Prairie Woman has blogged beautifully earlier today about the Celtic origins of what we call Halloween (Samhain to the Celts). I am obviously having a hard time taking my "hiatus" and have a couple more blogs to get out of my system before I go completely " hiatic". I did promise a few faithful readers of Buffalogal that I would occasionally share some of my writing for my kids and grandkids during this time of letting up on the daily blogging.
Tonight is Halloween (short for "Hallow’s Eve") This afternoon we took a drive to see the new southwest Fargo Walmart on 52nd Ave SW. It is HUGE and slightly different from the traditional "big box" Walmarts. I didn’t get to look at the entire store because I got tired out and nearly dizzy by the vast array of merchandise in that big, not-quite-a box- store. My husband said he read that there are about 300 new jobs due to the opening of that store. The candy shelves were being mobbed by many customers in preparation for the Trick or Treaters who will be out tonight. We called ourselves "Halloween-ers" in my day. We only went to a few places like the near neighbors when I did that schtick so long ago. Tonight there is a full moon and that would be satisfying to my kid-soul as I recall going out under a full moon and imagining I would see a black witch and her cat flying on a broomstick silhouetted by the big full moon. I only imagined it. I never saw such a thing but I was an imaginative little girl and it almost seemed like I SAW a real witch on the full moon. My small paper grocery trick or treat bag usually had a lot of "candy corn" in it when I returned home after the "Halloweening". The bag also had popcorn, crackerjacks and homemade fudge and divinity…good pickings in those days!!!
I had to do some research on candy corn because today I looked for the familiar Halloween candy when I was in Fleet Farm and could find no bags of just the traditional candy corn; all I could find was a bag of mixed salted peanuts with some candy corn in the mix.
I must now confess that I LOVE candy corn! Always did and always will. The candy corn has been around since the 1880s when a man named George Renninger made the first candy corn for the Wunderlee Candy Company. The ingredients in candy corn are very simple….sugar, corn syrup, honey and just a bit of salt. The traditional colors of yellow, orange and white are added before the corn candy is shaped to look like a triangular corn kernel. Nowadays there is also what is called "Indian Corn"….it is brown, orange and white and to me—-not at all satisfying. I am a candy corn purist! Also nowadays, other candy corn is made for other holidays which seems almost sacriligious to me; Reindeer Corn for Christmas (red, green, white); Cupid Corn for Feb 14 (red, pink and white) and Easter corn (pastel colors). The true orange, yellow and white candy corn is the only kind I would eat….purist that I am.
Each year over 35 million pounds of candy corn are made. That must compete with the real corn crop in some areas of the country!!!! The first candy corn was made by hand but later, technology came up with a way to put the candy into the recognizable molds for the triangular kernels. It would have been fun to see the hand-made candy corn.
So tonight, little kids and big kids will be out trick or treating but probably are not hoping to get any candy corn which I think might be as despised by the younger generation as orange jelly slices or the banana flavored hard-marshmallow "peanuts" candy of my youth. The only thing I could despise more than orange slices or banana "Peanuts" now… (I loved them in my youth)… is the Easter Candy called "Peeps". Years ago when I used to follow the daily musings of the "Backfence" in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (written by Fargo native James Lileks) he wrote each Easter about "Peeps" and asked his readers to e- mail him about other uses for "Peeps"… other than eating. I cannot recall what was offered, but I remember laughing til I nearly choked over the originality of some ideas about using "Peeps" for things beyond eating them at Easter.
I wonder if there are any other candy corn devotees out there? Or lovers of "Peeps"??? I would like to know where you are and why you share my passion for candy corn… are there any others? How about orange slices (jelly candy) or "banana peanuts"??
By the way I have gone totally nuts this afternoon over candy. I always buy a couple of bags of the little candy bars "just in case" some kids stop at our country home. They never do any more..we used to see the little neighbor kids who were preschoolers and even more years ago some friends of one of my sons but no trick or treaters have darkened our Halloween nights for a long time. So guess who eats the candy? Since this morning I have had several small butterfingers, one small Reese’s peanut butter cup, and more small Mounds and Almond Joys than I care to ‘fess up to. I also sampled the salted peanut and candy corn mix that I absolutely had to buy at Fleet Farm. It just reached out and grabbed my right arm when I was walking by it…..no lie!!! It was in my shopping basket before I knew what had happened. No lie! (But I feel my nose growing longer in a Pinnocchioesque manner!)
I have my little ceramic jack o lantern candle lit. I did not even go to the upstairs closet and find the electric Wal Mart jack-o-lantern this year. I am getting slow in my dotage.