Waxing nostalgic about Halloween candy

Published 11:23 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2012

For some youngsters, Halloween is about the costumes. For other children, Halloween is about the candy.
For me, back when I was a towheaded young’un, Halloween was about the candy. OK. Even now, it’s about the candy — not so much eating it, but more along the lines of the variety.
During those Halloweens from about 1958 to 1967 (I would have ranged in age from 3 to 12), I looked forward to getting my hands on those edible red, wax lips, those edible wax fangs (Dracula style) and those pumpkin-orange wax pan flutes, which were more about eating than playing. Those wax flutes had a sweet flavor, just like the wax lips. I also looked forward to getting in a good supply of Bazooka Joe bubble gum. Remember the miniature comic strip that came with each piece of Bazooka Joe?
I remember when SweeTarts came along. I guess I was at the age when my palate starting becoming more refined when I discovered SweeTarts, a candy that was sweet and, well, tart at the same time. How sophisticated my palate became at age 10. And when I came across my first BlowPop after emptying my paper bag on Halloween night, I thought it was the best thing invented since G.I. Joe or Rock’em, Sock’em Robots.
During my boyhood days, it seemed like Halloween was the only time of the year one could stock up on certain brands or flavors of chewing gum — Beeman’s, Black Jack and Clove come to mind. Oh Henry! Candy bars seemed more prevalent in those days. I haven’t seen an Oh Henry! candy bar in years. And whatever happened to Fizzies, which were drink tablets instead of candy. Fizzies were akin to Alka-Seltzer tablets. They fizzed like Alka-Seltzer but tasted much better.
Halloween also meant an increased supply of black jellybeans — licorice flavor, of course. To accompany the black jellybeans, the supply of orange jellybeans was increased. I loved black candy. It would turn your tongue black. And with two younger sisters around, it was my duty as their brother to gross them out with my black tongue and inner mouth.
Being named Mike, it was natural for me to have an affinity for the Mike & Ike candy. Still do. A trip to the movie theater isn’t complete without a box of Mike & Ike. Alas, I go to the movies about once a year. Eating Mike & Ike at home while watching “The Creature From the Black Lagoon” on Turner Classic Movies just isn’t the same as eating Mike & Ike in the movie house.
If I can get away with it, I may ring a few doorbells tonight and see if I can persuade some folks to provide me with wax lips, Teaberry gum and Lemonheads.
Mike Voss covers the city of Washington for the Washington Daily News. If you give him candy tonight, make sure it’s sugar-free.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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