Posted by: Sue D. Gelber | October 31, 2010

Death Before Reeses

I don’t like Halloween. There, I said it. Now, before someone sends a witch to cast a spell on me, I have to clarify that I am not opposed to Halloween. I would never advocate abolishing it. I love seeing the adorable little children at the door shouting “trick or treat!” I am always especially touched by the very small children, frequently girls dressed as princesses, who are too shy to say anything: they just stand at the door looking bashful, staring at their shoes. Of course, maybe it is not that they are shy, maybe they are in character and know that a real princess should never have to ask for anything. Ever. In that case, good job little girls, I will be sure to look for you on Broadway.

Now, I am not against Halloween. I just don’t especially like it. Even as a kid, I had mixed emotions about it. Sure, I loved the gobs of free candy, but I didn’t love the frightening aspects and I always got a little nervous walking around the neighborhood in the dark. I remember being scared walking up to stranger’s houses, looking over my shoulder to make sure my dad was still in the street to protect me in case a crazed demon answered the door. My favorite part of the holiday was when it was over and I got to go home and spread my candy stash on the floor. I would count the pieces and then start the daunting but wonderful task of dividing them up by type. Sure, trick or treating was scary at times, but it was worth it to get enough candy to tide me over until Spring.

As a grown-up, however, I dislike Halloween because it relentlessly reminds me of three of my shortcomings 1) my lack of creativity 2) my lack of self-discipline and 3) my sensitive emotional constitution (I can’t watch scary movies or else I won’t be able to sleep for weeks). And in recent years, it seems like Halloween has become a bigger deal, almost rivaling Christmas in its buildup, and therefore extending my Season of Inadequacy to several long weeks.

I have a friend who is a Halloween freak and every year I can’t help but admire her enthusiasm. She goes all out. Her house is frequently decorated by sometime in late September. She drags out the scary movies well before then. In fact, she watches horror films year-round. She can quote lines from all the classic flicks. She was quoting something from Amityville Horror to me the other day. Needless to say, I had no idea what she was talking about. Quite honestly, I am jealous that she enjoys Halloween so much.

I, on the other hand, groan when I start to see Halloween decorations in the stores. I dread getting invited to costume parties. When October 31 falls on a weekend, as it does this year, it is even worse, because any and all social gatherings for the weekend are de facto Halloween parties. Every now and then, I manage to pull off a costume I am happy about, but most years I find myself staring into my closet saying “What in the world am I going to wear?”

Then there are the decorations. Fortunately, my kids are now old enough to take over the task, although if we have the dreaded fake spider webs, I am always the one who ends up spending the days of November trying to pick the sticky remnants off the bushes out front. Going for a walk or a run anytime during the month of October seems a little more stressful, as I have to avert my eyes from the gory, bloodied, disembodied fake heads littering lawns. Reading the newspaper is perilous; it is inevitably chock full of stories telling me where I can search for real ghosts, which is quite simply the last thing I would ever want to do. Even the TV is a minefield. I never know when I might inadvertently tune into Night of the Living Dead. To tell the truth, the whole thing just gives me a big headache.

But, like it or not, the calendar rolls to the end of October every year. Every year, I have to come up with a costume idea, even if it feels a little lame and forced. Every year, I find myself  buying candy to hand out to other people’s children while my kids are out collecting candy from other people.

I try to buy candy I hate in order to minimize the risk that I will eat it all myself, but alas, this year my husband went to the store and got some good stuff: Snickers, Milky Ways and the much coveted Reeses. Oh, the temptation.  I am reasonably strong if the bag of candy is unopened. But once the seal has been broken, I am doomed. I hear it calling to me morning, noon and night. No sooner have I finished breakfast then a little voice in my head will say “You know what would go really well with this coffee? A Reeses. Like one of the 30 in the bag in the living room. Just one. One Reeses never hurt anyone. Really. Have one. Go for a run later. It will count as carb loading.” And if I give in, I know it is just a short trip to a completely empty bag. 30 fun size Reeses in one day? No problem. And thus begins the long slow slide towards gaining 10 pounds by the New Year. So while Halloween may bring joy to the hearts of many, to me it brings weight gain and feelings of inadequacy.

Fortunately, this year I managed to come up with a reasonably good costume (it involved wearing a blond wig, which is always fun, although it also involved high heels, which I find painful) and I preemptively stocked the house with high quality chocolate to keep me from digging into the Reeses. If I am going to have the calories, I might as well go for the good stuff, right? So far, I have remained strong. But the night is young, and the will is weak. A Reeses sure would taste good right about now.




  1. SO FUNNY!!! I’m with you …. Don’t enjoy decorating, never liked costumes or costume parties and want to eat all the candy in the house!! Reeeses ….. YUM!!! Have you had any with your morning cup of coffee??!!

    • I have remained strong and avoided the Reeses so far! Not sure how long I can hold out though….

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