Nov 3, 2009

Sugar-coated pumpkin abuse

by Tim Mattingly

The shrieks of sugar-stricken children filled the streets on Halloween. From winding midnight shadows emerged little faces, besmeared in chocolate war paint. With eyes gleaming a sickly shade of sugar-high, children lost control, and jack-o-lanterns paid the ultimate price as their broken pumpkin bodies were scattered upon the street.

This unprovoked violence against pumpkins is best explained in an English accent, courtesy of the British Journal of Psychology. In a 1970s study of 17,500 10-year-olds who grew up to “commit violent crimes,” 70 percent were found to have eaten candy almost every day, according to

“The study authors speculated that the cause of this phenomenon may be the use of candy by parents to control children’s behavior,” according to “This prevents children from developing the ability to delay gratification.”

This study scientifically disproves the driving concepts behind “trick or treat.” In theory, we fork over chocolate ransoms to youthful masked marauders to avoid their mischief and pranks. However, the “trick” is on our innocent pumpkins.

In our attempt to “control children’s behavior” we have created monsters. With sugar coursing through their veins, their midnight mission turns to destruction and we sit idly by as jack-o-lanterns die.

In our self-centered mindset, we fail to remember that pumpkins represent everything that is good and pure during the time that leaves begin to blush red and orange at autumn’s touch.

Where would America be without our seasonal pumpkin pie and pumpkin-spice lattes? Without these soul-warming substances, fall’s beauty is lost, and we will be left with only a bleak precursor to winter.

Candy can cause violence, according to But when all the pumpkins are gone, children will need to find a new outlet for their sugar-driven aggression. All the treats in the world will not protect us from the tricks to follow.

When the lives of pumpkins lay shattered on the streets, the next logical targets are kittens and the elderly. Child-related sugar riots must be kept in check and their chocolate intake controlled. We must save the pumpkins — kittens, the elderly and the warm-fuzzy feelings of fall depend on it.

Contact Tim Mattingly at

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