Halloween is a time of ghosts, ghouls, tricks & treats. But how do you make sure you get more treats than tricks? All Hallow’s Eve may be the candy industry’s Christmas but that doesn’t mean everything they come out with is a good idea. We at the American Candy Council have put together a helpful guide of candies to be wary of, and we don’t mean Mary Janes, Dots, ribbon candy and all those other odd-ball confections you only see this time of year.
First, there are true dangers to be avoided. The urban legend of the razor blade in the apple is a warning to be heeded. However, today psychos are, frankly, getting lazy. With the absence of razor blades there are reports of apples with disposable razors stuck in them. They are a lot easier to spot, and only very dumb kids have any problems with them.
Another problem that plagues the holiday is counterfeit candy. These are cheap knock-offs that attempt to fool the youthful recipients. Common imitation confections include N & Ns, Marred Bars, Milky Wheys, and Two Musketeers that unscrupulous people try to palm off on illiterate children. Read the packaging carefully.
Of course trick-or-treaters often come across items that we at the ACC simply call “bad candy.” Each year candy companies attempt to launch new products and many of these are ill conceived. Cream-style candy corn, for instance. We have yet to find anyone who would even try it, never mind enjoy it. Honestly, any treat that needs to be ladled out into bags is just plain wrong. And the less said about Licorice Floss the better. Flossing with licorice? We were at a lost as to whom this was supposed to appeal to, except maybe dentists trying to drum up business.
There was an attempt to capitalize on the success of such “happy snacks” as Chuckles, Snickers, Almond Joy bars and Ho-Hos. Those items, Guffaws, Chortles and Smirks, were laughed out of the candy store.
Wax Hair-lips were a politically incorrect candy that has somehow worked its way into goodie bags. Also troublesome was the recent creation of French Chocolate Kisses that were pieces of chocolate covered tongue. When banning all things French, these should top the list.
The makers of Gummi bears and Gummi worms brought out a new line of candy last year and it failed. Gummi lice and Gummi silverfish. The term “ick” leaps to mind. Our test kitchen employees still shake their heads over the gum-on-a-stick incident and the dismal Rhesus Monkey Cups, which claimed to be made with “real Rhesus Monkey bits.” Maybe Candy-Corn-on-the-Cob sounded like a good idea, but if opening wrappers is a pain, who wants to be husking ears of candy corn?
Equally bizarre was Oscar Meyer’s attempt to extend its hot dog sales by muscling in on the Halloween season with its introduction of the Hallo-wiener. The black frankfurter (served on an orange bun) was recalled by the government when several ingredients could not be identified. Well, several more than usual concerning hot dogs. Another bad choice by an established manufacturer was Creamy-style Chunkie bars. The whole point of Chunkie bars is to be chunky. What were they thinking?
Always be careful around homemade items, which can be troublesome. It’s not just cookies and popcorn balls anymore. People are attempting to foist soups, dips and packets of sugar upon children. There is a case of a woman who had made caramel-covered jelly doughnuts. Kids did report her to the police, who arrived on the scene, tried a few and asked for the recipe. If a house is handing out jelly beans or candy hearts, that just means they’re cleaning out their cupboards of old candy and you should just skip them.
Naturally, at the end of trick or treating, you should go through your child’s bag of candy and examine the evening’s take. This way you can sort out these unappealing treats and get the really good pieces of candy for yourself before the kiddies scarf them down.
We hope you take heed of these warnings. We do want to promote a safe Halloween and avoid the severity of eggings and T.P.-ing that often accompanies the distribution of these so-called snacks. Halloween should be an innocent time of joy, delight, and the occasional satanic ritual. Happy Halloween, everyone.