Hallmark is always getting a bad rap for promoting Mother’s day since it sells cards but no one seems to jump all over the Mars or Hershey companies for selling America giant bags of candy for Halloween. I don’t think Halloween was such a big deal when my parents were little. Sometime in the 1950’s the costume thing caught on and then the trick or treating, but I don’t think it was until M&M’s came in fun size bags that the candy-begging thing got so big.
I feel like running from house to house and grabbing as much candy as you can hit a peak in the late seventies when parents still felt safe letting their children run amok in their own neighborhoods. Then people started busing carloads of kids into neighborhoods they deemed to be more generous. Sometime after that parents got pulled into to escort their kids and to look their neighbors’ in the eye as if to say, “You know us so please give our children some free candy.”
Now the yard ornament decorating companies have really come into their own with some people creating whole front lawn grave yards with fog and fake spider webs. Halloween is the only night grown-ups are legally allowed to traumatize children as long as you give them a mini snickers after you have done it.
The thing I hate is that we buy candy in case one of our neighbor kids comes by looking for a treat, but for the most part we have the lights off so Carter and her friends can watch a scary movie. Hardly any child is going to waste valuable candy gathering time on a dark house so by 8:00 at night I am assured to have a bowl of leftover candy; something none of us needs.
I am sure candy companies have banked on this happening. Stock prices of all things chocolate depend on people like me buying candy just in case. For the most part America does not need all this candy. I would rather have kids come to the door and let me give them a quarter, at least I would have something to do with the leftover money when all the handing out had finished. I’m sure I would be considered some kind of Grinch for not handing out candy and that is stepping on the foot of another holiday.
I am the oldest of three sisters. Margaret is three and a half and Janet is eight and a half years younger than I am. Being the oldest meant that I participated in childhood holiday traditions longer than I should have just to keep the illusion alive. But while I was keeping the secret on behalf of my younger sisters I was working the system to my advantage.
Easter in my house was always the same. The Easter bunny would deliver baskets to our bedrooms while we slept that had some candy, like peeps and jellybeans and a large chocolate bunny or big cream filled egg in it. Then the bunny would hide chocolate foil wrapped eggs all over the rooms we called the big living room and the little living room. These eggs would be for the “hunt” we would have at a reasonable hour before church.
Before Janet came along I always received a bigger basket than Margaret just because I was older, although I think the bunny put an equal amount of candy in each at the delivery. This is something no one could ever prove because Margaret would get up in the morning and before we were allowed out of our rooms for the hunt she would eat all the pre-basketed candy.
I am a real candy lover so Easter was a highlight of the year. But not all candy was created equal in my book. I did not and do not like peeps or black jellybeans. All things chocolate would be at the top of my must have list followed by red and pink jellybeans.
I do not know how old I was the first time that I rearranged the basket contents, but I do know that I took the older sister advantage more than once when it came to Easter baskets. See, I would wake up in the middle of the night, sometime between the departure of the bunny and sunrise. I would sneak into Margaret’s room and get her basket and bring it into my room where I would take all her red and pink jelly beans and give her all my black ones and all my peeps. Then I would quietly put her basket back beside her bed without disturbing her.
Then I would slink up the back barn steps that went from my room to the big living room and in the dark of the night I would look all around the two hunt spaces and scope out where the shinny foil wrapped eggs were. This ensured that when hunt time came I would be faster and better at getting more eggs.
This plan worked perfectly because Margaret always ate her whole basket before anyone could get a look at what was in it and since she ate it before she even saw my basket she was none the wiser. I look back on the hunt as the most unfair, not only had I pre-hunted, but I was so much older that I had a huge advantage anyway. Pictures from the time of us in our Easter dresses and hats holding our baskets, mine overflowing with candy and Margaret’s a plastic grass utopia are evidence of the unfairness.
I long ago confessed to Margaret and apologized for taking advantage. I was probably doing her a great favor by keeping some of candy from her. What I wish was that someone had taken my candy. I certainly did not need it and wish I never developed such a love of the sweet stuff.
If I were dressing up for Halloween I would go as Superwoman. Before you even think, “That Damn Dana is so full of herself,” here is my reason. Halloween is all about sugar, candy corn, mini snickers, resses peanut butter cups, skittles, junior mints, rolos, heath bars, hershey’s chocolates, milky ways, nerds, butterfingers, M & M’s I have gained two pounds just writing these things.
See, sugar is my Kryptonite. Superman was powerless around the stuff and just like him sugar can bring me to my knees. When I am away from all things sugar I am fierce. I have will power and can leap tall bakery counters with a single bound. But just one bite of a brownie and my resolve is weakened.
Today is the last day of my weight loss challenge. What was I thinking? Ending on Halloween – my day of greatest challenge. Tomorrow I will get on the scale and report how much weight I have lost since May. I will be sending personalized e-mails to all my supporters to let them know how much money to send the food bank.
But tomorrow is not the end of my healthy eating. With all that candy around I am going to have to double down. The challenge has been great at doing for me what I needed it to do — break the grip that sugar and white flour had on my life. I still have about 35 pounds I want to lose so I have to continue doing exactly what I have been doing, just without any money on the line to keep me motivated.
Even though my accountability will change from those who have pledged to just myself I am going to have to resolve to not be weakened by my personal Kryptonite, sugar. To me, Superman is powerful because he knows his weakness and does everything to stay away from it. I think for many women sugar is their downfall, so we all need to become Superwomen and do our best to steer clear of what we already know cripples us.
Like that mild manner reporter, Clark Kent, I am going to keep blogging. I know that this forum has given me strength to be faster than a speeding bullet or more powerful than a locomotive or maybe just a strange visitor from another planet, as long as I am a skinnier visitor.