Yes, I know, I’m a little slow on the draw. Halloween has come and gone, and in fact Thanksgiving has now come and gone as well. Christmas is just three weeks away. (Eek!) I’ve been a slacker about dumping my Halloween story out of my brain and finally got around to it. Better late than never, as they say.
I didn’t plan to be at home this Halloween, so I didn’t bother buying candy for the neighborhood munchkins. Besides, we don’t typically get a lot of trick-or-treaters, so even when I have purchased candy in the past, all that sugar and fat usually ends up getting eaten by me. I’m sure you’ve been there… We usually don’t get (m)any trick-or-treaters, but I’d better get some candy *just in case.*
Well, this year my brain didn’t ever have a “just in case” moment because I was “certain” I wouldn’t be at home. So of course I found myself at home “by accident” right at the time of trick-or-treating. But still, I was sure we wouldn’t have any chilluns knocking at our door. It was cold, windy, and a bit rainy, so I didn’t run out to the local Walgreen’s to grab up armfuls of Snickers, Kit Kats, and peanut M&Ms (cuz, you know, if they didn’t come, I’d wanna have my favorites within arm’s reach) like I did last year.
Just about the time I finished my fist-pump, thinking I was in the clear and had made it almost to the end of the designated trick-or-treating fanfare of the year, there came a loud knock. Crap. Maybe if I’m quiet they’ll go away. Yeah, I know. That’s rude. But I didn’t have any candy, so. Louder knock. Lights were on, so somebody’s home, right? I slid into the kitchen and flung open the cabinet door to see what I could come up with. Jackpot. I grabbed the bin and quickly made my way to the door.
An adorable little fairy and her slightly older brother, Luke Skywalker, stood before me, eyes fixed on the box of treasure I clutched to my chest. They repeated for the umpteenth time the catch-phrase of the day. I heard “Trick-or-Eat!!” It was crystal clear and I obliged. I put a would-be hot, hearty meal in a cello-sealed bag into each of their grubby little paws: ramen. Luke was off his game and didn’t pay attention. He said his “thank you,” turned on his boot heel and marched down the steps to his parents, who stood shivering in the cold. Tinkerbell, on the other hand, sassy even at a mere 3’ish years old, best I could guess anyway, inspected the package, turning it over in her hand. The only resemblance to a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup was that the package was orange. Her eyes lifted without moving her head, looking up at me from under her brow. Clearly unimpressed, her expression said it all: Are you fucking kidding me, lady? “You’re welcome,” I said, and closed the door. Of course she didn’t actually say that, but she obviously didn’t fully appreciate this random act of kindness.
I thought it was genius. Never mind that it wasn’t a premeditated “treat” – this was probably the best idea I ever had for Halloween. (Except for that time in high school when two friends and I went to school dressed as prostitutes. Or the time in college that my roommate and I thought it would awesome to carve out a watermelon and fill it with Everclear.)
Think about it. Kids get pounds of candy every year. It’s disgusting, really. Loads of sugar and fat, and for the sake of argument, I’m gonna say that most kids never eat all of the candy they collect. Oh sure, they hoard it and keep it from their siblings and parents because “it’s mine!!” But I don’t think any kid ever eats all of their Halloween candy. Let’s face it. No one wants to eat all of those Tootsie Rolls.
And at the end of the two-hour stint, what parent wants to go home and make dinner? Bam! Dinner is literally in the bag. But what about all the sodium and MSG?! you ask? Yes, well there’s that. While MSG is also disgusting, let’s weigh the pros and cons. Here’s this 10-pound bag of sugar, corn syrup, fat, and god knows what else, then there’s this 3 ounce package of dried noodle food(ish) with a small serving of chemical-laden monosodium glutamate in a foil-sealed pouch. The reality is that that stuff is so potent, there’s probably less than a teaspoon of it. But still, it’s one lousy meal. (Granted, the emphasis is on “lousy.”) Now you tell me: which is more disgusting at that point in time when the parents are “done” with Halloween?
You may be wondering why I even have (had, actually, at this point, because I haven’t replenished the meager supply) ramen in my cabinet, because I am the very first to admit that it is a disgusting food-ish product and is laden with chemicals, grossness, and poor nutrition. Here is why: 1) For the very reason I described above – it’s an emergency provision. 2) It’s one godawful meal in a sea of many, many good, nutritious meals and ain’t nobody gonna die from one package of ramen. 3) That shit is cheap! 4) When all else fails and there’s nothing in the fridge and nothing else in Mama Hubbard’s cupboard, dinner can be had in 3 minutes. Three minutes, people. Hot ‘n ready. Besides, it’s some weird stand-by comfort food my daughter likes on occasion. Don’t ask me why, because I really do think it’s an unhealthy bag of dehydrated sponge with a side of sodium, and I don’t want (or let) her eat it on a regular basis, but once in a great while? Who cares? It’s one less meal I have to cook. Just like the night of Tom & Jerry, I just look the other way when she makes it.
Of course, there is no escaping that aroma…