People always assume that because my birthday is the day before Halloween that I automatically love it. But nothing could be further from the truth. Even as a child I couldn’t stand the idea of walking from door to door begging people for candy. I didn’t even really like candy all that much. I still don’t. As a matter of fact I pretty much hate and resent candy because it’s become such the symbol in America of what childhood is.
If all we can give our children is candy, then what kind of message are we sending them? What hope do we have for establishing wonderful relationships with them?
So in the last few years I was walking around with some friends and their kids on Halloween. It’s one of those things that now as a parent I feel obliged to participate in. But luckily for the most part our community is not very junk food focused. So while all the parents allow their kids to go Trick or Treating, they grab the candy from their kids before they can eat too much of it and get sick. It’s done in a much more tactful way that doesn’t make the kids feel deprive, but that’s the end result anyway.
Any case I’m walking around with my friends and we’re discussing why kids can’t get homemade treats at Halloween like they did back in the 1970s and early 80s when we were kids. What happened to the candied apples? What happened to all the other homemade treats like muffins and cupcakes and things that people used to give out when we were kids? Razor blades and needles in candy! Yes, I’m serious. Someone trying to kill kids eating their candy. As if the sugar wouldn’t put a premature end to their young lives anyway!
At that moment, it occurred to me that this whole thing about razor blades in the candy was a lie. Not only had I NEVER met anyone or a distant relative or friend of anyone who had gotten a freaking razor blade in their apple, but I had never met anyone who knew someone who was caught putting this stuff in there. In almost 30 years! In fact I’ve spoken to many, many people about this over the years and NOBODY knows someone who knows anyone involved in this kind of depravity.
Then I realized that this had everything to do with a lie spread by candy making companies. The Reagan years ushered in a lot of dangerous moves on American health including, but not limited to the proliferation of soy sludge in the food supply, widespread use of vegetable oils, and bringing aspartame to market despite public outcry against it.
It was during this time that we were told all of these things about this dangerous objects being in children’s candy. And what was the directive? To buy only candy that had been wrapped in sealed in plastic packages yes that’s right the stuff of what filled with high fructose corn syrup that destroyed the health of children like me and children of children like me for years and decades to come. Yes, I fear that the whole thing about how only giving our kids candy that is professionally wrapped in some far off factory was just a hoax to get us to stop giving them items made with love and care and resort to giving them high fructose corn syrup on a stick.