Halloween is six weeks away, and I am very scared. Not of trick-or-treaters coming to my door, or of my car being soaped (even though it needs it).
No, I’m scared that I’ll have to go shopping for something between now and Oct. 31. Because I know that there is no way I can go to any store between now and then without passing pyramids of gaudy “holiday-sized” packs of Halloween candy, costumes, napkins, tablecloths and giant outdoor decorations. What happened to all the costumes and decorations people bought last year? Where did they go?
Yes, it’s convenient to be able to load up my cart with a couple of 3-pound bags of orange-colored candy and pick up a blood-sugar monitor from the same aisle, but is it really good for us? Maybe that explains why so many grocery stores have pharmacies in them now. What if it’s in the store’s best interest to make you sick? It’ll sell you the disease and the cure on the same trip.
Oh, what am I thinking? That’s just crazy talk. No business would give you diabetes on purpose. Would it?
Can all that candy be going to goblins and vampires on Halloween? Not unless people are giving it away by the bagful at every knock of the door. I think much of it is being eaten long before, and after, the holiday. Either way, it had better be gone by the time the Thanksgiving-themed candy and pies start filling up the stores. And all THAT has to be gone before the Christmas cookies arrive, and then THOSE have to be eaten before the Super Bowl snacks show up, and -- well, you get the picture.
Most of us don’t have a problem overeating during the holidays. The problem is that EVERY day has become a holiday. Almost every weekend is an excuse to have a little extra -- a tailgate party, a birthday, a wedding, a graduation, a new job, a vacation -- have another drink, have a piece of cake, a little chocolate chip cookie won’t kill you. Until it does.
To get away from all the holiday sweets, I gave children hard-boiled eggs last year at Halloween. It was a big success! First, the kids got a little accidental protein, and second, I will never, ever have to worry about them coming back to my house again. There is nothing scarier to children than real food.
This year, I’ll be turning out the lights and pretending no one’s home, which should also keep them away. Not that I have anything against kids, but instead of canvassing the neighborhood for sugary snacks, shouldn’t they be out getting some exercise by TP-ing houses? Houses other than mine, of course.
Sometimes I go to my grocery store to buy food, not candy, but it’s getting harder and harder. All I needed last week was olive oil and bread, but the olive oil was next to the seasonal M&Ms and the XXXL children’s clothes, and the bread was next to the fruit-free “froot” roll-ups and cellphone chargers. (Good thing, too. I had to buy a third cellphone charger last week. I left the first one plugged into the wall at a hotel, and the second at a charger station in an airport. Both times, I kept telling myself “Don’t forget the charger!” And I didn’t. I remembered them as soon as it was too late to go back for them.)
They say not to go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. So I ate the last of the Easter candy before I went this time. Besides, I wanted to get rid of it before it went stale. But not being hungry doesn’t stop me from buying kitchen utensils, flowers, Halloween cards, that new vodka that tastes like bubble gum, car wax, hair gel, one of those new razors that make it look as if you haven’t shaved at all, scented candles, a bottle of pills that will help my memory (which, it turns out, I already had a full bottle at home), a DVD of the last Bond movie and some sports socks.
I had to go back an hour later because I forgot to get the chicken I had gone in for.
(Contact Jim Mullen at firstname.lastname@example.org.)