OPERATION: HALLOWEEN CANDY
Halloween strategies remain unchanged from generation to generation.
For kids: Get as much as you can, come home and dump it on the living room floor. Separate into "most desirable" (little candy bars, except, of course, Mr. Goodbar), "I-would-eat-it-in-a-pinch" (Smarties, Jolly Ranchers) and "nothing-could-make-me-touch-that-to-my-lips" (Chik-o-stix, maple-flavored anything).
For parents: Whisk the untouchables immediately into the trash (this includes unwrapped, suspicious and outright gross candy), eat several packets of peanut M&M's before anyone notices, wheedle most candy away in the hopes of measuring consumption, despair, discard handfuls of candy in the dark of night until Thanksgiving.
In the light of day on Nov. 1, we often realize it's a burden to be in possession of 800 small Snickers. Here's how to negotiate all that sugar.
• Before Halloween night is even over, sift through the kids' candy and "recycle" their discards, putting unloved candy back in your "outgoing" candy bucket. (Or take it all to work.)
• Freeze chocolate in resealable plastic bags. This way it doesn't take on the flavor of adjacent fruit-flavored candies and will last months for snacking, baking or as ice cream toppings. Also, it takes longer to eat a frozen treat than a room-temperature one, so you keep a lid on kids' calorie consumption.
• Tuck hard candies away as decorations for Christmas gingerbread houses, birthday pinatas or cake toppers. Or save 25 small but delicious pieces as the star attractions of a homemade advent calendar.
• Pack up some of the candy for a local shelter or charity, surprise your mail carrier or even ship it out to deployed military. The Department of Defense advises against sending general care packages to "Any Servicemember," but visit anysoldier.com for other ideas.
• Invent the Candy Fairy for young kids. Like the tooth fairy, it's a slick exchange — instead of a tooth, kids leave their candy by the pillow and the fairy in turn deposits cash or even a gift certificate from a toy store. Or negotiate a straight-up trade-in program: For every 20 pieces of candy turned in, kids get to do a favorite activity with the whole family: a movie, bowling or a visit to the park.
• When all else fails, remember the name of the game is damage control. Allow kids to choose their favorites on Halloween, but then put candy away in a kitchen cupboard. Reserve treat times for after meals, and don't forget to brush.
ON THE HORIZON: TREATS!
YO! Sushi, which already operates 89 conveyor belt sushi bars worldwide, opened its third U.S. location this week at International Plaza, 2223 N West Shore Blvd. in Tampa. The first YO! Sushi restaurant opened in London in 1997, and there are locations all over the world. The hook? To make ordering fun and easy, dishes are served via the "kaiten" (a 203-foot-long conveyor belt) on color/price coded plates ranging from $3 to $7. In addition to sashimi, maki, hand rolls and spicy tuna rolls, there are veggie options like salads and vegetable tempura, and desserts include Japanese-style Dorayaki pancakes, Mochi ice cream and fresh fruit. Even if you're not a sushi hound, there are options like chicken katsu curry and spicy pepper calamari. Call (813) 342-3790
Steven McGlocklin, the "chief chiller" at Whatever Pops, has announced that after four years of working outside at Tampa Bay markets, the popsicle makers are looking to expand into a storefront by the beginning of 2016. While he's not giving the address quite yet, he says, "All I can say for now is that we are under contract for a great location in Seminole Heights and plan to focus growing our brand in multiple Tampa locations." This brick-and-mortar shop will feature ice pots, but also housemade ice cream, coffees, teas, shakes and "other cool and fresh items." For more information, visit facebook.com/WhateverPops or call (813) 220-3717.
And in the Town and Country area, Lizette Rivera, Roberto Cordoba and Diane Aguedelo debuted the Chef-Inspired Popcorn Company on Oct. 11. Rivera, diagnosed with Celiac disease, aimed to bring people gluten-free snackables. The upshot is a retail space at 7004 Hanley Road, Tampa, that offers four sizes of resealable bags into which 20 different popcorn flavors can be packed (the flavors scrawled with cool Sharpie markers). There are exotic flavors like passion fruit or Buffalo blue cheese, and kid-friendly options like Fruit Cup. The company also offers party favors and popcorn bars. Call (813) 559-1292.