What’s so fun about ‘fun size’ candy and other tricks and treats


Photos by (from left) Charles Parker, Karolina Grabowska and Ksenia Chernaya (all from Pexels.com)

Amy Fenster Brown, Special to the Jewish Light

We are one week away from Halloween, which is like a warning that the winter holiday season is right around the corner — hiding so it can jump out, yell “BOO!” and scare you when you least expect it.

Halloween is also a fantastic time to ponder my age-old question: Who decided to call miniature candy bars “fun size?” There is nothing fun about getting only two bites of chocolate. True “fun size” would be a candy bar the size of my arm. That’s fun. Luckily, this season means sweaters, sweatshirts and dressing in layers, which conveniently covers up the side effects of my definition of “fun size” candy.

Didn’t we just finish the High Holidays and now we have to gear up for more? No, we get to gear up for more. We get to celebrate all kinds of things while wearing cozy figure hiding clothes. There are birthdays, anniversaries, milestones and more to celebrate year-round. The time of year we are now entering just seems to have way more packed in.

Is it because daylight saving time makes the days seem shorter? That’s the post-Halloween holiday in my house. My husband lives for daylight saving time. Turning all the clocks back is seriously his jam. The only thing that could make it better would be for trash day to coincide with clock night. That would be like winning the lottery for Jeff.

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Winter holiday season 2020 was a total bust. The C-word ruined so many of our plans for travel, family gatherings and extended family gatherings. By C-word, I’m referring to COVID-19, which is soooo 2020. I’d say we are pretty darn ready to get back into the groove of celebrating winter holidays in person — with people who hopefully are fully vaccinated and maybe masked (my own beliefs, not necessarily yours).

I’m happy to be invited anywhere to celebrate anything, and I don’t care where you seat me. You can put me at the kids’ table, the random cousin table, or on a crappy folding chair with a TV tray in the laundry room. I’m good. I’m just happy to be included.

My stomach is already full just thinking about going from candy-filled Halloween to comfort food-filled Thanksgiving, and just about the time you finish eating those leftovers, it’s Hanukkah. To quote every Jewish grandmother I know, “Hanukkah is early this year.”

It’s actually more like Thanksgivukah this year. I’ll happily celebrate the miracle of the oil burning for eight nights with nature’s most perfect food – potato latkes. Thanksgiving leftovers would never last for eight nights. Maybe to emphasize my Thanksgivukah theme I’ll put cranberry sauce on my latkes or make the pancakes with stuffing instead of potatoes. Leftovers and latkes. So on-brand.

Come December 1st we are all going to be bloated, thirsty and way too comfortable in sweatpants. I think they’re called joggers now, so if you want to be cool you should make sure your sweatpants are joggers. I know leggings are super popular but they’re basically second skin, or sausage casing, and unless you have a longer tushie-covering top, you might not want to reach for those.

This leads us right into Christmas. Whether or not you celebrate that holiday, most of us are surrounded by friends and family who do. That means we are surrounded by more gatherings, more relatives, more friends, more festivities and more food. This means more joggers.

The season wraps up with New Year’s Eve, which lands on a Friday, so it’ll also be Shabbat. I’m going to create a Manischewitz and champagne cocktail for the occasion so we can cohesively say kiddush while counting down to the ball drop. L’Chaim! Conveniently we will have all day Saturday and Sunday to recover from my signature drink, which I’m thinking of calling Guilt at the Stroke of Midnight. This is a great follow up to my Thanksgivukah signature drink, Gobble Gobble Gelt.

Then it’s January, so resolutions featuring diet plans and healthy living will take over. But only for a week or so to be realistic. Then we can go back to beating ourselves up over our choices and start the cycle all over again.

Good news – it will be right on time for Valentine’s Day candy to be out. I hope my husband gets me a card saying he loves me because I am “fun size.”

Monthly columnist Amy Fenster Brown is married to Jeff and has two teenage sons, Davis and Leo. She volunteers for several Jewish not-for-profit groups. Fenster Brown is an Emmy Award-winning TV news writer and counts time with family and friends, talking and eating peanut butter among her hobbies.