Two little green faces stared down at me, each with an identical smirk. I reached to the top shelf of the cupboard and grabbed the kids’ Jack O’ Lantern Hallowe’en baskets. It’s that time of the year when I toss out their uneaten year-old candy to prepare for the next batch of dye-laden, sugary treats. As I dumped the inflexible gummy worms and licorice into the trash I thought about Jasmine, the little girl who lived down the street in my old neighbourhood. During my walks I would occasionally encounter her on her front lawn. I would always stop and talk as she always had a good story to tell. One October she confided that her mother would never allow her and her sisters to keep any of the candy they collected on Hallowe’en nights. Instead, she hid it away in a cupboard to inflict on unsuspecting trick-or-treaters the following year. Re-gifted candy! Candy in the trash! I can’t believe that Hallowe’en, one of my most treasured childhood celebrations, has come to this. Hallowe’en was the one night out of the year where a kid got to don a vampire costume and suck free candy out of the entire neighbourhood. This was one special night; a night like none other. The problem with Hallowe’en today isn’t so much that kids are dressing up like Hannah Montana and prancing around the neighbourhood in search of more candy than the whole cast of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” can consume in a year. It’s the pre-Hallowe’en activities that start in the middle of October. It’s the school parties; it’s the community centre and shopping mall celebrations, all dishing out Chupa Chups and Snickers like there’s no S’more tomorrow. Not only that, it’s the readily available candy that’s not kept in check (or not kept in Jasmine’s mom’s cupboard) all year ‘round for kids to indulge in. This isn’t just bad for kids. Now that I have my own children, I know all too well the temptations parents face, of wanting to reach their chubby fingers into their kid’s bag of Butterfingers. Now I know where my Coffee Crisps went! And I always thought it was my brother.
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