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Trick or sweet

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The look on my wife's face told me that she didn't think handing out sugar packets at Halloween would be as funny in practice as it sounded in conversation.

"But Chris, I'll have honey packets and cane sugar packets for the granola kids."

No. Instead we handed out Hershey bars and chocolate-coated caramel globes with foil wrappers that look like bloodshot eyeballs. They're called "Creepy Peepers." Yum, yum.

Some of the ingredients of Creepy Peepers, in descending quantities: sugar, partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, corn syrup, invert sugar, cocoa, skim milk, whey, lactose, emulsifiers, artificial flavors, salt and assorted chemicals.

I can see her point. Handing out packets of beet sugar, cane sugar and bee's honey would be bad.

To no one's surprise, Chris was right and the Creepy Peepers were a hit. Various ghouls, pirates, princesses and even a Jeannie (as in I Dream of... ) sought out eyeballs as word spread. One kid even sauntered back from the curb to our porch and in his best Oliver Twist voice told us he "didn't get an eyeball" as he handed back the Hershey bar.

One older kid, when asked whom he was dressed as, shrugged, said, "A high school student," and held out his crinkling paper bag with an indifferent air of entitlement.

"No eyeball for you."

The grace stolen from the evening by the Walking UnDressed was returned by two little girls with homemade costumes--"Heidi" in a linen vest laced up with a blue satin ribbon and her sister made up as a purple lizard with a spiny ridge down her back.

Despite my preferred plan for sucrose delivery getting deep-sixed, this Halloween went more smoothly than last year's. Though, it also had its moment of night-flowering grace.

Both my wife and I had spaced out buying candy. I was home alone when the first trick 'r treaters rang the bell. I saw them through the window and bolted for the kitchen saying "shitshitshitshit" under my breath as I scavenged through every cupboard looking for candy. Best I could do was a bowl of granola bars, some fruit leather and a pack of Nabs.

"The little beggars can't be choosers," I assured myself.

Some kids were excited by the fruit leather. No one actually complained. I even had one of the granola bars myself between visitations. That could've led to my own fall from Halloween grace.

After an hour of sporadic visits, I was down to the last three granola bars. The doorbell rang. Out the window were four kids. Ugh.

I felt so guilty.

"OK, I'm running low, so let the little kids go first." Three grabs and three thankyews later there remained on the porch one boy of about 11--dressed as a wizard I think. Before I could say "Sorry," he goes, "You're out of candy." He reaches into his bag, conjures up a big fistful of suckers, gum and candy, dumps them into my bowl, turns to leave, wings a "Happy Halloween" over his shoulder and is gone.

I was speechless, frozen by a spell.

With this magical resupply, I satisfied a few more rounds of candy fiends and actually ended the night with more goodies--and better goodies, depending on your standards--than I started with.

A little sucrose for the soul, all around.

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