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Tricking or Treating

The first fall after I moved into my condo, when October rolled around, I did what every good American did. I bought Halloween candy. I surveyed the options at the store and tried not to be overwhelmed by the variety: chewy, crunchy, gooey, jaw-breaking, sweet, sour, chocolaty, nutty, fruity, and more, in all shapes and sizes. I went for what I considered the “good stuff” – Kit Kats, Snickers, Reese’s Sticks, and Smarties.

On Halloween, I put it all in a big bowl (except for a few pieces I’d sampled – only to make sure it was good enough to hand out, you understand), then waited for kids to show up. A few did, but I was left with quite a lot of candy. The next year I bought less, but I also had fewer visitors, so I ended up in the same situation. This was prior to the change to daylight savings, when it ended before Halloween, which meant finding a way to my door in the darkening afternoon was challenging, and perhaps not worth the effort.

I’ve since given up on buying any candy, since I no longer get trick-or-treaters at all, but I know other people who want some on-hand just in case. Who knows? Perhaps a new family has moved in. And if that lone knock comes at the door, do you really want to be the one to turn away that eager child in fancy dress empty-handed? (My strategy is that I could give them a couple of pieces of my Dove dark chocolates in a worst-case scenario.) The risk of getting a “trick” played on you seems slim these days, but I suppose that’s a remote chance.

The real trick, though, is dealing with the candy at all. For those who buy it in excess, is it just to be safe, or is it because we’re tricking ourselves, saying it’s for the kids when really it’s for us? And if that latter is the case, then we need to perpetuate the myth by eating the candy guiltily, in secret, and if we get through an entire bag before the holiday, replacing it before anyone finds out. I know some people buy candy they don’t really like to try to avoid this – but it may still tempt them, in which case they end up eating something they not only don’t need but don’t even enjoy.

In those cases, the trick is on us. To avoid it, I have a suggestion. Treat yourself. Imagine allowing yourself to eat exactly what you want. Maybe it’s in the Halloween aisle, maybe it’s somewhere else. But whatever it is, remind yourself that you are worth enjoying what you eat, if you’re truly hungry for it. And perhaps, if you fully savor this treat, you won’t be tricked into eating that candy

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