What with my ravenous addiction to sweets, most people who know me now would assume Halloween was my time to shine as a child. However, while I am currently a sugarholic glutton, I was a frugal child. I was so thrifty that I hoarded everything — not just cash. So, while trick-or-treating, I did not allow myself even one lousy box of Mini Whoppers. I would wait until I was home to dump everything out and sort it from my favorites to my least favorites. Then, I could begin eating, but only in that order of worst to best.
Talk about Almond Joyless. It never occurred to me to simply not eat the bad candies. My mouth would water for the Reese’s and Twix (the top tier), but I would shovel in Sweet Tarts and Sixletts in hopes that I could get to at least a Snickers by the end of the week. Of course, every year my jack-o-lantern candy bucket would begin to look disgusting to me. It became a symbol of all the nasty licorice and Russell Stover-brand marshmallow ghosts I forced myself to consume. I would lust after the candy less and less. By March I would finally have access to the cream of the crop — only to find it stale or feel like a freak for packing bat-decorated 100 Grand Bars in my pockets. I would toss it for my Easter haul. Repeat process. — Contributing Writer Alice Stanley
When I was six or seven, my family flew from Boston to California. For long flights, my dad usually bought me Twizzlers at the Hudson News at the airport, but since it was just after Halloween, he told me to bring something from my candy stash. I chose a box of Milk Duds.
There’s a reason they don’t sell Milk Duds at the airport. They’re impossibly chewy, arguably disgusting. When stale, Milk Duds are like chocolate-covered vikings that’ve come to pillage your mouth of all its worth — that worth being your teeth.
On that flight, a Milk Dud claimed one of my loose teeth. I was bleeding all over my seat, and my mother, embarrassed, dragged me to the lavatory. I rinsed my mouth of the caramel and blood and fished my tooth from the center of a chewed up Milk Dud.
You’d think that the six- or seven-year-old version of myself would have the common sense to stop eating the Milk Duds after that. But an insatiable boredom set in around hour three of the flight and I started chewing on the caramels again. This time, the Milk Duds took out a tooth that wasn’t quite ready to go. I bled everywhere.
I returned to the lavatory again, cleaned up, and hoped that my mother hadn’t thrown away my box of Milk Duds. But she had, and even six- or seven-year-old me understood that she had made a good call. — Editor Kevin Nguyen
When I was about six, I had a fairly rough Halloween. Not only had I been genuinely scared by a neighbor’s lifelike Frankenstein display, the combination of the rain and my frayed nerves meant a reduced candy haul. To compensate, my parents gave me the leftover candy at the end of the night. That meant a lot of candy, but of only one type: mini white chocolate bars. Which, at the time, I loved.
So much so, in fact, that I inhaled about twenty or thirty of the things — more white chocolate, by volume, than I’d ever eaten in one sitting, even more than the white chocolate Easter bunny I’d eaten half a year earlier.
After I finished the last one, I began to feel weird. Not nauseous or hyperactive, but a strange combination of overindulgence and disgust, probably not that dissimilar from the feeling that Adam felt after he ate from the tree of knowledge — a confectionary Original Sin, if you like. Maybe that’s going a bit far, but I did not eat white chocolate for almost 15 years after that Halloween. — Assistant Editor Darryl Campbell
When I think back, the first person who sparked my interest in English literature and language as a legitimate field of thought was my 7th grade language arts teacher, Ms. Whaley.
I was a pretty bad student in middle school, but not because my intentions were bad. I was one of those bouncing-off-the-walls-with-too-much-enthusiasm-for-anything-but-school sort of kids. This led to me being the only student in the “honors” program (for kids who cared even a little bit about learning) to not make the “honor roll” (for GPAs 3.0 and up).
Ms. Whaley was the one teacher I didn’t drive completely insane. She, in fact, seemed to like having a constant disruption in her classroom who never did homework. The one example I remember most clearly came when the class was working in groups of four. Instead of helping my group, I was listening to the neighboring foursome. I heard one of the kids try to overreach his young vocabulary, saying, “anec-DOT-ull.”
In my loudest voice, I shouted, “It’s anec-DOTE-ull, you fool!”
Ms. Whaley snapped at me, “Nick, come to my desk.”
I walked over with my head bowed, expecting a deserved reprimand. Ms. Whaley reached into her desk, pulled out a packet of Fun Dip, and handed it to me.
“Very good, Nick.”
Why an adult responsible for shaping young minds would reward such blatant smart-alecking I’ll never understand, but from that point forward I was sold on books, writing, grammar, and the rest of it.
I know that sounds pretty good, but the moral of the story is I owe my English degree, and all the student loan repayments that go with it, to Fun Dip. — Editor Nick Martens