Haunted Halloween Candy
The season of Excessive Consumption is upon us, preceded by the month of Meaningful Worries and followed up with the weeks of Staggering Stuff. Usually my anxiety about winter holidays holds off until mid November but this year, Halloween candy is haunting me.
Off the bat (Halloween pun?), let me be clear that I believe a day or two of sugary indulgence is not the end of the world for my girl Lil. We serve healthy food on a regular basis and sweets really are 'sometimes foods' in our home.
Besides, we temper the candy feasting with creative and educational pursuits like costume design and creation, making decorations, picking and carving pumpkins, and roasting seeds. There's a lot more to Halloween than one night of trick-or-treating.
However, I am increasingly concerned not only with the locality and quality of ingredients but the treatment of labor used to plant, harvest and process foodstuffs. Sugar and chocolate, components of many candies, are conventionally made with notorious disregard for farm workers.
I choose to purchase fair trade labeled coffee, baking chocolate, sugar, and spices for our home kitchen. Though no food label is perfect, the fair trade standards give me some security that my family is not benefiting from the destruction of another.
If I were to hand out a fair trade chocolate bar (just one mini size piece) to the hundreds of beggars who visit our neighborhood, I could easily spend over $100. Lil is tired of the organic lollipops we usually give away, wanting something more mainstream. She has rejected my non-candy suggestions. Our compromise this year may be food-dye laden, but at least made in North America, Smarties.
Moving on to the next ghoul: the candy haul Lil brings home. In previous years, the excitement of costumes and decorations at a few houses was enough to thrill her. I can see in her glistening-like-a-candy-wrapper eyes that this year, she expects to fill her basket.
Like I said before, I'm not afraid of an evening's sugar buzz. Between her distaste for anything containing nuts or having too chewy or sticky a texture, she dismisses much of her beggar's night haul without prompting.
But what do we do with the rejected haul? Alex and I certainly don't want to consume all the additives in common candies. Plus, when I eat sweets, I feel a sugar high and dip faster than a bat darts through our alley.
We could pass the excess candy off to Alex's office, but he frequently complains about the high level of obesity in his workplace. Donating to a food pantry makes me feel equally guilty. No one should eat this stuff.
Do we throw it away? That seems like a senseless waste of all the resources necessary to grow, process, and package the junk.
I have no solutions to the creepy side of Halloween candy. Are you haunted too? To show that I'm not a complete treatophobe, take a listen to one of my favorite songs of late, Sweet Tooth performed by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch.