Those who had the foresight to turn their lights off before running out of candy; those who brilliantly bought candy but never decorated or turned their lights on; and those who bought several hundred pounds of candy at 75% off after Halloween are in need of guidance. The people who use the holidays to stock up on sugary treats are the ones who have a chocolate filled, caramel layered, praline topped sweet tooth.

Those who had the foresight to turn their lights off before running out of candy; those who brilliantly bought candy but never decorated or turned their lights on; and those who bought several hundred pounds of candy at 75% off after Halloween are in need of guidance. The people who use the holidays to stock up on sugary treats are the ones who have a chocolate filled, caramel layered, praline topped sweet tooth.


Such people come in all shapes and sizes. You cannot easily pick them out of a crowd. They are regular people—your neighbors, friends, relatives, people you pass on the street or sit next to in the library. People suffering from an exacerbated sweet tooth walk among us unnoticed, except at the checkout when the Halloween candy is put on the clearance rack to make room for marshmallow Santas.


You’d probably never guess this, but I am one of the many who suffer from this affliction. I was a child when I first realized my sweet tooth was much more aggressive than most. I thought nothing of walking through neighborhood after neighborhood, ringing doorbell after doorbell, just to make sure I had a pillowcase full of treats.


My treats, enough to feed a small country for months, were always gone within a day or two. My sister, however, would eat only one piece of her bounty a day. When April rolled around, my sister would brag that she STILL had Halloween candy left. I don’t think she began to consume her Christmas stocking candy until summer vacation.


For those with similar stories, I know you are currently sitting on a goldmine of confections. But that is not a reason to sit on the couch, stream romantic comedies, and lose yourself in a pile of empty wrappers. I’m not suggesting you try to ration out the candy for the next six months—people like us are not capable of long-term candy storage.


Not that I haven’t tried to ration my candy. I’ve even gone as far as to try to purchase candy for trick-or-treaters or my children’s stockings ahead of time. The problem is not just lack of willpower or hyper-ability to rationalize acceptable reasons to indulge. One of the big barriers is that I am always able to find where I hid the candy.


Even if I let Hubby hide it, I can easily find it within seconds of him leaving for work.


What you need to do now that you have your stockpile of dense-calorie deliciousness is prioritize. You need to make a list of acceptable uses for your wealth of candy. Your green-light-to-indulge list might include: after a frustrating day at work; nightly during an in-law visit; after three consecutive days of not hearing from one of your grown children; or upon returning from your six-year-old’s class field trip to the zoo.


Once you have prioritized when you can dip into your feel-good savings of candy, you need to organize. You’ll need a box of sandwich baggies and a marker. It’s important to divide up your candy into manageable portions. A sandwich baggie can fit enough candy to satisfy a desperate urge to binge, while at the same time doesn’t quite hold enough to cause a stomach ache.


When dividing up the candy, be sure each bag has a good ratio of favorites as well as pieces you wouldn’t choose first, but will eat if you have no other candy around to satisfy a craving. There’s nothing worse than running out of sweet peanut butter filled chocolate cups and being left with a pound of inexpensive, rock-hard, chocolate flavored, log shaped candy.


If you are monitoring your health, you can also add up the individual calorie counts of all the pieces you place in a particular bag. Then you can label the bag with the total. This can be done for sodium, fats, and carbohydrates as well.


Nutritional information, while pertinent and responsible, is not the reason I recommended the marker. What you absolutely have to do is clearly label every bag with your name, date, and the consequences someone would face should you find the bag tampered with or, heaven forbid, emptied.


Not only do you want to be sure no one else compromises your sweet stash, you also want to avoid inadvertently including one in child’s or spouse’s bagged lunch. Lunches often get thrown together at the last minute in the wee hours of the morning, sometimes before the coffee is made. Clear labeling can prevent unintended depletion of your binge coffers.


Protection of your stockpile is important. You need the bags to last throughout the stressful holiday season. When you arrive late to your child’s holiday performance after a challenging day at work topped off with speeding ticket the one evening you make all the lights, you will want a baggie of soothing confection waiting for you when you get home.


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Micki Bare is a columnist for the Arkansas News Bureau and the Courier-Tribune in Asheboro, N.C., and the author of Thurston T. Turtle children’s books. She and her family live in North Carolina. Her e-mail address is mickibare@gmail.com.