Mr. Owl, why do they keep making brown Tootsie Pops?

Remember this guy?

“Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?”

Wise

When you have to say “I don’t know,” but you want to appear wise about your own ignorance.

Mr. Owl is almost as old as I am. The Tootsie Pops he’s selling are older. Tootsie Pops were my favorite lollipop in those days. My boys seem to enjoy them as much as I did.

In all the years I’ve been eating Tootsie Pops, one thing has never changed: the chocolate ones (wrapped in the brown paper) are horrible.

All the other flavors are delightful, but the brown ones just plain suck. Even the texture is off-putting. The worst part is the brown always seem to be the most plentiful color in the bag.

study in brown

How did an orange one survive this long?

This is a photo of our candy bowl. It could have been a photo of any waning stash of Tootsie Pops from my childhood. The other colors disappear but the brown ones just sit there forever. Eight kids grew up in my house. We competed like wolves for treats. The brown ones collected dust.

Today, the tradition continues. Big Man is our most avid fan of Tootsie Pops. Whenever I see him with one, I tell him he shouldn’t be eating that color. “The [insert non-brown color] ones are for me,” I say. “I bought the brown ones especially for you. Those are the ones you should eat.”

He laughs like that’s the most ridiculous thing ever mentioned to him. “No. The brown ones are yours,” he answers. “You have to eat them.”

For a long time, I wouldn’t buy bags of Tootsie Pops simply because I feared my house would become full of uneaten brown ones and I’d have to move my family to a place with more storage.

But the orange ones won’t stop calling my name.

I stave off temptation as long as I can, but between me and a bag of Tootsie Pops I’m the biggest sucker.

Why do they keep filling the bags with the awful brown ones?

The world may never know.

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Rain, rain, Trick-or-Treat, and rain

Last year we had light snow for Trick-or-Treating. This year, it rained, not so lightly. Less cold; more wet. But Halloween is not for the faint of heart, nor the dry of clothes, so we took it as it came.

This year, we had a large group to Trick-or-Treat, including other parents to manage the marauding hordes. My wife, who is in charge of manning the home base, handing out candy, and pouring the wine, asked me to heat up some cider in a crock pot before our crew set out foraging. It was a good idea. A warm beverage would hit the spot when we got back from our raiding in the rain.

Big Man got just a taste of Trick-or-Treating before the weather encouraged me to take him home. Buster, and most of the other kids, got a moderate dose of Halloween and a moderate dose of wet before they, influenced heavily by parents, called it a night.

Big Brother, two of his friends, myself, and another father got good and wet, as we went back out to brave the storm after dropping the others off at home.

I'll always remember you this way, Batman: when you were still warm and dry.

I’ll always remember you this way, Batman: when you were still warm and dry.

Those last three kids will always remember this as the Halloween everybody stepped in a mud puddle. Nobody stepped in the same mud puddle, and some of us stepped in multiple puddles. None of our costumes included waterproof footwear.

A surprising number of people were out, considering the weather. Most had umbrellas, devices we rarely use and have never considered on Halloween. I began seeing more and more adults carrying paper coffee cups. It was like there was a Starbucks in the middle of our neighborhood suddenly.

The kids wanted to keep going; I couldn’t stop them, because, soaked as I was, I admired their tenacity. A little rain on their heads wasn’t going to stop them. A lot of rain on their candy might, though. Only when they noticed their candy getting wet did they entertain ideas of going home. Wet, cold skin is one thing, but children must keep their candy safe.

Eventually they agreed it would be irresponsible to risk the candy they already had to get a little more. We made our way home, not overlooking lit up houses on the way.

We got home, chilled and wet, but deserving the candy we’d collected, and most certainly a hot cup of cider. I went to the crock pot. Empty.

“Where did all the cider go?”

“Oh,” my wife replied. “I’ve been giving it out to the parents of Trick-or-Treaters.”

Welcome to the community Starbucks.

“People really liked it,” she added to sooth my disappointment. “One lady took five cups.” I wasn’t as soothed as she thought I’d be by the success of her Halloween largess. “We’ve got more cold cider in the fridge,” she concluded.

We poured more into the crock pot. While we waited, the other cold dad and I enjoyed a glass of scotch. That was better than crying over the spilled milk of human kindness.