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A definitive guide to Halloween candy season for those of us with no impulse control

There's an art to this, fellow candy lovers.

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.

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If there's ever been a particularly bad time to be an undocumented immigrant, it's right now.

President Donald Trump, who launched himself into the 2016 presidential race with his support for a multibillion-dollar border wall, has been cracking down on immigration as promised. In addition to tightening border security, he's pledged to remove 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants "immediately." And he appears to be keeping his word.

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Amidst all the noise and rhetoric — every "radical Islamic terrorist" attack that gets waved about by politicians with something that eerily resembles pride, every horrific crime committed by white Americans that's met with deafening silence, every press conference faux pas — there are real people and real families being ripped apart in the name of patriotism.

Their stories are terrifying and heart-wrenching, but they're massively important.

1. A DREAMer gave a powerful speech about deportation. Moments later, she was arrested.

Daniela Vargas, who has lived in the U.S. since she was 7 years old, spoke at a news conference in Jackson, Mississippi, about the importance of the DREAM Act, which aims to help immigrant children who have lived in the U.S. for more than five years and graduated high school receive permanent legal status.

After the event, Vargas and a friend were pulled over and arrested by immigration agents.

2. A Sri Lankan student studying in North Wales was saved from deportation only by a last ditch effort hours before her flight.

Shiromini Satkunarajah, an electrical engineering student at Bangor University, was nearly sent back to Sri Lanka earlier this year. Despite having lived in the U.K. since she was 12 and being only three months shy of graduation, Satkunarajah was only allowed to stay after receiving an outpouring of community support.

3. A woman living in Great Britain was sent back to Singapore without being allowed to say goodbye to her husband and two children.

Irene Clennell had lived in the U.K. since 1988 but was abruptly sent back to Singapore after having her indefinite leave to remain revoked. Clennell is married and has two children with her husband but was not afforded the chance to see them one last time.

4. A mom living in Phoenix was sent back to Mexico. Her children would later face Trump as he addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos' children were reportedly in attendance as Trump addressed Congress. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/AFP/Getty Images.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos was sent back to Mexico in January this year for having a criminal record. Her crime? Working under the table to provide for her young children.

5. A beloved restaurant manager in a deep-red town in Illinois was arrested, and now the community is reeling.

Most of the people in West Frankfort, Illinois, voted for Trump. They never thought anything would happen to Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, the friendly restaurant manager who seemed have done at least one kind deed for everyone in the community. Now, he's been detained by ICE and is currently waiting to find out if he'll be sent back to Mexico.

6. A Kuwaiti man and father of two living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the other hand, was miraculously spared from deportation because it would cause his family too much hardship.

Yousef Ajin has lived in the United States for 18 years with his wife, with whom he has four children. He reportedly met with immigration officers frequently, but on Jan. 30, 2017, he was suddenly detained.

In February, a judge granted a deportation waiver in order to spare Ajin's family from hardship. Many other immigrants aren't so lucky.

7. One man was caught trying to cross the border and returned to Tijuana. He appears to have jumped to his death shortly after.

The man, Guadalupe Olivas Valencia, had reportedly worked in the U.S. before to provide for his family back home before being deported multiple times. Caught trying to enter the country once again, he seemingly decided jumping from a bridge was his only option.

8. A single mother in California was sent back to Mexico, leaving her two young children in peril.

Photo by Jose Cabezas/AFP/Getty Images.

On Feb. 7, María Robles-Rodríguez was nabbed by U.S. Border Patrol and sent back to Mexico, leaving her twin 18-year-old daughters to fend for themselves.

9. Gay men being deported from Britain to Afghanistan are being told to pretend they're straight.

The British government's advice to gay men being sent home to Afghanistan, where they can be freely persecuted for their sexual orientation? Just don't act gay and everything will be fine!

Seriously.

10. Jose Escobar was detained after a routine meeting with immigration officers. He's a husband and father of three.

Escobar, who has lived in the United States for 16 years, had a deportation scare a few years back but was told he'd be safe if he checked in with immigration agents every year. Only this year, an agent reportedly told his wife, "We're just doing what President Trump wants us to do with the new rules."

Escobar will likely soon be deported.

11. A Mexican man living in Idaho was deported. His wife and the mother of his children could be next.

Tomas Copado ran his own auto body shop in Idaho Falls until he was sent back to Mexico earlier this year. His wife, for the sake of their children, recently had her own deportation deferred.

For now.

12. Some undocumented immigrants may be deported to Mexico even if they're not from there.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

According to several reports, the Department of Homeland Security plans to send anyone who crosses illegally over the southern border of the U.S. back to Mexico, even though they may be citizens of another country.

Needless to say, this is horrendous and possibly in violation of international law.

Statue of LibertyPhoto by Guzmán Barquín on Unsplash

Every modern nation needs smart, empathetic paths to citizenship. Any immigration policy that tramples on human rights and rips families apart is a travesty.

It's time to bust the narrative that foreigners primarily come to our country — or any country — to do harm. They come mostly to find opportunity, to escape persecution, or to be with family.

If we can't come to see them as human beings rather than inanimate outsiders, finding the money to pay for a giant wall will be the very least of our problems.


This article originally appeared on 03.02.17

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