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candy snickers milky way twix halloween
Photo by Sebbi Strauch on Unsplash

Buying Halloween candy is a tricky business for people who love candy but don't want to eat it all.

Labor Day has officially passed, which means the seasonal aisles that have been filled with school supplies are now teeming with bags and bags of Halloween candy. Hallelujah.

If you're one of those people who can buy bags of fun-sized candy bars and let them sit unopened in the cupboard for a month, only pulling them the night of Halloween to hand out to trick-or-treaters, congrats. You're a giant among humans. More power to you.

This article is not for you.

I'm here for the folks who need a solid game plan to manage the nearly two months between Labor Day and Halloween when all willpower and impulse control get pushed to the brink every year. If you fool yourself into thinking you can have hundreds of pieces of chocolatey, nougaty, peanuty, toffee-y candy sitting in your home for weeks and not touch it, only to find yourself hitting the bag multiple times a day, alternating between justifying the consumption of obscene amounts of sugar and plunging into stomachaching regret, you are my people.

You don't have to dread the Halloween candy season. It's only taken nearly three decades of full-on adulthood to hone my strategy for September and October, but I've got it down. There's an art to this, friends. Allow me to pass along some of my hard-earned wisdom.


Do not, under any circumstances, buy any Halloween candy before the week of Halloween.

Nope, not even if it's on sale. No amazing deals. No buy-one-get-one-free gimmicks. Nada. You know you will eat that savings in a week and be forced to replace what you ate by Halloween, therefore spending more than you would've without the sale.

Trust me on this. You may think saving money in the moment will also save you from temptation, but it's lies. Fake news and lies. Repeat after me: Halloween candy sales are not our friend.

The only exception to this rule is if you buy a padlock along with your candy. Then, when you get home, immediately hide the candy in a cupboard with the lock on it and give someone else the key until the day of Halloween. It's a risky move—there is an entire car ride in which that candy bag will be staring you in the face—but it's the only way to feel good about purchasing sale candy ahead of time.

Four days before Halloween is the sweet spot. Use it to your advantage.

Apparently, four days before Halloween is when you get the best price on candy, according to an analysis from online shopping portal Ibotta. This is a good thing. For one, it gets you away from the idea that a sale long before Halloween is one you simply can't pass up. And two, having a clear number of days gives you a window in which to buy so you're not going at this all haphazardly.

Haphazard Halloween candy buying is just sugar-laden, calorie-bombing chaos, my friends. Don't do it. The key here is to look ahead, make a plan and stick to it. I like to make an absolute rule for myself that zero candy enters the house before the four-day mark, and then see how long I can hold out during those four days.

If you've got candy FOMO, don't. You won't miss out.

Sometimes we're tempted to buy candy early so that we make sure we actually get some before the Halloween season is over, but let's be real. There is no shortage of candy-filled bowls everywhere you go during these two months. Stop into pretty much any bank. Visit any informational booth. Make an appointment to see your kid's guidance counselor. Don't be shy. Grab that free Milky Way out of the bowl on their desk and go to town. No guilt.

Keep reminding yourself that candy is in abundance all around you. You'll have your own home stash soon enough, but not so soon that you'll make yourself sick on it. (Also, if you have kids, you can remind them that they have a roof over their heads and food in the fridge and the least they can do is share their Halloween trick-or-treating haul with the person who provides for them.)

Bottom line—you'll have plenty of opportunities to snag a Snickers here and there during the Halloween season without having to buy your own bag.

Buy candy that you hate or candy that you love, but nothing in between.

I'm not usually this black-and-white, but hear me out. There are basically three ways of thinking about what Halloween candy to buy for trick-or-treaters, but only two of them have a desirable outcome.

1. If you buy candy you hate, you won't be as tempted to eat it. I say as tempted because people who love candy can generally be tempted by almost anything, but most of us have a candy we simply won't touch. I could have a bowl of Jolly Ranchers for months and never touch them, for instance. That's a good trick-or-treater buy for me.

2. If you buy candy you love, you're definitely going to eat it. Maybe even a ton of it. But if you follow the above advice and wait until a few days before Halloween to buy it, you'll have less time to gorge on it but still be able to enjoy it. (Gimme all the peanut M&Ms, thankyouverymuch).

3. If you buy candy you like but don't really love, that's just trouble. You'll likely eat just as much of it as you would your favorite candy—that's the nature of having copious amounts of not-gross candy on hand—but it won't be nearly as satisfying. If you're going to eat candy, you should get the optimal amount of enjoyment out of it. Make it worth it.

Go for the chocolate and nuts. Ditch the candy corn and jelly beans.

As far as narrowing down your candy choices, there's a strategy here, too. Though you may assume they're the worst because they're so rich, nut-heavy candy like peanut M&Ms, Snickers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are actually some of the best choices, according to two dietitians in Everyday Health. Nuts have protein and fiber and chocolate has antioxidants (the darker the better), so at least you're getting some nutrition along with the sugar. (It's a real thing! Dietitians said so!)

Chewy and fruity candies like candy corn and jelly beans are basically just pure sugar. They feel lighter as you're eating them, which in my experience just makes you likely to eat more of them, leaving you eating more sugar and feeling less satisfied. I love me some Skittles and Smarties, but they just don't hit like the Snickers and Reese's. Not worth it to buy a whole bag of them.

The key is to delay the inevitable as long as possible, not to eliminate it.

I'm sure some people would suggest not even buying candy at all, and for some people maybe that's wise. (There are some reasonable non-candy alternatives to give out.) But I'm not willing to forgo Halloween candy altogether. It's all about timing, setting some realistic ground rules and knowing what candy is worth indulging in. The idea is to enjoy the candy if you really want to, but delay gratification as long as you can.

Speaking from experience, Halloween is a lot more fun if you don't go into it having already gorged on candy for six weeks straight.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

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A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

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It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

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Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

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Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

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Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

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Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

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It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

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I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

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Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

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No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

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The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

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Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

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Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

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Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.