Journal entry: October 31, 1975 (age 6) – Halloween Candy
Tonight, when I got home from trick-or-treating, the rubber band on my Spider-Man mask was starting to hurt my ears, so I took it off and set it on the kitchen table. I set it face down, so I could use it as a receptacle for one of my piles of Halloween candy. It was time for my favorite part of Halloween: the obsessive sorting and categorizing of the candy. I have five categories, from best to worst.
WICKED AWESOME – Smarties and M&Ms are my favorites, partly because they allow me to organize within the candy itself, creating a hierarchy of colors or “the perfect mouthful” – containing one of each. At school yesterday, some of the cute girls in my kindergarten class were wearing candy necklaces. I have already begun lobbying my mom to make me a Dracula costume for next year.
AWESOME – A 3 Musketeers bar is like porridge that’s a little too cold. A Snickers bar is like porridge that’s a little too hot. A Milky Way bar is just right. I would include it in my list of best candies, but I have some lingering concerns about the origins and long-term effects of nougat.
I’LL STILL HAVE SOME IN MARCH – When I get down to the dregs of my Halloween candy, a three-course meal might consist of a Zagnut, a Butterfinger, and a Clark Bar. Sure, I’ll eat a box of Junior Mints, but I won’t really enjoy it. Sugar Daddies tend to pile up, because they take too much time and effort to eat. The makers of Necco Wafers hold the dubious distinction of producing something only slightly less bland than Communion wafers. But you get more than one, which feels naughty. That same feeling is the only appeal of candy cigarettes. (I may be ahead of my time, but I bet I could make a lot of money if I came up with a gum that looks like chewing tobacco.)
“HE LIKES IT – HEY MIKEY!” – These are the candies that one weird kid in the neighborhood likes, so you can trade them for something good. I used to like Pop Rocks, but then I heard that Mikey from the Life cereal commercials washed some of them down with soda, and his head exploded. Carbonation kills. I don’t enjoy burning pain in my mouth, so I also avoid Red Hots, Atomic Fireballs, Big Red gum, and those red-and-white Starlight Mints they hand out in restaurants. Ditto for sour candy like Lemon Heads and sour gumballs. (There is one notable exception, made possible by the sweet part of the SweeTART.)
THE FRUITCAKES OF OCTOBER – These are the candies that I believe no one, anywhere, ever eats. Nik-L-Nips are tiny wax bottles with a desert raindrop of flavored syrup inside. To get the syrup, you have to bite off the wax top of the bottle. Then, once you haven’t enjoyed the micro-squirt, you’re supposed to chew the empty wax bottle. Mmm…flavorless gum. (The slight variant known as Wax Lips is better, because there’s something fun about sucking juice out of the lips on your face.) Gummi Bears combine the texture of wet cartilage with the shape of a threatening forest creature. The world would be a better place if all the Gummi Bears were rounded up and dropped deep in the woods to survive off every existing Bit-O-Honey.