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Well, it's that time of year again! No, not the time when little ones get dressed up as their favorite superhero/princess/ villain/female impersonator to dash across the neighborhood and obtain the most Halloween candy on the block.

I'm talking about the time after that. You know -- once the children snuggle under their quilts after a long night of trick-or-treating,


dreams of the chocolate and caramel wonders floating in their heads. It's the time when mothers and fathers, and even some older siblings, knowingly break the Eighth Commandment.

It's the time when Good Halloween Candy is taken.

It starts out with a Fun Size Milky Way or Hershey bar that they don't think their children will notice has disappeared. Then, to their (and their children's) shock and


dismay, the Hershey and Milky Way bars are all gone. So, they go after the Nestle Crunch and 100 Grand bars; those disappear as well. Soon, their children have nothing left in their bags but a six-month supply of Dum Dum Pops and SweeTarts.

Don't shake your head in denial. You know you've done it. You know because older family members have done it at one time or another since the first piece of chocolate with a nougat center fell into the first trick-or-treat sack.

In the absence of children, parents don't even refute candy theft. Dave, a co-worker didn't even flinch when confronted with the notion that he takes the Good Candy from his son. "Yes, I have taken some pieces," Dave confessed in an instant message. "Between the Nestle and the M&M/Mars ones, I'd be more likely to pick the latter."

Another colleague, Tom, also took the Good Candy, and did it right in front of his children. "We separate the chocolate candy from the hard candies and gum, put the chocolate into Tupperware containers, and place the containers in the freezer." His kids are left with only the hard candies and gum. When asked if his children ever got any of the chocolate candy, Tom replied with a smile, "No, that candy was for my wife and me."

Further confirmation of this annual phenomenon can be found at any local supermarket or big-box store in October. Scanning the prices and quantities of the candy being sold, one can construct the Good Candy Pyramid.

The Good Candy Pyramid

The top tier on the Pyramid is mostly any product made by Hershey or M&M/Mars (except for Hershey Whoppers and Milk Duds -- see below for more information). This is the candy that most trick-or-treaters anticipate, and cherish like fine jewelry when it is


received. It is also the candy that comes in the smallest quantity.

A 20-count bag of Hershey or M&M/Mars candies go for about $2. Providing 100 Hershey bars to the throngs of pirates and princesses knocking down your door will run you about $10. If you wanted to vary the Hershey treats given out (Hershey bars, Reese's Cups, Kit Kats, Peppermint Patties), you have to shell out $16 for two 50-piece bags.

The next tier on the Pyramid would be any chocolate candy from the Nestle brand (this does not include Wonka brands, which are mentioned below). Normally, when all of the M&M's and Resse's Peanut Butter Cups are gone the Nestle Crunch, 100 Grand, and Baby Ruth bars are the next to be eliminated from the Halloween stash. While they are on the tier below Hershey and M&M/Mars, they are comparable in price. In terms of cost, a 100 piece bag of snack-size Crunch, Baby Ruth and Butterfinger bars costs about the same as the higher-end Hershey and M&M/Mars candy.

Whereas the first two tiers of the Pyramid were for those candies of quality, not quantity, the reverse can be said once we reach the


third tier, which is reserved for chocolate candy existing in something other than bar format. This includes most of the Tootsie family (Rolls, Pops and Juniors) as well as Whoppers and Milk Duds - two members of the Hershey brand family. And yes, though Whoppers and Milk Duds are Hershey candies, they are not as popular among the kids (or their parents) as even Mounds or Almond Joy. A 75-piece bag of Whoppers and Milk Duds cost less than $4. And as the cost-conscious well know, a four-pound bag of Tootsie candy can be had for about $7. A relative bargain, for candy that's not that good.

At the fourth tier the land of chocolate is left behind, while the kingdom of the hard candy beckons the trick-or-treater ahead. The biggest bargain for the buck can be achieved when buying Halloween candy in this tier. Items at this level consist of most of the Wonka line of candy (Bottlecaps, Gobbstoppers), Smarties, SweeTarts, Airheads (what the heck is THAT candy?), anything from the LifeSavers brand, Mike & Ikes and Hot Tamales. Also included are the jelled candies such as Tootsie's Dots. Most of these items can be purchased in bags of 100 to 300 pieces for, again, less than $7. But what grownup eats that stuff?

The final tier -- Dum Dum Pops. Those tiny little lollipops that every bank gives out on a daily basis are a steal at $3 for a 300 count bag. Also lump in any other generic lollipops that a child is given, as well as Jolly Ranchers, bubble gum, candy corn, pixie sticks, and any other candy that I cannot remember. An adult with a primitive palette can find a bag of a couple hundred pieces for less than $2.

So what does any candy connoisseur do at this troublesome time of year? Mix bargains with bourgeoisie sensibility of course. Get that five-pound bag of Smarties for $2. And then spend another $2 on a bag of Milky Ways for yourself. Your kids will thank you.


Rich Kelly takes candy from babies. But only the good kind.