It has been quite a few years, decades now, since I have gone trick or treating around my hometown. But even as a young child, my age in single digits, I always had a sinking feeling that my fathers “candy check” at the end of the night had less to do with poison and more to do with the “parental cut” that parents seem to take from their child’s haul.
Now, don’t get me wrong, my father would toss out any suspicious looking candies that may have had their wrapper resealed or opened. He tossed out all the fruit as a precaution because fruit is a really easy way to transmit something harmful if a person had ill intent. And really, FRUIT, it’s Halloween people, be healthy the other 364.
But even with the cursory expelling of suspicious items he still would thumb his way through my upturned pillow case and like a Royal Food Tester whose job was to sample the dishes in order to ensure poison was not present my father would sample some of the candy. Oddly enough, he seemed to only “sample” his favorite candies.
And let’s be serious, real life is rarely like the movies and if there was any poison on or in the candy a person isn’t going to keel over immediately nor is it unlikely they be able to tell if something had been laced to begin with. I mean, if you could taste poison then it would be really easy to avoid.
But even all the way back then I could tell that the candy checking was really a wink wink nudge nudge between my father and I. At 7 years old I knew that once he protected me from all the suspicious candy the actual tasting was for him. I also knew that he had helped me make my costume and patiently walked with me for hours to hundreds of houses…TWICE…yeah…we took Halloween seriously, two costumes so we could hit every neighborhood twice.
I did mention the pillow case right? Yeah, those little plastic pumpkin things just didn’t cut it once I turned 5.
Anyways, even after I grew old enough not to need the chaperone he would still help with my costume and at the end of the night he would still check my candy. Each of us fully aware of what the tasting really was.
Cynically, it was a tax. A candy tax that I owed him for his efforts.
Mafioso-ly, it was a cut. A cut of the haul that I owed my father for protection.
Honestly, he deserved a little bit of the sweetness. I love my dad and for all his help he deserved a little bit of what he helped me get.
And really…I had a LOT of candy and it kept me in sugar till New Years.
So parents…check over your kids candy…get rid of anything that is suspicious.
And if you have a “taste check” don’t think your kids don’t know what you’re really doing. But don’t worry, even if they gripe about it, they get it, and they’re happy to give a little sweetness to you for all you give to them.