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Washington Voices

Avoiding sweets is no easy trick

Sat., Oct. 29, 2011

October is often my month of broken resolutions. Every year I pledge that I won’t binge on bags of individually wrapped candy. I promise I won’t purchase packages off the seasonal sale rack with foolish intentions to save them for pint-sized princesses, small super heroes and the occasional gang of teens in baggy shorts and sweatshirts. “This year,” I assert, “I will clamp down on my sweet tooth. I won’t eat our candy, one mouth-sized morsel at a time.

Then I do.

It usually starts with a mid-afternoon slump. I pull out the step stool and perch precariously, my fingers barely able to reach the bags I’ve instructed my husband to stash on the top shelf, behind the casserole dishes we never use.

I open the bag and take a piece. But Halloween candy isn’t large enough to cover my palm, surely not a serving size. “I’ll only take two,” I mutter. But I leave the rest out, so I can share. With a family of five, if I open one bag, it’s over. Within the week I’m heading back to the store.

And so starts the slide into a sugar-induced stupor that lasts till March. October’s candy leads to November’s pies, December’s candy canes and fudge, January’s hot cocoa with marshmallows and February’s heart-shaped boxes of sweet love.

This is why October is important. If I can hold off now I have hope to wage war against a well-padded winter.

“Buy the candy you don’t like,” a friend suggested. “Then you won’t be tempted to eat it early.”

Excellent advice if they made such a candy. In due diligence, I’ve tried them all. Sweet, sour or salty, if it has sugar I’m sold. I even eat those chalky discs that resemble baby aspirin and I’d probably consume chocolate-covered ants if they were on sale.

“Freeze the candy,” another friend offered, as if turning chocolate into a rock-hard piece of ice milk might help.

This only makes it taste better, which is probably why they use candy to flavor ice cream. It might be harder to chew and occasionally require a trip to the dentist to replace a broken filling, but when you pop a frozen, fun-size chocolate covered nugget into your mouth, it’s a party on your palate.

But I’m getting better. A few years ago I made it till the 31st before buying just enough candy to hand out at the door. With glee, I emptied the bags into my mixing bowl. Then I tucked a few pieces in my pocket to tide us over while we took the kids door-to-door. I’d forgotten this meant no one would be home to hand out treats. Naturally, I put them in the freezer.

Last year I did slightly better when my two older children opted to stay home. How could I know our street wasn’t a popular destination for costumed children? We always go to the grandparents’ neighborhood. When we returned with our 9-year-old, cold and carrying more candy than any third-grader should eat alone, we discovered the kids hadn’t given away more than a handful.

Naturally, I couldn’t let the leftovers spoil.

So, this year I’ve modified my strategy, declaring a boycott on October candy altogether. If my resolve holds till Monday we’ll match the neighbors, turning the porch light off and closing the curtains. And if I make it all the way until Tuesday, I’m going to celebrate. Isn’t that when they put the Halloween candy on clearance?

Reach Spokane Valley resident Jill Barville by email at

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