In a few days doorbells will ring and door-knockers will clack all over America. Our neighbor’s children will appear in and out of costume with a bag pulled open or an upturned hand outstretched. Our reputations will be on the line, but what’s the right thing to do?

Shopping for treats to give the future of America has turned into a lose-lose proposition, in my humble opinion. Most of the stores are promoting bite-sized candy. These so-called treats come in tamper-evident packages — from the point of view of the health and welfare of those little tykes, that’s the only good thing about them.

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Sure, kids love ’em. Humans crave sweet foods. Unfortunately, a look at the ingredients reveals high-fructose corn syrup up near the top of the list. Even the ones that list sugar are no health bargain. A couple of bites of HFCS is not the worst thing in the world, but I remember in my childhood coming home with a shopping bag full of booty and finishing it all by the second or third day, at the latest.

Back then some people actually gave out homemade baked goods or fresh fruit. Now the giver of apples is viewed more like the evil witch in the Disney classic Snow White. It might have pins stashed inside, if not a sleeping potion. If you were to hand out shelled peanuts, the parents might also reject them and you’d probably be marked for an egg treatment later that night. Yes, it seems as if our culture only smiles on those who support industrial food.

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Has anybody out there got a more optimistic Halloween experience to report?