October 2010

Things to Do with Your Halloween Candy

If you’ve got a truckload of treats from Halloween (or you’re about to get one), investing them into cavities and stomachaches probably isn’t high on your to-do list. Fear not, candy-addled friend; there are plenty of other ways to enjoy your candy (while you keep your favorites to yourself, of course). Here is a quick list of things to do with your Halloween treats.

Divide them into little bags and give them to your friends.

Use them for party favors.

Use it as stocking stuffers—for your kids and family or for people you have to buy for elsewhere.

Send it in a care package to the troops.

Leave them as little gifts for random people—on a bus seat, for the waitress, etc. Staple a fun quote to the baggie if you like.

Make holiday decorations with the candy.

5 Gum React Fruit

I hate it when I have to eat my words. 

It wasn't so long ago that I basically said, "If you're chewing gum as a dessert, how very sad your life must be."

But guess what?  I have been chewing gum as a dessert.  I know, right?!  CRAZY.

I always like to have some gum on hand.  It's partly just an old habit from back when I was a smoker.  Because WOW, my breath by the middle of the afternoon would get to a point where it even offended me. 

Add in some coffee breath, and you've got yourself a real taste sensation right there.

Cinnamon Bears

I'm not honestly a big fan of cinnamon flavored things.  For one thing, I am not a masochist.  It takes surprisingly little heat before my eyes start watering. 

I was never one of those kids in high school who kept a little bottle of cinnamon oil in a pocket, along with a supply of toothpicks. 

You know the kids I mean: adventurous kids.  Daredevils.  The kind who today no doubt spend a lot of time recreating stunts from the Jackass movies, despite the explicit legal warnings. 

These were kids who laughed at legal warnings, and I have no doubt they do so still.

10 Alternatives to Halloween Candy

While kids certainly like getting Halloween candy every year, we know it’s not the best thing in the world for them. From obesity issues to cavities, fair trade issues to simple commercialized candy (Disney princesses, Dora the Explorer, etc.), candy can present a problem. And it’s not like kids aren’t going to get any; as long as they go trick-or-treating, they’re going to get candy! So if you want to do something different, you’re certainly more than welcome to do so. (We gave out bubbles last year and they were a big hit; kids wanted to blow them right away and exclaimed over them much more excitedly than anything else I’d witnessed all night.) Here are a few alternatives you might want to include.

10. Bubbles

Like I said, they are a hit—especially with young children.

9. Craft Kits

Five Russell Stover Halloween Chocolates

Russell Stover remains one of America's premium chocolate brands, which is kind of funny, since I associate it with decidedly low-rent drug stores.  At least out here in the Northwest, you can really only buy Russell Stover stuff at places like Rite Aid and Walgreen's. 

Nevertheless, every major candy holiday I always make it a point to swing through a drug store and pick up some of the latest and greatest treats.  This Halloween I found several Russell Stover candies that I hadn't seen before.  Let's get to it!

Russell Stover Marshmallow Football

Marshmallow Peeps

I understand a lot of non-Americans are left baffled by our annual Peeps freak-out.  Culturally, we collectively lose our **** over Peeps in springtime, when we celebrate Easter.  But Peeps are also increasingly available for other holidays, as well. 


Frankly, I’m on the fence about this.  On the one hand, it seems to diminish the Peep when it isn’t a special treat you have to wait all year to buy. 

On the other hand, I like Peeps a lot, and would eat them daily if I thought my pancreas could handle the strain.

Natural Vines Black Licorice

My local Safeway store is now carrying Natural Vines, which is both the best and the worst news I've heard in a long time.

I have been hunting Natural Vines ever since I heard about them earlier this summer.  I had begun to despair of ever finding any "in the wild."  Then this weekend as I studied the candy aisle looking for something new, my eye strayed to the verrrry top-most shelf.  Lo and behold, Natural Vines!

Natural Vines are made by the American Licorice Company, which is perhaps better known for its flagship product: Red Vines.  Red Vines are already doing pretty good in the ingredients department, with a short list of only five ingredients: corn syrup, wheat flour, citric acid, artificial flavor, and Red 40.