Perhaps it’s partly because my mother owns a huge antique desk from Milky Way Farm (the former estate of Franklin C. Mars, founder of Mars Candies), but I pay keen attention to the annual flurry of “filler” news items about Halloween candy.
“Prices up or down? What’s hot and what’s not? Should I call my manual laborer cousin and rub this sweet gig in his face or not?”
(Think of the perennial stories as being like the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, except with cavities, tummy aches and hyperactivity.)
According to a survey by the oral care platform Byte (“Rinse, spit, blurt out the name of a favorite candy before cussing and slamming the phone down...”), candy corn is this year’s favorite treat in Ohio and five other states – although a plurality of Americans are ambivalent about the confection and 34 percent actively detest it. (“Let’s drag it to the town square and string it up by its neck with... black licorice! No – stone it with circus peanuts!”)
I happen to like candy corn (although my consumption of it resembles the frustration of trying to eat just one Lay’s potato chip). It gets a bum rap because it’s like a wide-open target in a game of dodgeball. Some candy mogul got cold feet and abandoned all the other candies designed to remind you of the school cafeteria. You know, the Grape Greasy Ladle, Chocolate Hairnets and Sweet-and-Sour Popular Kids’ Table.
As a former geography whiz, I am aware that different states have different ethnic mixes, industries and traditions. But I must confess it bugs me that there is such a wild variation of favorite and least-favorite candies between the states. Are taste buds so sensitive to state borders?
State nicknames must figure in there somewhere. It’s like the Tar Heel State, Wolverine State and Garden State are joined by the “Nougat Is the Spawn of Satan” State or “Almonds Can Bite me” state.
Okay, maybe it is better to have a little diversity rather than allowing one or two populous states dictate what everyone else likes. (“Kids, don’t fret about messy candy wrappers. Tickle your tonsils with the new delivery system: discarded syringes!”)
I’m not the first person to mock the “fun-size” designation for candy bars and I won’t be the last (unless those new hate-crime laws go into effect, incarcerating people who persist in heinous acts such as referring to Butterfinger bars instead of Digital Coordination-Challenged bars).
To me, “fun-size” candy would be Lifesavers you can use as a hula hoop or Twix bars you could wield as a light saber. Razor blades? A fun-size Snickers should be able to accommodate a machete!
According to Byte, a whopping 52 percent of Americans are going to tick off trick-or-treaters by not dispensing treats this Halloween. Official excuses include inflation, “don’t celebrate Halloween” and lingering pandemic fears. Digging deeper brings confessions of “I really need the eggs and toilet paper.”
I hope next year’s filler stories are tame. Alas, the signs are not good, with politics and social trends intruding.
“How many licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? You and your Western European math!”
“Reese’s Pieces? How capitalistic! This piece is your piece, this piece is my piece, from California to the New York Island...”
“Because you demanded it...one musketeer and two self-service musketeers!”
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at email@example.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”