Remember when you were young and Halloween trick-or-treating was one of the highlights of the year?
You would rush home from school and have your mom help you get your costume ready. Some years, that may have included face paint and a wig as part of some elaborate get-up. In other years, your costume may have simply been a plastic mask, plus a bucket or bag to reap the annual haul of candy bars and other goodies that awaited.
There was nothing more exciting than moving across one neighborhood after another, knocking on strangers' doors and waiting to see what they dropped in your bucket or bag.
And there was nothing more disappointing than when you saw one of your neighbors reach for a pencil, or an apple or a $1 gift certificate to a fast-food place.
Seriously, a pencil on Halloween? Your friends are raking in tons of Milky Way and Snickers bars and you have the luck to pick a house that is giving out pencils.
And an apple? C'mon, man! Your mom would make you eat apples and oranges "because they were good for you." You want Milky Ways and Kit Kats on Halloween!
And then there were the dreaded gift certificates, which were no more than ploys by the fast-food conglomerates to get the whole family into the establishment. Yeah, little Stevie may have gotten a $1 gift certificate, but the corporate folks behind them knew mom and/or dad would have to take their beloved son to said establishment -- and that meant the whole family would be spending a lot more than that $1 coupon.
Which brings us to the worst Halloween treats that can be handed out. Feel free to keep this list as a primer if you have not yet decided what to hand out on Halloween later this month:
1. Pencils: Enough already said. Just don't do it.
2. Apples, oranges, etc.: It may sound like a good idea for health reasons, but the truth is by the time the kids get home that night, the fruit will be all beat up and just get pitched anyway.
3. The $1 gift certificates: Unless the gift certificates are for about $25, just keep them and use them yourself. (And if they are for $25, why the heck are you even thinking about handing them out to a bunch of 8-year-old kids?)
4. Boxes of raisins: You know, those little red boxes with that scary-looking woman on the front. They'll be one of the first things thrown away when the kids get home.
5. Good-n-Plenty: The little pieces of elongated candies look so inviting, and then you bite into one. Black licorice. Ugh. Double ugh.
6. Candy corn: These horrible little things are made from a blend of sugar, corn syrup, water, fondant and marshmallows. These things are the equivalent to nuclear waste in a candy sense.
7. Chewing gum: No gum, just candy. If a kid spends a half hour chewing a piece of gum, he's wasting a lot of good candy-eating time.
8. Necco wafers: One critic said these dime-sized pieces of candy taste like pastel dust.
9. Smarties: These are what you get when Necco wafers mate.
10. Flavored Tootsie rolls: If you get a Tootsie Roll that is any flavor other than chocolate, pitch it with the pencils and boxes of raisins.
Another bright side of avoiding giving out treats like the ones mentioned above? You won't have to worry about cleaning up your property after the kids you gave those treats decide to toilet-paper your house.