The Food Column: Ghosts of Halloween Candies Past

Three Halloween witches having trick-or-treat walk

One of the few Halloweens I remember from my childhood was when I was around five or six. My Mom made an “I Dream of Jeannie” costume for me, but instead of being pink like Jeannie’s, it was blue and green like her “evil” sister’s (Jeanie II). Needless to say, I was a little upset, but got over it because I looked cute and—though the top was totally see-through, and I was completely embarrassed and self-conscious about my nonexistent chest showing—I loved it. 

I remember trick-or-treating that Halloween (in the dark) with my friends, running around the neighborhood screaming and laughing, racing up to doors, knocking and chanting “trick or treat!” Sometimes we’d sneak in, “trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!” followed by giggles and a reprimand if a parent heard us.

We didn’t have trick or treat bags, just a big old pillowcase we’d lug around hoping to fill with candy, then eat as much as we could before racing home to empty it on the living room floor to start comparing and maybe trading.

My most cherished candies (besides chocolate bars) were Dum Dums and Smarties.

Dum Dums are so small and cute and I could eat one really fast before my folks noticed and took my candy away. They come in a variety of flavors and, in my mind, were hard to come by, so they were very special. My most coveted flavors were (and still are) cream soda and root beer. I liked Smarties because I could wrap and unwrap them endlessly, eat them one, two or three at a time, pretend they were medicine and, being small, they had an excellent hiding-from-parents’ factor. 

They never melted in my pockets or got sticky, so were a great choice for saving to eat at a later date—which I did a lot of, because what wasn’t eaten that night was usually confiscated by Dad the next day. Hideable candy was a premium. I normally hid said Halloween candy in my closet in aforementioned pillow case; chocolate bars would have to be eaten first as they got stale pretty quickly. By December, all the Three Musketeers (my beloved Three Musketeers… I’d peel off the outer chocolate coating, leaving the gooey center naked, and/or lick out the marshmellowy center first), Milky Ways, Mars, Hershey’s and 100 Grand Bars (another favorite—I’d break the candy in half, slowly pulling it apart, caramel stretching between the two pieces, just like the commercial) were long gone. That left teeth-sticking Milk Duds, Bit-O-Honey (pulled out a filling), chewy Tootsie Rolls, Boston Baked Beans, Dots, Good & Plenty, Bottle Caps, Razzles, Sixlets, Pixy Stix and whatever else I hadn’t eaten for after the new year. That is, unless Mom or Dad cleaned my room, found my illegal Halloween contraband candy, repossessed it and ate it themselves. That could very easily happen (and did) if I didn’t share the stash with my little tattle-tale brother. Oh, those memories!