Tri-colored waxen delight. | Courtesy Wiki­Media

If you’re going to pub­licly declare your affection for a food that has the odor and texture of a tacky Walmart candle, a decent respect of oneself requires a statement of the causes impelling one to that pref­erence. 

Since I was old enough to scowl for family pic­tures, I fled with my family every few months from the crowded suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia to a mountain house an hour-and-a-half north. The brown carpets held an unre­lenting smell of must, a swiv­elling leather footrest with metal buttons was lit­erally dizzy­ingly exciting, and outside the windows, if you woke up early enough, you could see the soft ovals pressed in the fallen autumn leaves by sleeping deer. 

I sur­vived the gru­eling (to me) one-mile trails around the house on pre­cisely-timed install­ments of gummy Life Savers from my grandmother’s pockets, and around Thanks­giving, candy corn reg­u­larly and mys­te­ri­ously appeared in glass bowls on the dining room table. 

Oreos grow stale and lose their del­icate crumbles. Snickers and Skittles get smashed in the bottom of back­packs and under the floormats of vans. But candy corn remains unchanged. Its strength lies not only in its honey-fla­vored, waxen nature, imper­vious to musty mountain house air, but in its ready avail­ability to serve as dec­o­ration. 

What’s better than a Thanks­giving candle? Edible, fall-colored, sweet treats you can rattle into bowls and gain credit for snack and dec­o­ration in one. Plus, there’s no fire hazard. 

Candy corn roots us in the tra­di­tions of low-main­te­nance dec­o­ration dear to the hearts of all Amer­icans (have you counted how many wooden pallets are trans­figured under spray paint and stencils into yard art?), and hearkens back to our Pilgrim for­bearers. These lusty folk probably had to eat wax, at some point, and then the Indians helped them grow corn and they had Thanks­giving. 

Unfor­tu­nately, like the Pil­grims, I was raised in a reli­gious tra­dition that pre­ferred to set aside a holiday for Martin Luther than for vaguely demonic spirit worship, so my candy con­sumption was restricted to hiking rations and furtive cabin snacks. 

My paganism has waxed strong since leaving my parents’ household for the corn­fields of southern Michigan, so this year, in support of my dec­la­ration on behalf of candy corn, and with a firm reliance on Walmart’s candy supply, I heartily resolve to stock my cup­boards with the infamous tri-colored veg­etable imi­tation and shove handfuls of my waxen bounty into the candy buckets of pro­fessors’ children. To this con­sumption of sugar I pledge a set of plastic vampire teeth, their enamel com­po­nents, and my sacred sense of fun.