HG: Annie Payne Column October 25, 2008

Don’t let Halloween sour

ANNIE PAYNE/Special to the Sentinel
Before your children go out for some trick or treating on Halloween, get them to the dinner table for a wholesome meal described in a “mystery menu” that creatively tells what will be served. If you are having spaghetti, change the name to “Worms and Gut Sauce.” The gross-out factor becomes part of the Halloween fun.



I remember a Halloween, sometime during the ’80s. I wore my mother’s pink robe with marabou feather trim, a cardboard crown wrapped in tinfoil, and I carried a blue floral pillowcase I had stripped off the pillow from my bed.

Usually, the kids on our street would just make the loop around our neighborhood on the Redlands.

But, if we were lucky enough to talk one of our parents into driving us over to the nearby neighborhood of Panorama, we could collect triple the candy in half the time.

We were luckier still if we could then go to Monument Village, where it was rumored they passed out full-sized candy bars!

By 10 o’clock the morning after, I almost couldn’t believe it when I reached down into the bottom of my once heavy laden pillowcase to find it completely empty.

What a pathetic sight I must have been — a pink, fuzzy, rumpled mess with a dented and dilapidated crown, having fallen asleep in my costume, surrounded by wrinkled and empty candy wrappers with half a masticated Tootsie Roll in my mouth and the other half stuck to my hair.

I turned my pillowcase inside-out just to find one lonely, crumb- and lint-covered candy corn.

I, 9-year-old Annie Clark, had eaten my weight in candy.

What happened after that, as I am sure you can imagine, was the worst tummy ache in the history of all tummy aches.

I still cannot look at a piece of candy corn without feeling a twinge of shame and regret for that night of bingeing.

I know there are many of you out there who can recall a Halloween from your own childhood when the sugar rush wore off and the gastrointestinal difficulties began.

Having learned my lesson the hard way, I have created a plan to help kids avoid a Montezuma’s Revenge-style Halloween.

The plan is threefold. It’s all about prevention, intervention and moderation.

PREVENTION

The prevention part of my plan consists of pre-trick or treating dinner.

Make sure your little wizards and witches have their stomachs full of “real food,” before their big night of haunting.

Start by setting a fit-for-a-ghoul Halloween table. In order to keep the cost low (heaven knows, I’ve already blown a wad on costumes and candy), I just use my holiday dishes, Halloween decorations I already have on hand and some skull straws and an orange table liner purchased from a dollar store.

Now that the table is set, create “mystery menu” from the meals you were already planning on serving.

If you are having spaghetti, change the name to “Worms and Gut Sauce.” Or, if you are having chili, change the name to “Ground Goblin Brains with Beans.” Just be creative with the names.

If you have young boys, like me, you’ll score extra “cool mom” points for the gross-out factor.

Adding food coloring is another inexpensive, but fun way to add creepiness to your Halloween dinner.

For instance, Black as a Bat Meat Loaf or Purple People Eater Chicken Pot Pie.

With their stomachs full of a spooky, but square meal, a few pieces of candy before bed shouldn’t be a big deal.

INTERVENTION

I recommend that all the household candy go into a communal bowl.

Then (and this is the best part of my plan), mom and dad go through the bowl and pick out any candy that may be “tainted” (i.e.: Snickers, Peanut M&M’s, or Twix). They can keep the Three Muskeeters, in my opinion.

This ought to whittle the cache down quite a bit. What you do with the “tainted” candy is up to you. (Wink)

MODERATION

This is where the final costume of Halloween is donned, that of “Candy Cop.”

Keep your communal candy bowl in a secure area where you, the “Candy Cop,” can dole out a few pieces of candy at a time over the next few days, weeks or months.

Last year, our communal candy bowl lasted us until the day before Christmas. All the “good stuff” was gone the first week.

By December we almost had to force ourselves to finish off the Bit O’ Honeys, Necco Wafers and Boston Baked Beans. Who passes that stuff out anyway?

Tis’ true I have rarely met a piece of candy that my stomach didn’t agree with. But as was proven by
“1980s Annie,” without a little prevention, intervention and moderation, too much of even the best of candies can sour a holiday.

For more on an unpredictable variety of other topics, visit Annie Payne’s “Anniethology” blog online at Anniethology.blogspot.com.

 


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