Gingey Love

s-l300When you’re young you think about the goals for your life and set high standards for what you what to achieve. Never did I imagine that one of the hardest goals I would face in deep middle age is not eating anymore Halloween candy.

It doesn’t help that my happy place is dreaming about cakes, cookies and cobbler. When I’m stressed, stuck in traffic or sitting in a meeting bored to the point of falling asleep it perks me up to let my mind roam to things like hot milk cake with caramel icing or a compote creeping crust cobbler.

Based on this personal history it’s a given that I would have an issue with saying no to sweets which is why I always buy Halloween candy I don’t like. This year though something happened. I rediscovered the wonder of the Milk Dud.

I have a vague memory of liking Milk Duds as a child, but only if the other candy choice was a Pixy Stix. This is why I felt safe buying a huge bag of assorted Kit Kats, Milk Duds and Almond Joys – a trio that I thought, didn’t do much for me. Until late on Halloween night when I opened up a mini box of Duds and had an epiphany. Milk Duds are magnificent.

I was a goner. That sweet, sassy, chewy caramel with a chocolate chaser was a sensory delight. I couldn’t get enough. By midnight I had probably consumed, okay I’m not telling you, it’s best that some things are kept private.

Let’s just say that I might have aggravated my carpal tunnels by all the mini boxes I opened. I reasoned that the excessive chewing required in consuming a Milk Dud might be like when you eat celery and all the jaw exertion cancels out the caloric content of the cruciferous veggie. Yeah, whatever, I know that’s wrong, but at midnight it sounded so right.

I had the Milk Dud fever bad. The next day I had to talk myself down from going into Target and buying more Halloween candy at 50% off. Finally, I had the strength to go cold turkey and white knuckle through a very arduous week of not eating candy. Then, just as I was pulling myself together and only thinking of Milk Duds, maybe 25 times a day, my husband ruined my life. He brought a man into our home and I fell in love. Head over heels, crazy in love.

The truly terrible part about all of this was that my daughter also shared the same feelings. Yes, shockingly we were both in love with same man. Don’t judge. This guy is a cutie and it doesn’t hurt that his backside is covered in white fudge icing. Yep, this mother daughter love triangle was with the Trader Joe’s Mini Gingerbread Man.

He’s perfect. The relationship starts off with a satisfying crunch, then your taste buds get the kick of a perfectly spiced gingerbread and it finishes with the velvety sweetness of the white fudge glaze.

It’s a taste bud extravaganza. Sadly, this mother/daughter romance for the gingerbread gentleman lead us to fight over who got him and in a desperate act of keeping “Gingey” only for me I absconded with the bag and locked myself in my bedroom.

Finally,  maternal instincts kicked in and I agreed to share – sort of. I had already hidden at least 10 of the guys in my closet. The next day when the bag was empty I told my husband that was it. No more gingerbread guys are allowed in our home.

I decided to put family first even though it’s killing me and sometimes I think I hear my gingerbread suitor calling for me. But, I can do this. I will do this, at least for this month. Once December hits all bets are off. I mean how can anyone go through Christmas without a gingerbread man?

Halloween Etiquette

halloween-candy-ecards-someecardsI love Halloween. It’s an event based on candy and that’s something I embrace one fun size Snickers bar at a time. I do, though, have some rules about trick-or-treating. Well, maybe not rules so much. It’s more of a level of standards that I adhere to. The one I enforce with a vengeance is teenagers trick-or-treating. I believe if you’re old enough to vote and serve your country in the Armed Forces it might be time to retire you candy bag. Also, do not come to my door sans costume and tell me you’re going as a “teenager.” This will earn you zero candy but I will give a number two pencil for taking your SAT’s. Sure, I fear these teens, I tick off with my no candy edict, might come back later and exact a little revenge – ie – toilet paper my house. But, that’s why I leave my sprinkler system on all night.

Another thing that yanks my Halloween chain is adults trick-or-treating. Oh, they do it very discreetly or at least they think they are being all sneaky, but no one is fooled. I’m referring to the grown up who is taking a group of kids around and yet has their own candy bag. Scandalous, right? And this is how they do it. As all the kids are opening their bags for the goodie drop the adult scoots their bag into the fray. This is when I stop mid treat release and ask, “Oh my, do you have your own trick-or-treat bag?” I usually get a sheepish grin. My response is to give them, you guessed it, a pencil.

It’s also a parenting fail. What kind of lackluster parental authority do you possess if you don’t have the upper hand in the post trick-or-treat candy dispersal? It should be a given that mom (and dad) get first dibs on some select items from their kid’s treat haul. This negates the need for a parent to shamefully venture out on Halloween with their own candy bag. Also, for the love of sucrose, why wouldn’t the parent just go the store, buy themselves a 70 piece bag of Hershey’s assorted candy for $8.99, then hid the loot  from their family (my go to is the linen closet because God forbid someone I live with changes their own sheets) and secretly enjoy the sensuous pleasure of eating chocolate alone while watching something shameful on Bravo?

Speaking of chocolate, my trick-or-treat standards also apply to the quality and quantity of the confections. Last year, my daughter had to learn a hard lesson about life. She and her friends insisted on leaving their subdivision and venturing off to what they called the “rich neighborhood.” I tried to warn them that the bigger the houses the less candy. Plus, there’s the time suck of having to walk through all of the estate size yards to reach the front door. This really cuts down on your treat haul. They all looked at me like I was crazy. To them it didn’t make sense. Wouldn’t the bigger house signify that all the candy would be king size? All they could think about was saying hello to extra-large Reese Peanut Cups.

Three hours and a half full candy bag later my daughter arrives home crestfallen. She had to begrudgingly admit (oh the horror) I was right. Not only, were most of the homes “dark,” the universal sign of don’t waste your time knocking on this door but the people who were doling out sweets believed in downsizing their caloric offerings or worse, handed out healthy snacks, as in Whole Food soy treats. This is when I unearthed my secret stash of “me” chocolate, topped off her bag and as we unwrapped Kit Kat’s I shared some cold, hard truths about trick-or-treating.

First, you want to stick to our own hood. The people there know you and are going to give you extra candy because they’ve watched you grow up from Disney Princess to Goth Vampire. Two, the more average the neighbor the more above average the candy. This is where the younger families live. They are 100 percent into Halloween. It’s ground zero for full size candy bars or at the very least, four mini candy bars, of your choice. Lastly, big isn’t always better. Just because it looks like someone has the extra income to spend on upgraded treats doesn’t mean they’re going to open their wallets and go full Hershey bar. They might have all their ready cash tied up in stocks or something.

Lucky for me, this time of year all my assets are in chocolate and my savings account is a Costco size bag of candy in the back of my linen closet.

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. 

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