Back when I was growing up in Massapequa, on Long Island, (right) I was a Halloween legend.
I would put on the lightest, simplest costume I could find or make. I would get a big brown paper grocery bag.
And I would start trick-or-treating.
I was a trick-or-treating machine. I had my neighborhood mapped in my mind, and when the first bag got too heavy I went home for another.
One year I must have collected about 20 pounds of candy. Let the other kids clink coins for Unicef. I was going Galt for Halloween. It took me until Easter to eat it all, my siblings and parents helped, but for at least one day a year dinner was on me.
Which brings me to the latest Halloween gimmick, a program organized by dentists called Halloween BuyBack.
The idea is simple. Let the kids collect all the candy they want. Local dentists will buy it back, for $1 per pound. They then ship the candy off to our soldiers overseas.
Fire candy corn at Al Qaeda -- they won't stand a chance. They will come out of their caves within days, looking for a dentist, and all our soldiers need do then is put on white jackets to collect them all. (Actually, the idea is our soldiers get to eat the stuff and know we care.)
Over 1,200 dentists nationwide are participating this year. Some will just offer simple drop-offs. Others will turn it into civic celebration/marketing opportunities.
And yes, I checked. One of these nefarious dentists works near where I grew up. So drat you, Dr. John Capogna on North Broadway. Drat you to wherever my 11 year-old self might have wanted to drat you. (I wasn't that bad a kid.)
Actually, I do wonder what you are going to tell the children. Maybe kids are better-behaved than they were back in my day.
But I keep imagining some kid after my own heart telling mom, dad, and the dentist, "You can have my Halloween candy when you pry it from my cold diabetic hands."
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com