WEATHER ALERT

You can have my candy when you pry it out of my zombie hands

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There are only two more sleeps until Halloween, and I think all you protective parents know exactly what that means, don’t you?

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Opinion

There are only two more sleeps until Halloween, and I think all you protective parents know exactly what that means, don’t you?

It means that it’s time to put down this newspaper, hop in your car, drive to the nearest grocery store and buy several metric tonnes of those miniature candy bars, because this is the first Halloween since most pandemic restrictions were put in the rearview mirror, which means there is an excellent chance you are going to be overwhelmed by a ravenous army of little ghouls and goblins, with the odd pint-sized Donald Trump impersonator thrown in for good measure.

This is also the scary time of year when parents are inundated with alarming news reports sporting headlines such as this one from NBC News: “Kids’ candy consumption on Halloween equals three cups of sugar, experts say.”

JUSTIN TANG / CANADIAN PRESS FILES

News reports this week stated that Halloween-loving Canadians will be coughing up more cash this year on treats to hand out to sugar-craving kids.

Or this gravely concerned example from Fox News: “Dentist shares best, worst Halloween candy for your teeth.”

This is the spooky season when we are deluged with reports about misguided groups who rant about the evils of miniature chocolate bars and urge Canadians to offer trick-or-treaters healthier alternatives, such as low-sugar candy, cheese strings, fruit cups, celery and things that are not cloaked in a layer of chocolate-y goodness.

Call me a crusading newspaper columnist with an incredibly sweet tooth if you must, but I do not believe this is the right time to launch a campaign against tooth decay.

I realize that candy may not be especially good for teeth, but, as a famous comedian once pointed out, teeth are not very good for candy, either.

I do not have any scientific evidence to back this claim up, but I don’t think there is much doubt that leftover Halloween candy is easily the most delicious thing in the known universe.

This explains why, like almost everyone else we know, my wife and I purchase enough of those teeny-tiny chocolate bars to feed everyone on the Prairies, even if we are only expecting a modest number of trick-or-treaters to show up on our doorstep.

Again, I do not have medical evidence to back this up, but I believe the main thing we need to be wary of at this spooky time of year is (dramatic pause to heighten the eerie atmosphere) dentists.

For instance, I will never forget one of the Halloweens of my boyhood when a neighbour — this neighbour happened to be a dentist — decided instead of candy, he would hand out toothbrushes and dental floss to the innocent, law-abiding ghouls and goblins who came to his door.

I’m not saying this neighbour faced serious reprisals as a result of this reckless decision, but on the morning after Halloween it was impossible for him to physically leave his house, owing to the fact that it was tightly wrapped in an impenetrable layer of three-ply toilet tissue.

Before you feel sympathetic, allow me to point out that this dentist was also the father of one of my best buddies, and on Halloween night, after trick-or-treating, three of us kids spent the night on a bed in his basement attempting to watch vampire movies on Chiller Thriller Theatre.

After about an hour or so of watching cheesy bloodsuckers drain their victims and hobnob with werewolves and mummies, I casually dropped my sweaty little hand down to reach into a bowl of candy on the floor.

Which is when a big, hairy hand shot out from under the bed, and grabbed me by the arm. Before I could begin shrieking like a wounded woodland creature, from under the bed came a hideous coyote-like howl that split our ears and caused our hearts to erupt from our chests and skitter away out of the room.

I suspect I may have wet myself, while the kid whose house we were in simply jumped up on the bed and began running in place while whimpering in terror, and the third kid (he was the smart one) jumped out of the bed and ran to hide inside the fireplace.

Which was when my buddy’s dad casually slid out from under the bed, where he had been hiding for more than an hour, emitted one last coyote howl, then began laughing so hard that I suspect he may also have wet himself.

If you will recall from earlier in this column, my buddy’s dad just happened to be a dentist. Which, I think, explains why to this very day I struggle with some pretty serious issues around oral health and tooth decay.

I think this also explains why I personally was delighted to read news reports this week stating that Halloween-loving Canadians will be coughing up more cash this year on treats to hand out to sugar-craving kids.

According to a report from HelloSafe — Canada’s leading platform for comparing insurance and personal financial products — Canadians will be spending about $87.60 per person this year on Halloween, 28 per cent more than in 2021.

The big ticket item is costumes, with $41.50 going to cover that, but Canadians will also be spending an average of $22.40 on candy. A reported $486 million in candy will be sold in Canada this month, $101 million more than last year.

Sure, we are still spending less than the $97 each Canadian shelled out on Halloween before the pandemic, but we are heading in the right direction.

Especially if we want to keep our local dentists in business.

dougspeirs65@gmail.com

Doug Speirs

Doug Speirs
Columnist

Doug has held almost every job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.

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