Taking candy from your babies Essay: When kids have more treats than they could possibly eat, and still won't share, it's time to get tricky.

November 04, 1997|By Kevin Cowherd | Kevin Cowherd,SUN STAFF

Halloween is such a sham, not that you ever see this discussed in the popular media.

All the media does is bring you images of well-scrubbed boys and girls in their neat costumes knocking politely on doors and yelling "Trick or treat!" in that adorable, Barney the Dinosaur-ish squeal kids use when they want something.

But it doesn't show you the ugliness that lingers in American households for days after. It doesn't show you the parents shamelessly looting their kids' Halloween stash, furtively lifting a KitKat bar here, a Butterfinger there, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups after that.

The justification for such pillaging generally goes like this: "Oh, Little Susie has plenty of candy, she won't care if I take just one."

Right. Except ... isn't that the way John Dillinger started? He hit one bank and then another and another and pretty soon he couldn't stop himself, it was so easy.

That's pretty much the way it is with KitKat bars, too.

One leads to another and pretty soon you're out in the garage, stuffing them two at a time into your fat little face under a flickering fluorescent bulb while the little dears sit glued to the TV, blissfully watching "Rugrats" and unaware that dear old mom or dad is power-scarfing their goodies once again.

Believe me, I know.

With three young kids, I've been there.

Instead of conducting surreptitious raids on their kids' cache, some parents actually try to wheedle a piece of candy by appealing to the child's generosity and good nature.

But this effort is doomed to failure and inevitably leads to bickering and strained feelings all around.

Because, let's face it, a kid will never willingly give you his primo candy. Peanut M&M's, Nestle's Crunch, two-packs of Oreos -- most kids would rather part with a finger than give up one of these.

If you sing out cheerfully: "Hey, buddy! How 'bout something for your ol' dad?" a child will scowl and begin painstakingly picking through his stash. As if he's doing you a big favor, he'll toss you one of his rejects: sun-dried raisins, caramel popcorn or one of those individually-wrapped yellow butterscotch candies.

Or, God forbid, a Mary Jane.

(Tell me something: is there anyone in the world who actually likes Mary Janes? I'm dead serious about this. Because I have never, ever seen anyone, child or adult, eat a Mary Jane. And yet every kid brings back a dozen of these babies on Halloween, and they sit in his bag for weeks until he finally dumps them on a corner of his desk.

(And because they have the half-life of Strontium-90, the stupid Mary Janes are still there 10 years later when the kid is ready to go off to college, start his first full-time job, or get married.)

Personally, I am not a Mike and Ike guy. I don't much care for Jujyfruits, Sweet Tarts, Good n' Fruity, Nerds or Smarties.

What I am is a stone chocolate junkie. Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Milk Duds, 5th Avenue bars ... sometimes I sit up nights dreaming of getting my hands on this stuff.

Let me tell you how bad my habit is.

If you and I were vacuuming my car and we happened to come across a Hershey's Kiss that one of the kids had dropped behind the seat six months ago, and now it was partially unwrapped and melted and covered with dog hair and lint, I would fight you for it.

If you made a move for that Hershey's Kiss, I would elbow you in the gut and tackle you.

And if you still somehow reached that Hershey's Kiss first, I would stomp on your hand to make you loosen your grip.

And if that didn't work, I would bite you.

Look, I'm not saying I'm proud of the things I'd do for a chocolate fix. I'm just saying that when it comes to this stuff, I am a total, raving lunatic.

And here it is, the long, dark days after Halloween, and the kids are running through the house with bulging bags full of Reese's NutRageous, Twix, Milky Ways, Tootsie Rolls and much, much )) more.

It's like I told them the other night: Just don't turn your back.

Pub Date: 11/04/97

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