I know that back in the day, kids would go from house to house Trick-or-Treating with a pillowcase to collect candy–not even necessarily wearing costumes. Halloween, as we know it today, began in the 1930s with children receiving homemade cookies and pieces of cake, fruit, nuts, coins, and small toys.
I am working on a legacy project with my husband’s 104-year-old grandpa Matt Hoffman. He really did “trick people who didn’t give out candy! He and his friends would rub a bar of soap on the front window or tip over the family outhouse. They even “tricked” people who gave candy, but didn’t give out the “quality” that was expected. (The shopkeeper down the street at the neighborhood market was seen as a cheapskate and just gave out little hard candies. Her “stinginess” was not appreciated by the local children which included grandpa.)
I wasn’t so decerning when I was young. I usually had a plastic pumpkin to collect my goodies. And, I never “tricked” anyone.
Mom loves to tell the story of the year when I was almost 3. I had on my red winter coat and a plastic witch mask.
Mom stood out in the road as I walked up to the neighbor’s door to get candy. When the big kids left, I hadn’t yet gotten my candy. I waited. Mom waited in the street. The lady opened the door wider to see who else might be on her porch. In doing so, she inadvertently pushed me off the cement landing into the pine shrubs.
Mom thought it was so comical, my expressionless mask staring out of the bushes that she knelt down in the road in her uncontrollable laughter to prevent herself from peeing her pants.
As the years went on, the goal of acquiring as much candy as possible was the goal. Then when I got home, I would sort out my booty into like piles and count all the treats. At this point, I would also sort out the undesirable like tootsie rolls and those yucky peanut butter nuggets wrapped in orange or black paper.
My favorite items were always Almond Joy and Butterfinger. Almond Joy has that sweet coconut yumminess. Butterfinger is crunchy inside with a mild chocolate coating.
But now my Halloween candy happiness has been cut in half.
They changed the recipe for Butterfinger!
The company that made Butterfinger sold the brand, and that company, “reworked the formula to use bigger peanuts, more milk and cocoa, and fewer hydrogenated oils. The new version also no longer incorporates the chemical preservative TBHQ. With these changes, they were shooting for a more chocolate-centric flavor with purer ingredients. The Food & Wine taste test was positive, calling it “less waxy” and “more cocoa forward.” (See here for the full article.)
I pretty much think that it should be illegal to fix, change, or in any way update historic candy recipes. I don’t care if the old recipe contains TBHQ. According to the National Library of Medicine, “Cases of vision disturbances have been reported when humans consume TBHQ. This organization also cites studies that have found TBHQ to cause liver enlargement, neurotoxic effects, convulsions, and paralysis in laboratory animals.” (See here for more information.)
So I eat about 5 mini Butterfinger bars per year…I’m not overly worried about chemical side effects. I don’t care if the new flavor is “peanut-butterier” or more “coco forward” (whatever that means). I like the crunchy, flakey, not-so-peanut-buttery flavor of the original recipe.
So, for Halloween this year, I will continue to purchase bags of candy that I don’t personally enjoy–Snickers, Twix, 3 Musketeers, and Reeses Peanut Butter cups, and now I will add Butterfinger to the list.
Aubrey will still have to share all the Almond Joys she gets with me.
All. Of. Them.