The good stuff: Trick-or-treaters discuss candy cravings
Today is Halloween, which means trick-or-treaters will come calling around dusk.
Chances are you've already done some shopping and stocked up on treats for those young witches, warlocks, princesses and rock stars who will ring your doorbell tonight. But the truth of the matter is, if you purchased candy in advance, someone in your household likely got ahold of it and now there's nothing left to hand out. Or, you were smart enough to know that was going to happen and intentionally kept it out of the house until now.
Either way, you may be doing some last-minute shopping today.
Still, the task isn't as simple as it sounds. Upon entering any retail store in the area, you'll find multiple aisles overflowing with bags of sugar in one form or another. The candy ranges from bite size to fun size to snack size, and comes in a bag of one variety or a combination of several.
How do you know whether to pick up the 160-piece mixed selection that offers four different kinds of Reese's, the smaller packs of Skittles and Starburst or the "super-jumbo" bag that combines fruity and chocolaty into a single purchase? The possibilities can be daunting.
Instead of taking a shot in the dark and grabbing the first thing you see, take some tips from the trick-or-treaters themselves -- they know what's best when candy is concerned.
Stick to the routine
When little tykes go out trick-or-treating, they expect they'll get some candy out of the experience. If you're hoping to use Halloween as an opportunity to teach kids about dental hygiene -- just don't. The trick-or-treaters won't be nearly as enthusiastic about a it as you are.
"That wouldn't be really exciting," 5-year-old Molly Reynolds said with a hint of confusion in her voice, probably wondering who would ever consider such a thing.
Don't try to tweak tradition. Instead, put away the toothbrushes and travel-size tubes of Crest that you've been collecting for this occasion and splurge on some sweets.
The only way you could get away with mixing up the usual trick-or-treat routine is by throwing in a scary tactic as soon as you hear a group of ghosts and goblins coming up the driveway.
Not all kids will appreciate it, but some said they actually like to get tricked.
"And treated," 7-year-old Riley Prahl added, making an excellent point.
If you're going to make kids cry with an all-too-lifelike zombie ensemble, the least you can do is toss them a peanut butter cup afterward.
Keep it simple
Based on the opinions of the newest crop of trick-or-treaters, simpler is better. Cross the Baby Ruths, Pay Days and Almond Joys off of your shopping list.
"I don't like to get walnuts and I don't like to get peanuts," 5-year-old Cameron Johnholtz said.
Six-year-old Annabelle Marshall agreed, saying her least favorite type of candy is anything with peanuts in it.
Johnholtz is partial to plain milk chocolate. It's the primary thing he searches for when rummaging through his loot at the end of the night, and the main thing he's after when trading treats with friends.
"I want to get more Hershey bars," he said.
Plain is popular for other types of candy as well. Five-year-old Molly Reynolds, who will be dressed up as Strawberry Shortcake for Halloween, can't wait to get her hands on some original M&M's.
"I love getting M&M's," Reynolds said, her face lighting up just thinking about it. "The ones with chocolate in them."
Looks like the younger generation isn't as taken with newfangled treats as one might think. The classics are still going strong so stock up on them and you'll be the hit of the neighborhood.
Steer clear of sour
The kids seem to agree: If a sweet is too sweet, there's nothing sweet about it.
When the amount of sugar in a single piece of candy is so high the candy is classified as sour, it's a no-go.
"I hate sour. It's too sour," 5-year-old Hannah Tomanek-Titus put it simply.
Size doesn't matter
Of course a child's eyes are going to get huge when they see a full size candy bar being handed to them, but many of them welcome a variety. So what should you pick up when you stop by the store?
"The big ones and the small ones," advised 4-year-old Indy Judd.
The mini candy bars are perfect for kids to pop in their mouths between houses. After all, who doesn't sneak a treat or two along the way?
Snack sizes, however, are slightly more satisfying. They at least have two bites to them.
Ultimately, the larger candy will make you the most popular. You can bet that not a single kid will ever turn down a full size candy bar, and they'll also never forget who hands those out.
"At the end of the night we always go to those houses," remembered Marshall, who will be dressed up as a bride this year.
Candy isn't everything
Sure, sugar can put a smile on any trick-or-treater's face. But believe it or not, they aren't all about the candy.
"I'd rather just have a little toy," Johnholtz said.
"I got one little toy once but I throwed it in the junk garbage. Just have candy," Tomanek-Titus recommended.
You may want to consider covering both bases and getting a variety of things to hand out. Dollar sections of retail stores often have inexpensive toys that provide the perfect supplement to a trick-or-treater's ever-growing stash of sweets.
Not only will their parents thank you, but the children will get a chance to remember Halloween by something other than the toothache they experience the next day.