There are two really important holidays on a kid's calendar: Christmas and Halloween. Sure, you might argue that Fourth of July should be on there (you get to blow stuff up), but no one really looks forward to it all year the same way.
But those days can easily be ruined. On Christmas, all it takes is to open a package of socks and underwear. On Halloween, there are always neighbors who offer up some awful treats.
Can candy truly be awful? Yeah. Unfortunately it can. And it's usually a matter of people deciding to go cheap. While Old Mrs. Fenstermacher might save a couple bucks buying hard candy rather than chocolate bars, it does nothing for her neighborhood cred. And it just wrecks Halloween for everyone else.
So whether you're in the mood to reflect on your own youthful trick-or-treating or just want some candy pointers to avoid ending up on the trick side of the equation this year, let's unwrap the five worst Halloween treats ...
No. 5: Smarties
Who thought these up? Smarties are those multicolored round candies that are packaged in a roll. You pull both ends of the cellophane wrapper and the fruit-flavored candies fall out.
Oh, yeah, and they have the texture of baby aspirin.
Now, it is true -- some people do like Smarties. But on the whole, when you look at your trick-or-treating haul, these are usually the last things that get eaten.
Receiving them isn't enough for kids to go back to the offender's house with a bag of dog poop and a lighter, but no one ever opens their bag and exclaims, "Oh, yay! Smarties!"
No one looks forward to dumping their haul out on the living room floor and having a Smarties section to their sort pile.
The same can be said for our next strange Halloween "treat" ...
No. 4: Circus Peanuts
Circus Peanuts are the red headed step-cousins of the Easter favorite, Peeps. But while Peeps can get away with it (they are dipped in sparkly, pastel sugar) Circus Peanuts are a harder sell.
These things are hard, banana-flavored marshmallows, colored orange, and shaped like huge peanuts. The words that describe these things don't even go together.
I guess it could be argued that since they were invented in the 1800s, there is some nostalgic value. But you know what else they had in the 1800s? Polio.
While Circus Peanuts are a disappointment, they aren't without their redemption -- in the 1960s, General Mills discovered that by modifying the recipe a bit, they could be added to breakfast cereal, giving the world Lucky Charms. Since then, Americans have never been fatter or had more cases of Type II diabetes.
But, at least Circus Peanuts are candy, unlike our next treat ...
No. 3: Apples
Apples are bad giveaways for a couple of reasons: First, they aren't candy.
Sure, you can argue that people give out apples because they are healthy and won't rot your teeth. And that's fine, hippies, but we get plenty of fruit the rest of the year. Tonight is all about unhealthy, dentist-be-damned refined sugar.
Second, it's really just a waste, because no one eats the apple.
Forget that it's fruit and it's an insult, but even the kids who might eat them are hovered over by protective parents who are looking for hidden razor blades and syringe needles that you obviously planted in the apples to maim the children. (Never mind that if you did that, everyone would know who gave out the Death Apples, so it would be the easiest crime to solve, but we digress).
Suffice it to say, there's a time and place for apples, it's just not Halloween.
The same can be said for our next selection ...
No. 2: Raisins
As if apples weren't insulting enough, some people even have the guts to give out raisins. Let that sink in for a minute: Raisins ... and in those little, tiny, hard to access boxes to boot.
You want kids to be healthy, and that's great -- just not tonight. Tonight is about sugar and high fructose corny syrup, and everyone gets that. Even that smelly old cat lady who gave out the Smarties is on board.
If nothing else, think about your own children. They have to ride the bus with the other kids, and no one is going to be forgiving about the raisins, so come Nov. 1, your kids will pay the price.
But, if you're weird enough to give out raisins, you probably do other weird stuff that your kids are already paying the price for.
The point is this: Raisins are horrible. Let the parents worry about their kids rotting teeth.
Of course, there is one thing worse than giving out raisins for Halloween ...
No. 1: Pennies
At least the preceding two entries (apples and raisins) are arguably still treats. They can be eaten. They still are terrible Halloween treats, but it's better than our No. 1: Pennies.
It would be different if kids were given bags willed with five dollars in pennies, but instead these Halloween treat offenders tape together five pennies and send us on our way. A whole nickel, huh? Gee, thanks.
We can't think of a faster way to get your house egged back to the Stone Age. At least the Halloween community largely ignores the people who turn off their porch light and don't recognize the holiday.