Sweet & Scary — I hate Halloween, which may explain why I love it

Southern Hospitality

After having spent the last several weeks of summer trying to lose weight — forgive me if I brag a little, but it actually worked — you can imagine how annoyed I am to see candy sprouting up like dandelions in the spring.

It haunts me at the checkout at the grocery store, makes me sick to see it at the drugstore, and tempts the bargain-hunter in me with those two-for-one deals at the dollar store. It’s free at the dry cleaners. Maybe they’re hoping you’ll drop a Milk Dud on your $150 pair of greige linen slacks, necessitating additional business for them. At the gym, there are bowls of Tootsie Rolls, free for the taking. Don’t they realize eating this candy will add rolls to their clients? Wait, of course they do . . .

I would just as soon the Halloween holiday be eliminated. Banish it from the calendars. Outlaw the dang thing! Nothing kills a diet quite like it. (You do know what D.I.E.T. stands for, right? Did I Eat That? Because, let’s face it: scrawny celery and carrot sticks, skinny chicken breasts and quinoa don’t exactly satisfy, especially when your tummy is growling and you can’t remember if you ate or not.)

But the retailers and stores are bound and determined to trick (not treat) us into submission, especially with those enticing, brightly colored, cute-as-buttons, fun-sized bags of candy. They seem so innocuous. How many calories can there possibly be in a handful of those darling little Milky Way bars? Let me tell you: a lot more than you think. 

The other thing that gets me is the annual onslaught of those darned specialty candies like marshmallow circus peanuts, candy corn (did you know they make peanut butter cup, caramel macchiato and s’mores candy corn now?), orange yogurt-covered mini pretzels and Hershey’s white chocolate candy corn bits chocolate bars.

If I don’t buy them now, I tell myself, then I’ll have to wait another whole year to find them again. This screwy reasoning of mine also says it won’t hurt to buy a bag of Skittles and some more Milky Ways while I’m at it.

Halloween is nothing but a money-making scam. If you don’t believe it, just look at the shops that pop up in late summer and sell strictly Halloween items. That said, I do love to decorate my house for the holiday. I don’t go all out like some neighbors and string black and orange lights, plastic skeletons and spider webs in the front yard. But I do put out my stacked orange pumpkin statue with the black hat and slap a big orange bow on my door wreath.

 And, truth be told, I finish off my decorating with bowls of — yep, you guessed it — candy. I guess I’m a sucker for Halloween after all.

 - Ann Ipock

Author of Life is Short, But It’s Wide; Life is Short, So Read This Fast; and Life is Short, I wish I Was Taller