By Jodi A. Shaw
Navigating your way through the grocery store requires slightly more skill than usual this time of year. Maneuvering the cart around the mountains of Hallowe’en candy displayed in the entryway and randomly throughout the store becomes an exercise in both agility and self-restraint.
On my routine weekend trip to the Co-Op, I finally gave in. A box of 125 tiny, assorted chocolate bars for $14? Score one for my budget, and another for the kids who would soon be trooping up to my door.
I contemplated the cheaper, less palatable candy, but quickly recalled the childhood disappointment I felt each Hallowe’en when I sat, post-treating, and picked Sun-Maid raisins, Hallowe’en Kisses, and candy corn out of my loot. I opted for the $14 box despite the heads-up from another customer that Wal-Mart offers an identical product for $9.97.
At home, I treated myself to a couple bites, and noticed how much smaller they seemed compared to what I remember from my trick-or-treating days. I know I’m an adult and I know Hallowe’en is for kids, but little by little Hallowe’en is getting less thrilling. But look on the bright side: while the shrinking portions and the bloated price is an obvious strategy to increase profits, it comes with an interesting side effect.
In an age where kids are inactive and overweight, the less candy they get, the better. I’m almost tempted to defend trick-or-treating because at least the kids aren’t parked in front of the TV eating junk food and are up and moving around. In pursuit of copious amounts of candy, at least they’re putting some miles on their sneakers.
But as for me . . . Every time I walk through the kitchen I grab a mini chocolate (or three) and the guilt is getting heavy. As an adult, and the only person responsible for my health and well-being, I am always aware of the consequences of what I put in my mouth, so I’ve got a few extra sit-ups to do and a few extra kilometers to run. And then I’m going to dole this stuff out to kids?
Clumps and blobs of high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, fat, preservatives, colouring in shiny wrappers — Candy: the kids are coming for it.
It’s not cost-effective to hand out toothbrushes and skipping ropes, but I feel awful contributing to and encouraging over-consumption of unhealthy edibles. At the same time, if I give them something “healthy” to gnaw on, I expect they’ll just pick it out of their bags and give it to their parents, just as I used to.
I wish I hadn’t wasted $14 on the box of Cadbury. I had good intentions and was looking forward to seeing all the costumes at my door on October 31st, but I think this year I’m going to exercise real good intentions and keep my lights off and my door closed.