If you’re going to stock Halloween candy, stock THESE!

Just thought I’d mention this, in case any of y’all are purchasing agents for any retail stores operating in the Columbia area.

To help you plan ahead to next year.

I had a lot of things to do today, but my daughter was going to Walmart. I wanted to go with her, despite the workload, but I simply asked her to please, if they had any left, get me some of the above-pictured product: Brach’s Mellowcreme Pumpkins. And if they did, to get two bags.

This was an urgent request, because we only have three days left before any that are left disappear, to make room for the Christmas candy. I’ve mentioned this problem before.

And I haven’t found any in the last few days.

You’re probably thinking (if you’re still with me), Oh, those are all over the place! I see them everywhere I go…

No, you don’t. You may see bags that look somewhat like that, but those contain candy corn. There are millions of bags of that within a few miles of my house. I don’t know why. Do you like candy corn? Does anybody you know like candy corn? I doubt it. Because way back in August, when all this stuff appears at Walmart, there are plenty of pumpkins, and of course I always think (fool that I am), Oh, Halloween is months away! I’ve got plenty of time! So I maybe buy a bag when I’m there, but I fail to stock up.

Then, about this time of the season, I start getting panicky. And the Walmarts start running out of the good stuff, and only have candy corn. Well, and those bags of stuff called “Autumn Mix” — which are, just eyeballing the bags, maybe 20 percent pumpkin by mass. The rest is candy corn of various colors.

Something else you might be thinking at this point: Those pumpkins look like they’re made from the same stuff as candy corn, so don’t they taste a lot alike? Maybe they do. But more than a half-century ago, I did extensive research on this point. And I decided very early in life that I did not like candy corn. And from the time I was a toddler, people offered me a lot of candy corn, because it was one of the few kinds of mass-produced Halloween candy to which I was not seriously allergic.

Then, when I was a little older, my grandmother sent us a care package — probably when we lived in Ecuador and didn’t have access to such things, but maybe later. And it contained a bag of the pumpkins for me, and they were fantastic! And when I was back in this country, I conducted a great deal more research, sometimes eating like half a bag, or a whole one.

Which is kind of like Cool Hand Luke eating 50 eggs (why 50? Because it seemed like a nice, round number). I mean, it’s practically suicidal. I’m always happy to share my pumpkins with my wife, because I love her and would give her anything, and… because she never eats more than one. Why? Because she is a sane person. I’ve written before that these things possess “a density approaching that of a black hole,” and most of that is sugar, corn syrup and honey. First, they’re practically indigestible. Second, two of them could probably cause a diabetic coma among some people.

So, you know, I could repeat the experiments of my youth, but I’m 70 now, and want to live a little longer. Far as I’m concerned the science is conclusive.

And others must agree. because they buy up the pumpkins and leave the candy corn. And it seems the people who stock the stores never, ever notice this. I guess they’re too busy buying 12-foot skeletons, or whatever.

I keep mentioning Walmart. That’s because, aside from the Walgreen’s in Five Points (which used to be an auto parts store, and before that a Winn-Dixie), I haven’t seen them anywhere this year but at Walmart.

And I was at the Walmart out on Harbison a couple of days ago, and they were out. Hence my request to my daughter, who was going to a different one.

And when she texted me to tell me the closest thing she had found was “the mixture of pumpkins and candy corn” — Autumn Mix — I started brooding, and wrote this in my head while running my other errands.

First the Phillies lose the pennant, and now this.

But… when I got home, and decided to console myself with the last pumpkin or two in the cabinet, I opened it and… there were two bags of pumpkins.

Happy ending! So, you know, never mind. But seriously, why doesn’t everybody stock these, and stock a lot more of them?

Three of these boxes — at the Walmart in Harbison — contain candy corn. The other is Autumn Mix. Typical…

9 thoughts on “If you’re going to stock Halloween candy, stock THESE!

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Did I get that right? What was in that space — actually, it was a whole different building then — where the Five Points Walgreen’s is, just before it was a Walgreen’s?

    Was it an auto PARTS store, as I wrote, or an auto repair shop. I’m thinking maybe the latter. I can almost remember the name of it, but it’s eluding me.

    All I know is that before than, it was a Winn-Dixie. I used to shop there, 52 years ago when I was a student at USC for one semester.

    And you know what? I bought some Brach’s pumpkins there in 1971, and probably ate about half of them when I got back to my dorm room in the Honeycombs, to make up for the energy expended walking there and back…

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Y’all won’t believe it, but there are aspects to this obsession that I didn’t mention above. I’ll fix that now.

    One of my dear readers texted me just now to tell me how to order these online.

    Which means there’s a subtle aspect to all this, a sort of semi-mystical thing, having to do with conscience, and the ways we lie to ourselves, that I had failed to mention.

    So, after thanking her, I responded:

    I realize I can order them online, but my conscience won’t let me do it. I feel bad buying them at all because they’re so bad for me and such an unhealthy indulgence.

    Not the same as when I was 17.

    But it seems OK if I can just sort of kinda “accidentally” run across them in a store. 🙂

    But the stores aren’t cooperating.

    I probably should’ve explained that. Maybe I’ll add it in a comment.

    So now you all understand…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      There are subtleties, which perhaps one must be an aficionado to understand…

      Speaking of having afición… did any of y’all ever read National Lampoon in the early years — half a century ago? Lots of tasteless college humor. But there were some good things. There was once a wonderful feature in it headlined “Big Game Shopping With Ernest Hemingway.”

      I’ve hunted for it on the Internet, even leaving messages on comment boards, describing it this way:

      Basically, it had Hemingway pushing a shopping cart around in a store talking about how important it is “to shop cleanly and well.” At some point he runs into Gertrude Stein, and at another he suffers the wound he fears the most … a paper cut.

      But however cleanly and well I hunted, I did not encounter it.

      Does anyone besides me remember it?

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            But I’m going to stop when the second game of the World Series starts.

            I gave up last night, after innings of watching the Rangers trail after a strong start. While I’m unfamiliar with the Rangers, it was too much like watching my Phillies lose to the DBacks — after having watched my Braves lose to the Phillies. (The web of loyalties and fondness are complex.)

            In the 9th inning, they were still trailing, 5-3.

            But I finally looked a few minutes ago, and they WON, 6-5! So I missed a good inning there..

  3. Norm Ivey

    Candy Corn is the worst Halloween candy ever created. Its origin is explained in the History Channel series The Food That Built America. The entire series is very entertaining.

    I’m also not a fan of the pumpkins, but I get your obsession. For me, it’s those peanut butter kisses wrapped in orange and black wrappers. I think they’re actually some sort of taffy. I never see them anywhere–the last bag of them I found was maybe 15 years ago at Target.

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