Sunday, October 30, 2011

On Halloween, The Scary Witch is Giving Out Apples

Here's the irony. On Halloween, we buy candy by the bagfuls and give it to the little costumed children who ring the doorbell. Sugary treats that we know aren't good for the little ones are de rigueur. But if we offer a delicious in-season apple instead, we are suspect.

Now I have proposed via my neighborhood listserv that I am going to offer apples and other non-sugary treats to my little tricksters tomorrow night and you'd have thought I was the evil wicked witch of the west.

In fact, I am a witch again this year. It's my favorite costume because I look good in black and because my new hat, picked from a bin at Value Village, becomes me in an ever so wizardry way. It has a dramatic black feather at its brim and a crazy crocked peak.

I went out witching last night at a neighborhood party. A witch gets dressed up for parties by wearing plenty of beads down her elegant velvetine front and drinks rich red Pinot from a skeletal plastic wine goblet. And after imbibing a few, she gets to giggling. Witches hate to be sober especially at the annual neighborhood haunted house party, where down in the basement we creep around in a maze of white sheets and ghoulies and ghosties jump out and grab you and make you laugh even harder, when you aren't screaming.

Well, the kiddies were all dressed in their adorable costumes and I'm sure they are psyched to come knocking tomorrow night, but the subject came up among the adults of what we'll treat our tricksters and that turned out to be rather amusing.

I am giving out apples, said me, the witch. No more sugar, I announced. The stuff is poison. My husband, the lawyer, immediately cautioned me that if anything should happen, i.e. somewhere a child is poisoned by some evil pensioner with a penchant for picking off children using sparkling red apples, I would be suspect. Alas, I countered, let's fact-check it. What if it's a myth? But a neighbor warned that if said child were poisoned and the authorities searched my computer and turned up evidence that I was Googling the words apples and razors, this evidence would send me to the state penitentiary for life.

So sure enough, it turns out according to Snopes,com and Wikipedia, that all those much feared reports of razor blade-infested apples and pin-filled, poison-injected candies that we heard about in the 1970s and 1980s, none of it ever happened. All the safe trick or treating in shopping malls and the X-raying of candy bags at police stations, the media reports, fear mongering, worrying about the safety of our little ones on the one night when we allow them to gorge themselves on sugar is all for naught.

Wait. What? Sugar. Now is that stuff safe? The jury's out on that right now. But it isn't looking good for King Sugar, which, especially if it's fructose, might cause metabolic syndrome and "trigger the process that leads to heart disease, diabetes and obesity," according to the New York Time's 2009 article "Is Sugar Toxic?" by Gary Taubes.

So evil witch that I am, I'm going to be giving out apples and nuts and dried fruits. There are some sugars in those, of course, but likely those are far less insidious and less intensive than the ones housed in the Snickers, the Babe Ruth's, the Tootsie Rolls and the Sweet Tarts that our little kids will bring home in bagfuls. My contribution will be the shiny red apple. Happy Halloween! The Putterer

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