OPINION: Taking a look at best and worst candy

Sep. 16—I stumbled upon one of those group discussions on Facebook the other day, wherein people were discussing the most awful types of candy. I weighed in with circus peanuts, which drew a response of several vomit emojis. I had momentarily forgotten about Peeps, the scourge of the sweets world.

Several others offered up a negative opinion of licorice. I had to agree, but when I explained this to my husband, he was offended. He agreed circus peanuts are awful, and he added that "those hard root-beer things are terrible, too." I'm not exactly sure what he meant, but clearly it wasn't the hard, rectangle-shaped, striped bits of candy with peanut butter in them.

Once Labor Day is in the books, we've come to my favorite time of the year. It has nothing to do with candy, but rather other aspects of autumn: I like the adrenaline rush given by spook houses, and I visit as many as I can. I also like the cooler temperatures — "football weather," I call it, even though I haven't attended a football game since my son graduated from Tahlequah High School (go, Tigers!) in 2007. At least, I think it was 2007; it was a while ago. Since then, he's graduated from OU, and this weekend, as you're reading this, he's getting married. My parents, who are in their mid-80s, are already hoping they can lay claim to a great-grandchild before they pass on.

After we get the wedding out of the way, we'll be doing the Halloween things, which all come with artery-clogging junk. Retailers understand this temptation is difficult to resist, because we're seeing the bags on the shelves right after Labor Day. After Oct. 31, the Christmas candy — the same Halloween fare, but now in red, green, silver and gold wrappers — will show up. Then, the pink- and red-wrapped Valentine's Day junk will appear. After that — well, Easter may be the worst offender of them all.

This discussion got me to thinking about other candy from my childhood that now is obsolete — or maybe it isn't; I haven't looked for it, nor do I plan to. Folks of a certain age will remember those wax lips, and the orange wax "harmonicas" that appeared around the ghostly holiday. I can't believe we actually chewed on bits of those objects; what were we thinking? Then there were the miniature wax "coke bottles," which contained some sort of flavored juice.

Remember those peanut butter candies wrapped in black and orange paper? At least, I think they were peanut butter; it was hard to tell. But I seem to recall that once in a while, you'd bite down on one and it would contain a tiny hard chunk that would chip any fillings your parents might have cut loose the money to pay for. And speaking of hard bits, I also haven't seen that hard candy shaped in ripples, with stripes, and usually tasting of some ghastly and unknowable flavor.

A few years ago, I saw Pop Rocks were making the rounds again. They serve no purpose. Nor do Zots. I'm not sure why we kids thought it was so cool to bite into a piece of candy that shortly thereafter made you foam at the mouth like a rabid dog. They were worthless, and so were candy cigarettes — those chalky white sticks with a pink tip that resembled a real lit ciggie. My parents didn't like us to have those because they feared it would encourage us to smoke the real thing. But they did allow us to have bubble gum cigars. I guess that might be because my father looked down on cigarette smokers but personally indulged in every other form of tobacco: cigars, Skoal, Redman chewing tobacco, and of course, pipes.

I guess the best that can be said about other holidays that promote the consumption of teeth-rotting sweets is that they don't tout candy corn. In that same Facebook discussion, several people expressed their disgust with candy corn. A few years ago, during a similar digital roundtable, Carol Choate not only confessed that she liked candy corn, but that she first ate the "top" (which is usually green or brown), then the white "tip," and only after that did she chow down on the orange middle section. I'm the same way.

Although Mellowcreme Pumpkins (which I call "scary pumpkins") are my preferred target, they're made of the same stuff: sugar and god-knows-what other crap. But I first eat the green "cap" of the pumpkin, then finish the orange "gourd." This is an idiosyncrasy not unlike that of Easter revelers who pick the crunchy eyes off their chocolate bunnies, then bite off the ears before they move onto the sad, hollow bodies.

Now that I think about it, I remember seeing some red, pink and white candy corn last Valentine's Day, and some pastels for Easter. Perhaps these nuggets of nastiness, like the infernal Peeps, are making the rounds. I'm waiting for the first turkey-brown Peep to appear for Thanksgiving so I can chastise anyone tasteless enough to eat one.

My grousing puzzles my husband, who consumes several dozen mini-Mounds bars and Paydays each fall. After a night of trick-or-treating at Disney — an upcoming venture for us — he always says, "Why can't we just take the money we spend on tickets, buy a few bags of candy, and spend the rest on tools, or at least a nice dinner?" Clearly, like everyone else, he's missing the point.