Why Candy Tastes Better When It’s Free (or Stolen From Your Kids)

NOTE: This is a reposting of a piece I wrote a few years ago. Consider it a public service announcement on how to steal candy from children…

There is only one thing that tastes better than free candy. And that is candy you steal from your children. Candy you take out of your child’s Halloween stash somehow tastes sweeter, lasts longer, and seems less caloric than candy begotten from other means. I rationalize stealing my kids candy in two ways:

1. I think of it as a luxury tax. I bought the costume. I took them around from house to house. And I will most certainly have to deal with the consequences of their massive bellyaches once they’ve snarfed down eleven pounds of candy in half an hour. The way I see it, I deserve a percentage of net sales.

2. I tell myself I’m doing it for them. No responsible parent would allow their children to eat triple their body weight in sugar, would they?. By dipping into their supply, I am actually protecting them. I am being a good parent. I am acting righteously. (Refer to earlier post on How to Feel Righteous Everyday: A Cheater’s Guide).

But beware: Once children reach the age of four (or possibly a precocious three) they will protect their candy with their lives. If you are going to be successful in your quest, you must have a game plan. You must shut out all thoughts of selflessness and altruism. You must come prepared for battle. Here are a few bits of advice to help you along the way:

  • When they dump their candy out on the floor to bask in its gluttonous glory, take note of any doubles and triples. Start with these items first. The earlier you can extract them, the better.
  • Never, ever make the mistake of asking or worse, saying something like, “Let’s see, what do we have here…” This causes instant foodstress in kids and puts them on the defensive. You want them unaware.
  • Tell them you have to check the candy for razor blades or other forms of tampering. The only way to know for sure is to test it out yourself. That’ll buy you at least a couple of pieces – but won’t work forever. Most kids I know would rather risk being poisoned than give away their Halloween candy.
  • You can always pull the classic, “Look over there! Is that The Great Pumpkin?” and while their sweet little heads are turned, you swipe a bag of M&Ms or a Payday (if you roll with peanuts).
  • Don’t be greedy. Never take the King Size Twix or the cute little homemade marshmallow pops the Martha-wanna-be down the street gave out. You’ll get busted for sure. Stick to the common stuff – your Hershey’s mini’s, your individually wrapped licorice, your Tootsie rolls, etc.
  • Obviously, when they are at school and/or asleep, you have free reign to pillage at will. But be aware that some children take inventory and will know when something goes missing. You will pay the price in shame if you get caught. And possibly in actual candy as well. I’ll admit I had to do some re-stocking during the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup binge of ’08.
  • Kids fear the unknown food. Play upon their natural pickiness. You can pull out the lesser-known Skor bar and say, “You don’t like this, do you?” and before they even know what hit them you’re enjoying that rich toffee goodness.

Best of luck in your efforts tonight… Happy hunting and Happy Halloween!

 

 

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Why Candy Tastes Better When It’s Free (or Stolen From Your Kids)

There is only one thing that tastes better than free candy. And that is free candy you steal from your children. Candy you take out of your child’s Halloween stash somehow tastes sweeter, lasts longer, and seems less caloric than candy begotten from other means. I rationalize stealing my kids candy in two ways:

1. I think of it as a luxury tax. I bought the costume. I took them around from house to house. And I will most certainly have to deal with the consequences of their massive bellyaches once they’ve snarfed down eleven pounds of candy in half an hour. The way I see it, I deserve a percentage of net sales.

2. I tell myself I’m doing it for them. No responsible parent would allow their children to eat triple their body weight in sugar, would they?. By dipping into their supply, I am actually protecting them. I am being a good parent. I am acting righteously. (Refer to earlier post on How to Feel Righteous Everyday: A Cheater’s Guide).

But beware: Once children reach the age of four (or possibly a precocious three) they will protect their candy with their lives. If you are going to be successful in your quest, you must have a game plan. You must shut out all thoughts of selflessness and altruism. You must come prepared for battle. Here are a few bits of advice to help you along the way:

  • When they dump their candy out on the floor to bask in its gluttonous glory, take note of any doubles and triples. Start with these items first. The earlier you can extract them, the better.
  • Never, ever make the mistake of asking or worse, saying something like, “Let’s see, what do we have here…” This causes instant foodstress in kids and puts them on the defensive. You want them unaware.
  • Tell them you have to check the candy for razor blades or other forms of tampering. The only way to know for sure is to test it out yourself. That’ll buy you at least a couple of pieces – but won’t work forever. Most kids I know would rather risk being poisoned than give away their Halloween candy.
  • You can always pull the classic, “Look over there! Is that The Great Pumpkin?” and while their sweet little heads are turned, you swipe a bag of M&Ms or a Payday (if you roll with peanuts).
  • Don’t be greedy. Never take the King Size Twix or the cute little homemade marshmallow pops the Martha-wanna-be down the street gave out. You’ll get busted for sure. Stick to the common stuff – your Hershey’s mini’s, your individually wrapped licorice, your Tootsie rolls, etc.
  • Obviously, when they are at school and/or asleep, you have free reign to pillage at will. But be aware that some children take inventory and will know when something goes missing. You will pay the price in shame if you get caught. And possibly in actual candy as well. I’ll admit I had to do some re-stocking during the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup binge of ’08.
  • Kids fear the unknown food. Play upon their natural pickiness. You can pull out the lesser-known Skor bar and say, “You don’t like this, do you?” and before they even know what hit them you’re enjoying that rich toffee goodness.

Best of luck in your efforts tonight… Happy hunting and Happy Halloween!

 

 


Conquering The Beast

I’m afraid that I’m kind of a scaredy cat. I’m not paralyzed by fear –just generally wary, mostly of things having to do with high speeds, heights, the dark, and/or threat of mortal peril. I don’t walk around town wearing a helmet anything, but I am not what you would call a risk taker either. I’ve never ridden a roller coaster. I’ve never gone white water rafting. I’ve never been in a hot air balloon or a helicopter. I’ve never gone bungee jumping. Never gone sky diving, wind surfing, or even parasailing.

Most of the time this is okay with me. After all, somebody has to stay behind to hold the coats while everyone else is off riding the Screaming Death Loop.

But there is a part of me that wonders if I’m missing out by always taking the safe route.  As I get older, I find myself thinking that maybe only doing what feels safe and comfortable is kind of cop-out? Maybe it’s just plain boring? Maybe being so rigid when it comes to doing things outside of my comfort zone ends up limiting my range of experiences and therefore my enjoyment of life? Usually, I have these thoughts in brief snippets at times when my most perilous choice is between red or white.

But I was faced with such a choice this weekend while in Kansas City with three of my dearest friends for a girl’s weekend away. After dinner on Saturday night, the girls thought it would be fun to go to one of Kansas City’s famed haunted houses. The destination in question was The Beast, a four-story “open format” haunted house in which you have to find your way through an abandoned warehouse while being chased by werewolves, chainsaw wielding maniacs, and zombies who pop out of the darkness and scare the s*** out of you. The whole thing culminates at the exit, which is a four-story slide straight down.

I told them I would hold their coats.

The over-developed part of my brain that specializes in rationalizations told my friends (and myself for that matter), “It’s not that I’m scared to go – I just don’t want to go. I just don’t enjoy that kind of thing.”  I mean why would I want to do that when I could be sitting in a hotel lounge somewhere listening to music and sipping a cocktail, right? Being the good friends they are, they were going to let me sit it out. But then a funny thing happened. I started to want to go. I suppose it could have been peer pressure, but I don’t think that was it. It was more like disappointment in myself for wimping out, yet again.

So after having a drink at the bar, it was decided that all four of us would go together. We hopped in a cab to the sketchy part of town, paid the rather exorbitant entrance fee, and took on The Beast. We spent the next 45 minutes shuffling through the warehouse in our high heels (a rookie mistake) with all 8 of our arms linked together tighter than bark on a tree. The four of us screamed at the top of our lungs while gory, spooky creatures jumped out of the blackness and chased us through the winding, fog-machine-fog filled rooms.  We were all screaming, yelling, laughing, slightly sweating, and one of us (you know who you are) was cussing like a drunken sailor. We were, in other words, having a wonderful time.

After we conquered The Beast, we felt like rock stars. Never mind that as we left  we saw many of our fellow Beast Slayers being picked up by their moms in minivans. Never mind that it took nearly 20 minutes for my heart rate to come back to normal. I felt brave! Not just for getting through the haunted house without soiling myself, but because I didn’t let being afraid stop me from doing it. And I’m so glad I did it. It even made me feel a little righteous. I know it was only a haunted house. And I know most people have this experience by the time they are 14, but I always thought I was too chicken to do something like that. And that night, I wasn’t. It felt good.

Immediately upon leaving The Beast, we went out for a celebratory glass of champagne at a little piano bar called The Cigar Box, a throwback to the old lounges of back-in-the-day, complete with a crooner covering Frank Sinatra tunes while wearing a silk-shirt-and-smoking jacket combo and one of the worst toupees you’ve ever seen. We sat there for the rest of the night laughing about our experience with The Beast, feeling like we were kids again – blithe, fearless, and silly.

The best part was that in the end, The Beast wasn’t even the scariest thing we saw that night. That toupee was downright frightening.