We came of age in the height of the tampered-candy scare. Everyone knew that psychos handed out poison to children on Halloween. Newspapers and television fueled the hysteria, warning parents that the chocolate bars were laxatives, the bubble gum was sprinkled with lye, and the popcorn balls were coated with camphor. By the 1980s, there was near-hysteria. Even Ann Landers called trick-or-treating dangerous in her column.

This was terrifying as a child. Halloween was already stressful enough without having to worry about poison. For one, I couldn’t even breathe or see, because the holes allotted for my nose and eyes were not large enough. Taking the mask off was not an option. Also, I was dealing with that sticky, candy-breath sweat building up inside the thing.

Next, I was freaking out, because with each house I visited, I kept getting crap. I wasn’t getting enough candy bars. All I was getting was Tootsie Rolls! More Tootsie Rolls. And great, some of those suck-ass things in the orange wrappers. Could this be THE WORST HALLOWEEN EVER? OH MY GOD, WHAT IF IT WAS? HOW COULD I FACE SCHOOL THE NEXT DAY WHEN ALL THE OTHER KIDS HAD A MILLION REESE CUPS? AND ALL I HAD WAS DUM DUM POPS?

Whoa. Clearly I had crippling self-esteem issues. (I’m getting married to someone who is a child therapist. It makes you get all self-diagnosing.)

Finally, I’d also be clutching the bits and pieces of my costume, the cheap plastic sheet that had ripped down the front after two minutes of trick-or-treating. Stupid tree branch. Stupid eye holes in the mask. Halloween was stressful enough. With the threat of ingesting lye at the end of the night, Halloween was just not as great as the thirty days of anticipation that lead up to it.

In recent years, the myths and urban legends of candy-tampering have been mostly debunked, although there’s the occasional metal shard that shows up in a Pokemon lollypop.

Still, I guess there’s just something about poisonous drugs and Halloween candy that gets me all nostalgic for the 1980s. That’s why I knew I had to review these odd bags of dollar store candy when I saw them.

Candy that looks like drugs!

Both were purchased at Dollar Tree, these wonderfully-generic “Candy Sticks” and “Neon Lazers.” Putting things in quotations makes everything seem a little more “ominous.”

The candy sticks have drugs written all over them:

First, there’s the ridiculously random licensed characters, everything from the Mirage Ninja Turtles to the Hanna Barbara Flintstones. Did they even buy the license for each of these? It’s sketchy. It seems like it’s been haphazardly thrown together to tempt unsuspecting children with their favorite, smiling cartoon characters.

And then that Leonardo candy stick would be the last thing you ever ate.

Then there’s the sticks themselves, which look like candy cigarettes, but about twenty times more questionable.

And what about the beat-up dented boxes. Look like these came pre-tampered. Each box contains two sticks, though it may not be two whole sticks. Many of the boxes I opened had broken pieces. I tried a few of them and did not die. They are the same thing as candy cigarettes with that chalky menthol flavor. I like candy cigarettes a lot, so I can see myself eating these regularly through out the rest of October.

Now, a closer look at those Neon Lazers:

I love this skeleton on the front and how he’s throwing back a Lazer. He’s obviously hooked, addicted, strung-out. He’s actually the reason I purchased the bag. In the store, I thought oh, those are just generic Pixy Sticks, nothing interesting there. But then I saw that that under-the-influence skeleton.

Perhaps they were filled with something “else”:

These things are pretty hardcore. I feel like turning on the black light and inviting over some friends to “do some lazers.” It will get you hyped up.

I tried each flavor, and each is somewhat true to its color. In other words, green tastes green and red tastes red. I’m not sure I could identify them in a blind taste test, but they seem to match the intrinsic essence of the colors. Then again, I’m possibly high from ingesting this stuff. I also accidentally inhaled some of it. Really, it was accidental. It literally gets everywhere when you’re dumping lines of it out on your coffee table to take pictures for your blog.

Anyway, it kind of burned my nasal passages, and oh shit, I think I just saw a sad clown in a rocking chair. This is a bad trip.

And now I have to go clean all of this sugar off the coffee table before the girlfriend gets home from counseling kids with issues, so that they won’t act out and dump sugar all over the furniture at home.


  1. Hah, you know me so well. Before I read that last line I was about to check out the coffee table for neon colored sugar residue.
    I’d like to do a line of the pink. I know I should resist peer pressure, but the skeleton talked me into it.

  2. How could I ever forget the horrifying comics warning about poison and glass being hid in candy by devil worshippers? I wish I could find that image of the kid with blood spurting out of his mouth after eating some glass infused blowpops. During the height of the paranoia, my mom would investigate each piece of candy before she’d let me near the loot. Anything homemade or candy in wrappers that easily twist open (Tootsie Rolls) were tossed immediately.

    I can’t believe they have a whole box for two candy cigarrettes!

  3. My parents would inspect the candy before I could have any as well. For years, I was never allowed to eat any of the candy while I was out trick-or-treating. That all changed when I was about 13. Then, it was about bombing houses & cars, with some trick-or-treating in between. Nothing like showing up to someones door covered in eggs and shaving cream.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s