Halloween Stories - Faythe Levine - Low Carb Blues

With just three days to go until my favorite day of the year, I am more than pleased, and a little bit surprised, to welcome craft icon and film maker, Faythe Levine to the series. Faythe is the founder of the popular mid-west Craft fair, Art v. Craft and is, of course, most famous for the excellent documentary: Handmade Nation, which will be available on DVD November 3rd. Here is her story:

I grew up in Venice Beach, CA until I was 10. It was the 1980's and everyone was freaked out about hidden razor blades inside apples. Apples were one of the few things I would of been allowed to eat, but those were now out. Parents glared at the old ladies who pain-stakingly hand-dipped apples into carmel for the neighborhood kids like they were witches in True Blood, trying to slice the insides of little boys and girls mouths with hidden blades. My mom didn't just worry about this, but everything in general. Things that were out of her control and things that she could control, like sugar consumption. I grew up in a "no sugar" house.  Mom was the lady on the block, I learned in later years, that everyone hated who handed out pennies. On the good years she handed the second worst item out, boxes of raisins.

I was allowed to celebrate Halloween with the rest of the kids, but there were rules. I did my time trick-or-treating, filled up my pillowcase and carried it as it grew heavier with the tiny boxes of Nerds, mini-Butterfingers and short cubes of Now & Laters. However, once home, I was asked to do the unspeakable. Dump it out and pick ten, not 11 or 15 or even 20 pieces of candy to keep. So the brutal job of figuring out which candy was biggest and worth keeping ensued. I was told the rest was to be "thrown away" (I am pretty sure that dad picked out all the chocolate before it hit the trash). The worst part was for weeks after, my friends would all have candy in their lunch at school. Mine would be rationed out to one piece a day, then poof, gone. I heard stories of friends who were allowed to eat as much as they wanted and this just made me wickedly jealous and think of the golden ticket holders in Willy Wonka, a childhood favorite that we had on Beta.

Halloween was not unique in regards for substance control. On Christmas I got tangerines and, if lucky, tiny maple sugar Santa's in my stocking. The Easter bunny left me with carob in my basket. I can now acknowledge that this rule, like all the totally over protective rules my mom had, was out of love and it will take all my resistance to not enfore the same "love" onto my kids.

Thanks Faythe! Happy Halloween!


  1. Carob was so big in the 80s. Does anyone even use it anymore? I never got to go trick-or-treating as a kid, so you win over me, Faythe!

  2. My mother rationed out the candy (although none of it was thrown away) and Halloween candy often lasted until Easter.

    Carob was never a chocolate substitute, but rather a traditonal treat in my Christmas stocking. I still think fondly of it, and tend to buy carob raisins aroung Christmas.