I have the most horrendous sweet tooth. As will be evidenced by this blog post. You have been forewarned.
Candy cigarettes were one of my ultimate favorites as a child. I would ride around on my bicycle, pretending it was my car, “cruising,” all while pretending to puff away on a candy cigarette. Horrible, right? Can you believe I have never once taken even one puff of a real cigarette? Well, it’s true. So, it apparently wasn’t all that horrible. Most people would say that this candy tasted chalky, and it did. That was the best part of it! Would you believe that they peddle these as candy sticks now? Perhaps children would be more inclined to smoke later on in life because of candy cigarettes, but what are the statistics on children who became vampires from eating and playing with waxed fangs? I make light, seriously kids, don’t smoke, it’s gross. In fact, you can still get authentic candy cigarettes online from several different sites. (Sidenote: They also kind of remind me of the disk-like candy that tasted like Pepto-Bismal. I don’t remember the name of it, but I remember always wanting one of the small bags of them when I would go to the grocery store with my Mom. Anyone remember what those were called and if you can still get them?)
Pixy Stix must be one of the best candies, in my humble opinion. It was originally a drink mix in the 1930s, and later marketed as a candy in 1952. And no wonder, it’s pure crack. . err, sugar. You tear off the end of the paper, tilt your head back, and relish in the joy as the sugary powder sifts across your tongue, touching each plain of taste buds. You come away from the experience with a discolored tongue and probably having eaten the slightest bit of paper, seeing as it always got a little soggy from savoring it. I thoroughly enjoy, and freak some friends out by, eating the giant Pixy Stix. All of it. In one sitting. The giant plastic container is multi-faceted, it doubles as a very tall, very gaping straw. (Good for those extra, extra tall glasses, like the ones sold in Las Vegas. Just sayin’.) Smarties and sweet tarts are molded versions of this buzz inducing treat.
Fun Dip, well, is pure sugar too. And the stick, is chalky tasting, so this is the best of both candies above. Discoloring tongues, lips, teeth, and fingers since 1927. There is no disguising having just eaten this. Makes it really difficult to be a Fun Dip thief. (My fingers aren’t green, what are you talking about?) It’s tempting to eat the stick straight out, but you have to contain your hunger for it, so you can get all the powder out of the package. And I do mean ALL the powder. It’s difficult to work the stick down into the corners, but how can you let any of it go to waste? Once every speck of sugar has been stuck to the stick and savored by your tongue, then begins the indulging of that simple white utensil. You can either let it dissolve in your mouth or you can take bites, letting the crunchy, crumbly goodness satisfy your taste buds.
Remember that old urban legend that you weren’t supposed to eat Pop Rocks and drink soda or your insides would explode? Any candy that has a rumor like that attached to it, has to be good. Indeed, it is. A few years ago, a friend and I went to the drive-in and stocked up on candy for the outing. Pop rocks were along for the ride. Neither of us had had them in a long time, and they caused us to have fits of laughter, to where we almost spit them out. I had forgotten that sensation of them popping and cracking in your mouth. It was a good time. However, my friend found them all over his car the next day. Those things are tiny, and easy to spill, especially in the dark. And since its introduction in 1956, no one has exploded. You can sleep soundly tonight.
Since 1980, Big League Chew (which apparently, for some reason, hasn’t been politically correct . . .ed? Like poor candy cigarettes.), was great fun, as well. Dipping into the shavings of gum, stuffing it in your mouth while causing a slip of drool to slide out of the corner, and after some major effort of chewing, working on the biggest bubble you’ve ever encountered. Along these same lines, I often reminisce about the stick of gum that came in a packet of baseball cards. (Yes, I collected baseball cards. Could I have been more of a tomboy?) I remember unwrapping those cards to that smell of the stick of gum, the powdery residue that filtered out, and how hard it was. But some how, it just tasted perfect, and the texture and the crack of it as you bit into it was superb.
Tootsie Rolls have been around since 1896. It’s no wonder they have stood the test of time, they are chocolate, they are chewy, and they have an enchanting simplicity about them. They may get stuck in your teeth, and they probably sit like a rock in your intestines, but man oh man are they delicious. I have been known to eat the whole bag. In one day. (See, I told you I have a terrible sweet tooth.) If you leave these just sitting around and you invite me over, you can bet there will be none left by the time I leave. I don’t mean to be rude or greedy, but they’re addicting, I can’t eat just one or two. . .or ten.
There is so much mouthwatering candy out there, and plenty that adults enjoy as well. Think Snickers, Reece’s, etc, but these are a few that I remember from my childhood that most adults thought were pretty gross and most have been around for an impressive length of time. Not to mention Tootsie and Blow Pops, Dum Dum Pops, candy necklaces, and Laffy Taffy. No one should be eating this stuff everyday, all the time, but a bit of indulgence occasionally shouldn’t be a crime (who are you to judge me!).
There is a push toward cutting out sugar and eating healthier, and that is definitely a very good and wise thing, but with Halloween upon us, please don’t give out toothbrushes or apples or raisins. Seriously. If there is one day that should be okay to indulge, it is Halloween. Don’t disappoint a child (or forever become that lame neighbor) by giving them some “this is good for you” treat, because that is no treat at all. A treat is something you don’t get often, or that is considered an indulgence.
Try and remember when you were a child and the euphoria you felt when you would put on your costume, trek around the neighborhood, ring doorbells and knock on doors, holding out your bucket or pillowcase for generous hands to drop goodies inside, until finally you made it home. You couldn’t wait to get inside and dump out the wrapped and boxed morsels, rummaging through the contents of your night’s labors to see what treasures you were given. And there you would behold your stock of candy supply for months to come.
Give a child today the same chance. Do it for the children.