Ultimate trick is the scary treat


Obviously, it is never too early for me to start scheming – and worrying – about where my next sugar rush will come from.
In that spirit, and in honor of autumn’s sweet harvest (no not corn and gourds, silly – CANDY corn and chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate) I am moved to make a little autumnal confession.
Scary popcorn balls. You think ghosts and goblins are scary? Me, I’m terrified of popcorn balls. Popcorn balls are a blight that has been perpetuated upon the trick-or-treaters of the world for far too long.
They make raisins and apples look like a really good idea. These dry, tasteless, pseudo-snacks have been dropped into the bags of hapless treat-seekers for years, only to be used as dangerous projectiles or craft supplies in the days following Halloween.
In short, I firmly believe that popcorn balls should be illegal. Granted, they do have some (limited) functionality. I’m thinking of carrying one in my purse instead of pepper spray. Imagine how hard I could whip one at a potential assailant!
My luck, I’d hit some hapless bystander, thus becoming liable for some poor, innocent person being felled in their prime by a sticky vegetable ball of doom. That fear perfectly sums up my popcorn ball stance.
What are they good for? Popcorn balls: unsafe at any speed. Of course, in the interest of fairness, it must be noted that popcorn balls aren’t pure evil. They do work well for things like propping open doors, make good baseballs, and I firmly believe dentists hand them out in a shameless bid to recruit new patients.
Of course, when it comes to popcorn balls v. candy, we are really comparing apples and oranges.
And who in their right mind would give out apples and oranges when they know that any parent who sees that fruit in a kids’ bag will immediately hack the thing to bits in search of the elusive rusty razor blade of urban legend?
X-ray your candy. Granted, many local hospitals will helpfully offer to X-ray your fruit for you – presumably to catch any errant razor blades or pins.
Trust me, I don’t want to spend time in the ER when I have an actual bone sticking out. I really find it hard to imagine that I’ll ever need an apple that bad.
Of course, that forbidden fruit pales in the comparison to celery and carrot sticks. Yes, you heard me right, little bags of sliced vegetables are gaining a foothold on Halloween. Frankly, that’s just cruel.
I mean, raisins can be given with at least a modicum of good intention (“They’re nature’s candy” and all that drivel) but you have to be some kind of twisted maniac to push celery on the unsuspecting, costumed masses.
Circus peanuts. Of course, on the other end of the food spectrum, and offering not a speck of nutritional value, we have the scourge of the circus peanut. Nearly every child in America has been subjected to this pasty foam terror at some point in youth.
Interestingly enough, despite the fun sounding name, circus peanuts taste nothing like peanuts. Nor, coincidentally, do they taste like the circus. Though in all fairness I’ve yet to lick a clown or an elephant, so I can’t be 100 percent sure.
What are they? Scientists are unsure, but they appear to be fashioned of some kind of waste product derived from the byproduct of nuclear power. Think of them as a seriously misguided attempt at better living through bad chemistry.
Of course, even the worst ideas in the world will have a few proponents and circus peanuts are no exception.
Best served stale. I have it on good authority, from the one and only circus peanut aficionado who would speak on record, that circus peanuts, like Peeps, are best served stale.
Which, coincidentally, has been the state of every single popcorn ball I’ve ever had the misfortune to eat.
A popcorn ball loving friend (I run with a bad crowd) recently noted that it appears that no one makes popcorn balls anymore. She surmised this to be due to tampering worries. Me, I’m not buying it.
Landfill material. I think the reason nobody makes them anymore is because they’ve been discovered in landfills 50 years later, still perfectly coated in candy shellac, a few circus peanuts stuck to the impenetrable outer shell.
Be afraid my friends. Be very afraid.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt prefers gummy bears. She welcomes comments (even from popcorn ball lovers) at kfs@epohi.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460 or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.