Blame it all on Candyland.
Designed to be a simple game to teach children colors and good sportsmanship, I think it actually starts a lifelong addiction to sweet treats.
To play the game, children, starting as young as the age of 2 or 3, are asked to move their gingerbread men markers along a colorful path through an assortment of delicious sounding places and past equally tempting landmarks: Peppermint Stick Forest, Ice Cream Floats, Gumdrop Mountains, Molasses Swamp and Crooked Old Peanut Brittle House.
Sweetening our lives even more are movies like “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” While the entire movie centers around delicious and decadent treats, there is one scene in particular that feeds into our love of candy and all things sweet. Wonka has created an entire pastoral setting where everything is edible. The highlight of the room is a river of chocolate.
In the 1971 version of the movie, Willy Wonka, so adeptly portrayed by the late Gene Wilder, sings “Pure Imagination” as the visitors to his candy factory are invited into that room where tree branches are candy canes, mushrooms are spotted with dollops of whipped cream, giant gummy bears hang in place of fruit and daffodil-like flowers are candy tea cups that you can eat after sipping what’s inside.
These childish infatuations develop into more serious cravings as we get older and access to treats becomes unrestricted by parents and other authority figures (with the exception of strong warnings from medical professionals who caution about eating too much sugar).
That’s when two men — Ben and Jerry — become integral parts of our lives. It’s hard to resist their cold creations with names that are almost as much fun to say as they are to eat. There’s Chunky Monkey, Chubby Hubby, Gimme S’More, Oat of this Swirled and Urban Bourbon among them.
I know I am not alone in my love for sweets.
The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend $2.6 billion this year just on candy for Halloween. It’s not uncommon for families to buy enough candy to ensure there are leftovers to enjoy in November or to buy two kinds: one to give away and another to eat.
Plus, there’s no doubt that as retailers start displaying their Halloween candy earlier and earlier in the year that people buy a bag or two and then have to buy more as the holiday approaches because there is nothing left by the time Oct. 31 rolls around.
Everyone has their favorite fall treats. In Nevada, old-fashioned candy corn is tops this year, with people buying nearly 340,000 pounds in 2017, according to Candystore.com, an online retailer of bulk candy that recently revealed a map that showed the top candy by state for 2018.
For the past two years Hershey’s Kisses were the favorite, but they fell far behind with only around 200,000 pounds consumed. That’s still a lot of love for the chocolate drops wrapped in shiny foil.
These figures don’t lie. We take our candy seriously. When it comes to sweets, there’s no playing around, unless, of course, you’re up to a game of Candyland.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.