre-approved treats from the merchants" trend, and plan on having at least some left over.

Last year I also gave out jack-o-lantern flying discs I bought from Oriental Trading. I still have some left this year, will prolly give them out until they're gone. (But I give candy too. Toys are cool but I understand that Hallowe'en is All About the Candy)

Man, I give out the PREMIUM candy. Nothing but name-brand top-shelf candy, pre-portioned in baggies before the big day, three each. Twix, M&Ms, Snickers, 3 Muskateers, all forms of Reeses, I mean the GOOD stuff. I spend way too much on Halloween.

My house and car never get messed with, and all the kids love me. It's a small investment in the peacefulness of our little block. :)

My worst was a single penny. One. In a little rice-paper envelope that had a pumpkin printed on it that probably cost three cents. With a single penny inside.

Once some guy gave a group of us too-old-to-be-trick-or-treating teens toilet paper and asked us to do his neighbor's house, then gave us all ten bucks each. That was the best. :)

Ryan: No problem. Hope your dad is doing well.

And it did bring back good memories. He loved those things. I miss him still, as it'll be 10 years November 12.

Imperial Keeper

One year me and my friends made a huge haul(2-bags each) and at the end of it all some big kids jumped us and took it all away...we looked around and saw no porch lights were on and realized it was too late to make a comeback.......we told my dad and he took us to the DQ. Godamned "big kids".

Sorry I was off topic about the big kids(a-holes)...had a flashback. The worst treat I ever got was a little sandwich baggie of pennies. One year I got some liguid filled wax pop-bottles that got squashed in my bag and made a nasty mess. I give treats to bigger kids don't get me wrong but I also give 'em the stink eye as they walk away. Yes I have an issue.


Thank you. He is doing very well. He's lost alot of weight. He's cut back to working a normal 40 hour week and he's doing alot of work with the American Heart Association. He was even on the Today show last week talking about the portable defribullator that saved his life.

Thank you for your graciousness.

As long as you have memories like this, your father will always be with you.

I also received Jack Chick tracts in my candy bag as a kid (which would be cool now, because I started collecting them), but the worst thing I ever got was a black plastic comb! Never did understand that one. We had one very nice lady in our neighborhood who actually handed out $1 bills! She was on my paper route, and she was always generous with me at Christmas time, etc. I don't know if she gave all the kids bucks or not; she may have just given them to us since she recognized us as neighborhood kids, but we thought that was pretty damned cool!

The strangest Halloween treat I can ever remember getting was an all-evening pass to the local roller rink - only good on the 30th of December. This was 46 years ago, but I remember. I also remember going to the roller rink that night, and having the best time of my life. A little deferred pleasure, but well worth it! Of course the people handing out the passes also owned the roller rink. The night we all showed up, they had free drinks, home-made goodies, and lots of people to help anyone who'd never roller-skated before (including me!). It's definitely one Halloween treat that sticks in my memory.

Wow. I guess I was lucky. The worst I ever got was 3 pennies taped up so tough I gave up.

My brother really liked raisins, so they were OK, as I could trade for the chewey-whatevers in the orange/black wrappers. (Anyone who doesn't like them, send them here.)

I always give out full-sized candy bars to those who wear costumes. I close up shop early so that I don't have to deal with the teenagers who come by without a costume.

I have an adult friend who, as a child, was made to hand out those religious tracts on Halloween. You think it's bad getting one? Try being forced to stay home and hand out the tracts to all your friends as they come by. Of course, after too long, the whole "having friends" problem probably just took care of itself.

The memory that sticks out for me is that one year we got joke gum that was RED hot spicy. Yow!