By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3
“Hi. My name is Gwen Rockwood, and it’s been two hours and 43 minutes since the last time I stole a miniature Snickers bar from my kids’ stash of Halloween candy.”
If the first step is admitting you have a problem, then fine. I said it. It’s all out on the table now. I can’t stay away from that blasted plastic pumpkin full of candy. And the only thing scarier than October 31st is what the following weeks of a post-Halloween candy-fest can do to a chocoholic’s rear end.
The real issue with the candy and chocolate is “location, location, location.” At any other time of year, I would never have this kind of temptation in the house. I don’t even walk down the candy aisle at the supermarket. I don’t buy the stuff, and I sure don’t bring it home with me. I live by the theory that if it’s not in the house, I can’t eat it. Every other month of the year, this strategy works just fine.
But with three kids ages 7 and under, there’s no avoiding Halloween. Last weekend, our three little candy lovers dressed up and hit the streets with their plastic pumpkin buckets in hand. The boys went dressed as Mario and Luigi – the Italian cartoon brothers made famous in Nintendo games. And their little sister was Little Red Riding Hood, carrying a cute wicker basket just big enough to haul about a billion calories inside it.
When we got home, the boys’ plastic pumpkins and Red Riding Hood’s basket were brimming full of sugary goodness. The kids ate a few things from their stash – some Skittles, a few small packages of M&Ms, some Smarties and a tiny box or two of Nerds candy. Then they lost interest and left their candy stashes behind in the kitchen.
That’s where the problem started. Post-Halloween snacking is really a crime of convenience. All those tiny Snickers bites, the fun-size Twix bars, the cute little Hershey’s bars – they’re all RIGHT HERE, so close I can practically smell the milk chocolate through those flimsy wrappers. I can’t escape them. I swear I can feel them watching me when I’m in the kitchen.
When I try to flee temptation and escape to the family room, I can hear them whispering to me during commercial breaks, luring me back within arm’s reach. Chocolates are sneaky that way.
What I really need is a little support, but Tom is no help whatsoever. The floor around his leather recliner was littered with bite-size Baby Ruth wrappers nearly every night last week. Like so many people with chocolate afflictions, he swears he’s just going to eat one solitary fun-size bar. But then one leads to another which leads to another which leads to “maybe just one more.” Pretty soon we’re in a full-fledged chocolate death spiral. And oh, what a way to go.
The ugly truth is we’re just two chocolate junkies trying to make each other feel better for falling off the healthy eating wagon. Last night we wondered aloud how many of those fun-size candy bars it takes to equal a full-size bar… and then we realized we probably don’t want to know.
After one too many of the tiny candy bars, the self-loathing set in followed by a round of “Why did I let myself do that?” Then Tom and I agreed that we must get the enemy out of the house – the sooner the better. But how? How could we just callously toss out the chocolates our children worked so hard to gather? It seemed so… wrong.
For a minute or two, we considered eating all the little candy bars just to get rid of them and stop the madness. Yes, I know that logic is flawed and ridiculous, but surprisingly it does make perfect sense when you’re high on milk chocolate and caramel. Thankfully, we were strong enough to put them in a cabinet and go to bed, hoping it would be impossible to eat Snickers while unconscious.
I woke up this morning thinking a little more clearly. I know the chocolate has to go – anywhere but here, anywhere but my butt. So I emptied the plastic pumpkin buckets and Red Riding Hood’s basket into an empty grocery sack. I tied the handles into a knot and put the sack in Tom’s car with instructions to take it to his office where the calories will hopefully be more evenly distributed across a large group of people.
Part of me was sad to see that sack of candy drive away, and the other part of me knows it probably didn’t leave soon enough. But at least now we’re free of it – until next year.