Tales From A Hungry Life

October 21, 2016

The Best and Worst Halloween Candy

By Maria Schulz

I ventured outside my cubicle the other day and saw that my old nemesis had returned to haunt me. No, I’m not talking about one of my coworkers. I’m talking about this guy.


Come to me…

Do you remember him? I’ve written about him before because someone in my office takes him out every year about this time and fills him with things I can’t resist: Snickers, Almond Joy, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Three Musketeers, and 100 Grand Bars.


I can’t resist either

I was hoping to research all that candy and get permission to indulge my raging sweet tooth, but instead I found this article that ranks the 52 Best and Worst Halloween Candy.

almond joy

When you feel like a nut.

When I was little, I didn’t worry about eating candy. I simply spent weeks dreaming about getting as much as humanly possible. First. I would spend weeks thinking about what costume I’d wear, assembling the ensemble, and getting every detail just right. Whether I was Snow White (hot plastic mask and all) or Raggedy Ann with red yarn hair, my costume had to be thought out and ready for my big day.

Well, that was the way until I was about 9 and I decided that being a gypsy or bum was the easiest and fastest way to get out the door and begin my quest for more candy than one human could carry in a brown paper bag.

VALUE VILLAGE - Pop Culture Inspires Halloween Trends

Back then, I was guaranteed to walk around the neighborhood for a couple of hours. I didn’t worry about having to burn off all the calories because I knew I’d bring that bag of candy home and six big, hungry boys would eat 95% of it within hours of my arrival.

I miss those days. Now, if I bring home two tons of candy, there’s a good chance that my little family and I will eat more than is good for a small village. So I try to keep the candy out of my house until the very last minute, and then give away big handfuls to anyone who comes to my doorstep. Yes, even the mailman gets Kit Kats and 100 Grand Bars so I don’t eat them myself.

kids playing

Did someone say CANDY?

The fact that Smilin’ Jack is right outside my office door makes it harder for me to stay on the straight and narrow, but I’ve learned something along the way of this “eating right” journey. Deprivation is the mother of all food binges. If I want one tiny candy bar, I have it. That way, I can stop thinking about it. I don’t let that pumpkin scare me anymore. I save my energy for the truly scary things in life.


Now that’s scary

Once I’ve satisfied my craving,  I watch all the people sticking their grubby hands into that pumpkin and I realize…maybe I’m not so hungry after all.

Recipes: Healthy Halloween Ideas


Here are some really fun, healthier treats that you can whip up for your kids (or keep ’em for yourself…I won’t tell). You’ll find recipes for Monster Sandwiches, Frozen Banana Mummies, Goblin Potion, and more.

So, Hungry Lifers: what’s your favorite Halloween candy? How do you avoid eating too much of those little candy bars? What’s your best Halloween recipe? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!



October 28, 2015

Not-So-Scary Halloween Movies

by Maria Schulz

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

With Halloween coming, there are a ton of commercials on TV for the latest spooky, scary, spine tingling, made in a day and cheap as can be movies out there. If you can play a slasher, stalker, zombie, psycho, witch hunter, demon slayer, vengeful demon, or homeowner of a possessed home you refuse to leave, you’re in luck.

If you’re like me, these movies do nothing except add onto the already sleepless nights you’re having. Is that noise on my roof an acorn…or A SEVERED HEAD? Is Jack the Ripper coming back through a portal in my closet TO KILL ME? How do I protect myself from the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE? I’d take a sleeping pill, but nobody needs me out driving around while I’m still asleep.

Since I don’t need any help frightening myself, I’ve come up with a few Halloween movies that people like me can really enjoy. So, here are my:

The early years

The early years

8 Not-So Scary Halloween Movies for Wimps Like Me

  1. MIDDLE AGED WEREWOLF: our hero remembers his glory days as a Teen Wolf when a terrifying night out meant lots of blood, huge memory gaps where he apparently painted the town red by killing lots of people, and some severe social problems caused by being a blood-thirsty maniac. These days, he works all day long at a soul-crushing desk job, does 12 loads of laundry at night, drives his teen werewolf kids to paint the town red, has huge memory gaps that are not caused by having any fun, and goes to bed by 10 pm. “Terrifying!” Middle-Aged Parent
  1. ZOMBIE H.R.: In the post-apocalyptic world, our Zombie H.R. hero must navigate the many social issues caused by regular folk having to work with zombie folk. He must call humans into his office to remind them that they have to wear torn, bloody rags, not have their mothers call to complain about work policies, and stop threatening to kill their co-workers just because they want to eat their brains. Since most offices don’t have lots of workers with brains, the carnage is kept to a minimum. “I’d love to find a motivated worker, even if he was a zombie.” H.R. professional
  1. SEVEN + SEVEN: A psycho has been leaving the word LEGCAPS in perfect script on a chalkboard easel along with the math problem of the day, with a note explaining that it needs to be re-written 100 times in perfect handwriting, erased, and then both erasers clapped for at least 5 minutes or there will be HELL TO PAY. The cops have no idea what that’s supposed to mean. The break in the case comes when one of the officers (a Catholic school kid) realizes that LEGCAPS stands for the Seven Deadly Sins (Lust/Envy/Greed/Covetousness/ Avarice/Pride/Sloth) and that the math problem can’t be solved because it was never taught. A used tissue on the ground makes him realize that the psycho is actually SISTER FELICITY! “I knew it was her all along!” Terrified former student

    Is that you, SISTER?

    Is that you, SISTER?

  1. GRIMM REALITY: After a poor performance review, God realizes that the Grimm Reaper is burnt out. In His infinite wisdom, He sends Grimm to earth to live among mankind where he must work as a midlevel business executive. He goes by the name “Mr. G.,” works endlessly in PowerPoint and Excel, participates in fantasy football, and talks a lot about metrics, quotas, and return on investment. He soon realizes that he would like to kill himself, but he can’t, since he is Death. “What a nightmare!” Non-business executive
  1. DEMON SEED: A demonic force possesses the soul of a landscaper and wreaks havoc on all of the lawns in town. Crabgrass! Dandelions! Burnt patches! Empty spots! Untrimmed Bushes! Now the local priest with a green thumb must take on this unholy visitor and send it back where it belongs…the city. “CRABGRASS! UGHHHH!” Stressed-out suburbanite

    OH NO...WEEDS!


  1. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD DMV: The undead take over the local Department of Motor Vehicles…and for the first time in anyone’s memory, it begins to run with speed and efficiency. “I’ve never enjoyed going to the DMV more!”—Moviegoer
  1. CHRISTINE: A middle-aged woman takes a sleeping pill to get some rest. As far as she’s concerned, she’s asleep. Actually, she is driving around town mowing down unsuspecting pedestrians, eating tacos, and singing with a mariachi band. “Hey…that’s just like my dream last night!” Middle-aged movie-goer

    Are you a vampire?

    Are you a vampire?

  1. TWILIGHT: A young, bored teenage girl starts dating a local boy who may just be a 100-year-old vampire. Oh wait…this is a real movie. “I cried when Kristen and Rob broke up! I’m a Twi-Mom!” –Scariest Moviegoer of All

Here are my choices for some real movies that let you celebrate Halloween without the gore:

young frankensteinYoung Frankenstein

Arsenic and Old Lace

Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein

Monster House


The Birds

Any Twilight parody

The Hunger Games

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Meet Me in St. Louis (funny Halloween scene, because as my husband always says, somebody has to kill the Brunkhorsts)

Monsters, Inc.

Get your popcorn here!

Get your popcorn here!

Recipe: Scary-Good Halloween Popcorn

2 cups Popcorn (air-popped)

½ cup gummy worms

½ cup gummy bears

½ cup M&Ms

½ cup of your favorite chocolate (Hershey bar, Kit Kats, or Nestle Crunch, chopped)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Cayenne to taste (optional)

Cinnamon to taste (optional)

Make popcorn. Add salt and pepper to taste, plus a little cayenne, or cinnamon instead. Toss the popcorn with the spices of your choice, and then add gummies, M&Ms, and/or a favorite candy bar that’s been chopped into bits. Grab a handful and enjoy! Don’t forget to share.

So, Hungry Lifers: what would the plot of your not-so-scary movie be? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks—and Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2014

Not So Scary Halloween Movies

by Maria Schulz


When you feel like a nut.

When you feel like a nut.

Yes, it’s Halloween again! That magical day when the kids dress up in costumes, ring doorbells, and beg for candy. It’s also that day when you realize how cute your neighbor’s kids are in their Frozen or Ninja Turtle costumes, and that you forgot to buy candy.

I love Halloween and I always have. I used to think putting on makeup and running from door to door to get candy was as sacred a ritual as the search for the Holy Grail. If that shopping bag wasn’t so full it was about to give me a hernia, then it just wasn’t Halloween. I like candy so much, I even wrote about it in I Like Candy.

I always enjoyed walking with my kids and dog for hours, pounding on doors and yelling, “Trick or Treat!” The kids spent weeks finding their costumes and perfecting them, and I enjoyed helping. On the big day, I’d put on a costume too (my go-to costume was a 50s poodle skirt dress, while my dog went as a yellow Labrador). It was a fun way to meet the neighbors, get a little air, and have enough candy to last me through the next millennium.

Unfortunately, my door-to-door begging days have passed. My kids are too old to go trick or treating, and my dog doesn’t want to walk more than a few blocks. The scariest thing I’m going to see this year is the pumpkin candy holder that my co-workers put outside my door. It’s filled with candy and I’m trying to resist its siren song.

Come to me...

Come to me…

I’m sorry to see my trick or treating days end (for now), so I’m looking to start some new traditions. I’d like to watch a scary movie, but let’s face it: I’m a coward. I have written about this in past Halloween posts such as : Halloween Candy and a Movie and Halloween Thrills and Chills. It’s clear that I’m not really cut out for a movie marathon that features demons, demon spawns, witches, vampires, gore, blood, and werewolves with anger management problems. Even the commercials scare me! So in honor of Halloween, I’ve come up with some movie ideas for wimps like me. Ready? Let’s go:



Ouija Boards and Teachable Moments

A group of teenagers gather around a Ouija Board and open a portal to the great beyond. Once opened, their 3rd grade teacher returns from the dead to haunt them because they never turned in their homework. Ooooohhhhh….ARE  YOU READY FOR YOUR FINAL EXAM? “I was up all night!”–Former 3rd grader.

The Cooking Exorcist

When a young girl starts vomiting pea soup and becoming disfigured, her worried family wonders if she is in fact possessed by the devil. They go to their Catholic priest for help, and he brings a world renowned Exorcist with him to help. However, after they eat at Mom’s table, it’s clear that the only thing possessed is Mom’s terrible cooking, and the kid’s disfigurement is probably just a result of Mom’s inability to leave out peanuts from her allergic child’s meals. “Scariest movie ever!”—My kids

It was a dark and stormy night

It was a dark and stormy night

Drag me to a Government Office

A bank loan officer turns down a sweet old lady for a mortgage, and that old coot gets nasty and damns her to hell. The loan officer ends up in a 12-hour-line at the DMV. Karma or coincidence? You decide. “I think I’ve met this old lady! Scary stuff.”–Person in line at DMV



The Atlanta Horror

A couple buys an old house as a fixer upper, but quickly begin to think that it may be haunted. The fragrance of peaches and Jean Nate perfume lurks around every corner, and crossword puzzles appear as if by magic. Just when they bring in a priest to exorcise the house, the old lady who sold them the house pops out from behind a false-wall, where she’s been living and enjoying free food and cable. She got the idea from her favorite movie, Bad Ronald. “I was absolutely terrified!”–My friend Lisa, who is still recovering from a childhood viewing of Bad Ronald

Sing it with me one more time!

Sing it with me one more time!

Psycho Sings!

Guests keep checking into the Tates Motel, but they don’t check out. Reports get out that an odd innkeeper never takes down his vacancy signs, and lots of eerie music comes out of there late at night. Eventually, we learn that the innkeeper bursts in on guests while they shower, belting out renditions of “Tiny Bubbles” as he plays his ukulele. He then kidnaps them and forces them to join his homage band to Peter, Paul and Mary. “I was never so frightened by Puff The Magic Dragon in my whole life.”–Joni Mitchell

A Nightmare on Elm Lane

Children are going to bed and being haunted in their dreams by a deranged sock puppet/religious fanatic who wants to teach them all about embroidery, how to escape the fires of hell and be saved forever and ever.

Are you a vampire?

Are you a vampire?

Fright Night

A vampire moves in next door, and between his whiny girlfriend, baseball-playing family, and glittery skin, the neighbor can’t get any sleep. They turn to Tales From A Hungry Life’s post, Halloween Fun, for more on vampires, their annoying ways and the people who love them. “Glittery vampires! Isn’t Edward Cullen dreamy?”–Twi Mom

Here's 50 things I need you to do by 9:30 a.m.

Here’s 50 things I need you to do by 9:30 a.m.


An evil boss with no fashion sense and no people skills lurks outside cubicles with an armful of work. His subordinates have no choice but to run and hide before he catches them and sucks the life out of them with his boring water cooler stories. “I have not only seen the movie, I’ve lived it!”–Every office worker in America


Killer Tacos

Alien Invasion

A crew on a space ship succumbs to a gut-wrenching, body-convulsing form of possession…until the last member standing realizes it was just the after effects of Taco Night.

Hell Raiser Meets Harold and Kumar

A teenager with multiple piercings, a crazy hairstyle, and so many tattoos that he’s now completely unrecognizable is on a bold and horrifying quest to find…White Castle.

Worth the trip.

Worth the trip.

The Bayside Witch Project

A movie crew composed of former Catholic schoolchildren wanders into an empty convent to see if they can find any evidence of demonic possession. But what they find is even more frightening: Sister Mary Margaret is STILL ALIVE! “AAAAAAAAA!!!”–her former students


Is that you, SISTER?

Is that you, SISTER?


Raisin The Dead Snack Mix

Here’s a snack mix for you to munch on tonight, in between opening the door for little candy-seeking monsters and watching scary (or not) movies.


Scary good.

Scary good.

So, Hungry Lifers…what movie would you make for non-scary movie lovers like me? What’s your favorite part about Halloween? Have any fun recipes? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks, and have a safe, fun, Happy Halloween!