I love candy.
Which means that on Halloween the one with the problem is me. Not my kids. I'm sure someone out there in this phenomenal nation of ours has a, say nine month old, who was permitted to eat his weight in Smarties, but as for my younguns, at 18 months and 3, they're simply too little to gorge. My little girl didn't understand why trick or treating wasn't an eat as you go type deal, so I let her have a cookie and some M&Ms en route, to avoid carrying a fully tantrum-ous Dalmatian from house to house. After dinner, the kids had a few treats, and then I put their stash up high up in a kitchen cabinet. For them it's pretty much out of sight out of mind.
But not for me.
Everyone who knows me knows that I heart candy. Chocolate's okay, but what I like is CANDY- Twizzlers, Mike and Ikes, jelly beans and gummy bears. It is a wonder I have a tooth in my head and don't weigh 300 lbs. If someone could somehow get the vitamins and minerals of veggies, fruits, proteins and whole grains in gummy bears I wouldn't know what to do with myself. Many moons ago, when I was on tour dancing in Germany and discovered Haribo, a colleague said she swore I was going to turn into a gummy bear. And as much as there is is how much I'll eat. Honestly, if you put me in an airplane hangar and filled it with Twizzlers I could eat myself clear in a matter of days.
My kids biggest Halloween problem, therefore, is Mommy appropriating, i.e. eating, their loot.
The October 31st edition of Mamapedia Voices, featured the post What to Do with Halloween Candy by Amy McCarthy of Parenthood.com (http://www.mamapedia.com/voices/what-to-do-with-halloween-candy). I think her suggestions are great, but extremely unfair. Mama needs some candy too! My growing offspring do not need candy, but for this body, #$%& it. And I mean, really, the only way to keep me off candy is to wire my jaws shut. So here are some great ways to keep the Candy Train going for weeks, months even! If you like my piggyback top ten lists, such as Ten Habits of the Mom Who Knows When to Say, "Aw, Fuhgeddaboudit!" and you like candy, you will, to quote Meshell Ndegeocello, dig this like an old soul record!
What to Do with Halloween Candy by Amy McCarthy of Parenthood.com and commentary by yours truly...
1. Recycle it.
P.com: Practice instant recycling. Screen the candy your kids bring home. After throwing away any unwrapped goodies, take out any candy your children don’t like or you don’t want them to have and then send that candy back out the door with other trick-or-treaters.
MNS: Yes, tell the kids that candy is horrible for them, and you will not allow them to spoil their appetites, ruin their teeth and fill their precious growing bodies with rubbish. Leave them with a few pieces that they can have for now. What you don't want them to have, i.e. your favorites, should certainly not go to other people's children. That's just wrong. Recycle it, indeed. Right into your purse.
2. Freeze it.
P.com: Put the chocolate bars right in the freezer to save them for later. Frozen chocolate takes longer to eat, so children can’t wolf it down so quickly.
MNS: This is a marvellous idea. If you're in the Chicago area right now, it's a bit warm out. Chocolate should definitely go in your freezer for now -- of course way in the back, by the mystery meat, where the kids won't see it. As soon as it gets cold again, put it in your car. That way it's frozen and right where you need it for yourself, or, if push comes to shove, as a dose of car ride Stopthatwhiningnow!
3. Bake it.
P.com: You don’t have to freeze the candy to keep it fresh. Kept in an airtight container, it will last long after Halloween. Later, you can bake surprise cupcakes. Push a soft candy into the middle of the batter in each cup before baking. Decorate the icing with more candies. You can also substitute bits of chocolate bars in your favorite chocolate-chip cookie recipe.
MNS: Oooooooh! The thought of a Heath bar chip cookie is making me want to do kartwheels down the street. But, there’s one problem - not eating the candy before the cookies get made. Sure you can put them in an airtight container, but then you’ll be tempted to grab one when temptation strikes. I suggest you hide them, or put them in a safe! Just remember the combination or where you put them so your greedy ass doesn’t wind up with NOTHING!
4. Melt it.
P.com: Save chocolate to bring a taste of summer into your home long after you’ve put away the sunscreen. Melt chocolate for s’mores any time of year. Place a chocolate bar and a marshmallow between two graham crackers on top of a paper towel. Microwave for about 20 seconds.
MNS: Even better, melt it, and on a morning when you can tell it's an “I am the Universe’s Personal Toilet Day,” put it in your 9 a.m. Kahlua coffee. Now if that's not delicious therapy, I don't know what is!
5. Stuff it.
P.com: Gather the leftover goodies and stuff them into a (homemade or store-bought) piñata. Crack the piñata open at Thanksgiving or wait until your child’s birthday.
MNS: Pinata my ass! Stuff that %$&@ right in Mama's mouth!
6. Create it.
P.com: Professional artists create sculptures from candy, why not kids? Make mosaics with hard candy. Cover sturdy cardboard with wax paper, aluminum foil or paper. Then instead of tiles, use candy to create a design and “grout” it with stiff icing. To make sculptures, stick soft candy, apples and marshmallows together with toothpicks.
MNS: That's right, play with your food! Spread it out on the floor and admire the shiny colorful wrappers hiding sweet deliciousness inside. Create a lovely design on the floor. Set the scene for some choreography! Pirouette around the M&Ms; leap over the Snickers! Do x-rolls next to the tootsie rolls! Cabbage patch by the Sour Patch Kids! It’s all good! Once you've worked up a good appetite, dig in. You deserve it!
7. House it.
P.com: After Halloween, kids can’t wait for Christmas. Save Halloween candy for gingerbread houses.
MNS: Another simply brilliant idea. Make a gingerbread house for every room. (No, not the bathroom! Even if that's one of the only places you might get some privacy. As if!) That way you can have some candy no matter where you are in the house. Just make sure to put it on a high shelf, out of the kids' reach, oh, and if you have a bug problem, eat up quickly!
8. Wear it.
P.com: Make a candy necklace. You’ll need an assortment of lollipops and colorful candies with twist-wrap ends to make this idea from the National Confectioners Association. Cut a 14-inch strand of thin twine or fabric ribbon. Tie one end of a wrapper of candy or lollipop stick tightly to one end of ribbon or twine (leave about two inches of ribbon free for tying at the end). Attach candy by knotting the ribbon around the wrapper ends or lollipop sticks until the necklace is complete. Leave two inches at the end. Tie the ends together and wear the latest in edible jewelry!
MNS: Now this is a bit silly. With the way your wardrobe looks you might as well wear sandwich boards that read, I STOLE THESE CLOTHES FROM THE GOODWILL BIN. IN 2003. Why would you want to draw further attention to your Project Shunway style? And as for your kids, do you want them to be teased? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for keeping one’s candy close at hand. Ever hear of bra cups? Sheesh...
9. Decorate it.
P.com: Create Christmas ornaments from candy. To make a train, take a long pack of gum and glue on round candy for wheels, a square piece for a smokestack, and something round for the bell on top. Attach a loop of gold thread or ribbon for hanging. Look at simple geometric illustrations (such as are in coloring books) for other ideas. Coat your ornament with an acrylic sealer so it won’t deteriorate and you don’t draw bugs.
MNS: Sure, I love ornaments and decorations that double as treats! But to put glue on perfectly good gum and hard candy? Simply criminal. That’s what candy canes are for – all near the top of the tree so the kids don’t have to undergo the harrowing process of having dental work on their baby teeth. Really, it’s for the whole family’s benefit. As for mom, what’s a root canal, anyway? You gave birth, didn’t you? You could pass a kidney stone through your nose and go right back to making dinner.
10. Share it.
P.com: Take your leftover candy to the office. Even if your co-workers who are parents are sick of the stuff, chances are your younger colleagues will relish childhood memories as they reach for another Mary Jane or Butterfinger. Or better yet, fill a coffee can with candy and bring it to your local nursing home, homeless shelter or a charity for the staff to enjoy. Add a note that says, “Thanks for all the good work you do.”
MNS: Yes! Gather it all up and put it in a bag. Plan, no resolve, to take this somewhere, but then bingo, you now have car treats! Now you have a sweet friend to calm you as you sit in traffic, circle around the same 4 blocks looking for parking or waiting for Clarita the Club Ho to finish sexting her latest at a red light. In a few weeks your Halloween stash may be gone, but your husband and children are on to you and are staging an intervention.
And not to steal any thunder from the venerable Herman Cain, but if you love candy, and if after yo’ kids went trick or treating you don't have any, don't blame yo' kids, don't blame yo' huzband, blame yo-self!"