11678470_l1.jpgWhen I was very young some crazy man murdered his son. He poisoned the kid’s Halloween candy. The motive? To collect the insurance he and his wife had taken out on the family. His son was fond of that candy that I always called “Pixie Stix” — and, it was his son’s “Pixie Stix” that was poisoned.

“Pixie Stix” were large plastic straws tab’d off at both ends which contained flavor’d surgar powder. I believe they came in several different flavors. I loved “Pixie Stix” Actually, I was a bit obsessed with them. I adored the rush of sugar and flush of super sweet flavor. This was probably some sort of signal that I would end up loving drugs. But, who knows?

You could enjoy “Pixie Stix” in several ways or methods.

Sometimes, after my Grandmother snapped one of the end tabs open, I would pour the contents into a glass of water and drink it all down in one gulp. Now, that was a pretty cool rush. Other times, Grandmother would pour it into a glass of Tab. The problem with mixing the powder with my Grandmother’s Tab was that it was so sweet I would have to sip it slowly to avoid getting sick. The rush wasn’t as cool but I loved the sweet flavor.

But my favorite way to eat the contents of a “Pixie Stix” was to simply pour large quantities of it on my tongue and let is sort of fizz with my saliva. My tongue would be the color of the candy until I brushed my teeth.

I don’t know how old I was. I suspect I was about six years old. Anyway, when this man killed his son by poisoning a “Pixie Stix” it caused my mother to panic. Which was unusal. However, this seemed to terrify her. And, as I remember it — for a while anyway — they removed all “Pixie Stix” from the stores in that part of Texas. This all came down near the time of Halloween. And, it was this incident that made my mother institute an annoying policy regarding Halloween candy and my beloved “Pixie Stix”

I didn’t enjoy dressing up for Halloween. I never have. However, I did enjoy the candy. The problem was that under my mother’s new rule that joy was stolen. My mother would select my costume. I can remember she would ask me what I would want to be. I would tell her. And, no matter what — I ended up “being” something different than what I had requested. I should note that this didn’t much matter to me. I really only wanted the candy. She would have a bag for me. I remember that year it was a bag from some store like a Casual Corner where she liked to shop.

I was made to dress up in this pre-determined costume and go ’round several blocks to trick or treat. It always seemed that I was the only one who was only accompanied by his mother. I didn’t mind that. We would get in her blue bug and drive to the “better” neighborhood where people had money. She would be dressed in a cute outfit. Her hair would be perfect and she smelled so nice. My mother always looked hot and she was always younger than the other mothers. I enjoyed the fact that the other kids all thought my mom was cool. I also enjoyed watching all the attention she would get from their fathers. At some point I remember thinking that my mom enjoyed this, too. But, I’m not altogether sure. Memory can be a tricky thing.

As we walked from door to door and I would say “Trick or Treat” with my mother urging me to put more “spirit” into it.

“Honey, say it like you mean it! Be happy! How are you going to get any candy?”

The people on the other side of the door would do those usual things. You know, ask me who or what I was. It seems like I was always the same thing for years.


“Oh! And you’re such a cute clown! What is your name, sweetheart?”


Silence. “I’m sorry. He’s just shy!” (I was not and have never been shy. I was annoyed, bored, itchy and just wanted my candy!)

Finally, we would be done. We got back in her little car and we drove to the package store which was back in our neighborhood and close to our house. We’d get out and the large lady behind the counter would act like I was a “big” man dressed in something that made her afraid.

“Oh, my goodness! I’m so scared! What are you?”


“Tell the lady what you are! Honey? Tell her!”

“Why, I can’t even imagine! Is this your wife, honey?” …I can remember her winking at my mother.

“I am! I am out with my man! Now, sweetie, tell her what you are!”


“Oh! Clowns always scare me! You know what?”


“Matthew Stanfield! You answer this lovely lady right this instant!”


And, I can remember this large woman leaning over the counter smelling of Slim Jim’s, “My husband is a clown!” …and, with that she burst out laughing. I remember my mother joining in with a forced chuckle.


“I’m sorry. He is just a little shy!”

I was then instructed to pick out one big piece of candy.

“Where’s the Pixie Stix?”

“No more Pixie Stix. I already told you what that horrible man did to his little boy and I don’t want you eating that candy anymore.”

I remember some hushed discussion of this horror as I examined the candy boxes. I selected a Chunky Chunk. No good. I was given a Hershey’s chocolate bar. My mother then got us both a bottle of Coke.

“Can I have Tab?”

“No. I am not your Grandmother and you will drink Coke.”

“Would Mr. Clown like a tiny carton of milk?”

“No. He’ll have a Coke.”

I was made to say goodbye.

We left the store.

We got in the car.

And, it was at that moment that my mother began her strange Halloween ritual which would carry on until I was about nine and simply refused to go Trick or Treating. A choice which my mother would blame on all the horrible movies my father took me to see and my endless listening to too much of “that loud Barbra Streisand and Roger Daltrey!” …But, this was the night the ritual began.

“Let me have the bag of candy, baby.”


Sipping her Coke, she reached over and took it. “Now, open up your candy bar and enjoy it! Happy Halloween, sugar!”

And then, she tossed the bag out her window. I could hear all the night’s candy splatter on the pavement.

We drove home. I was upset and made it clear that I didn’t understand.

“It is for your own good, baby! That horrible man has probably given a lot of sick people sick ideas. So, we’ll just have fun dressin’ up and collectin’ the candy! But Matthew, you are never — I repeat — NEVER to eat it! Do you understand Mommy?”


“Well, that doesn’t matter. Eat your candy and drink your Coke.”

Her thin arm reached over and turned up the 8-track.

…b-b-b-bennie and the jets

January 23, 2007. Uncategorized.


  1. hot lunch replied:

    oh my!!

    yes, i got that you hated Halloween from all the October archives i’ve gone through… that’s too bad as i LOVE Halloween and i know that it’s such a big event down in the Castro. I wish I could come down for that one year! This past year I dressed up as a Care Bear – Love-a-Lot to be specific. Another year I was a gynecologist (it was during the year all those abortion doctors were being shot at). I wanted a friend to come with me as a Pro Life sniper but no one wanted to. I’m already planning for this upcoming year. I was thinking of wearing a nude body suit, putting on a long black wig, and carry around one of those exercise balls and go as Sook Yin Lee from Shortbus!

  2. Kevin replied:

    Oh Hell to the Hell to the Hell to the No. Halloween candy chucked out the window? Unacceptable.

    PLUS you had to be a clown? Oh no.

    I will not tolerate this.

  3. matty03 replied:

    Hot Lunch! LOL! OK, can I just say that your idea for a Sook Yin Lee costume is fantastic. I would just suggest that you add a little pink ribbon with a dead daisy to wear around your neck. …I wonder if folks would get it? You would need an artificial leg with a high heel so that you could crush your tennis ball from time to time, too. Excellent idea! You must do this and take pictures for the blog!

    I also love that you went as an Abortionist! That takes guts, my dear friend! You know, I don’t think they are going to celebrate Halloween in The Castro anymore after this past year’s shootings and the violence the year before! …for this year I shall be safely hidden in my living room with a cover over my head.

    Kevin! I know! And on top of that, if any of it was poisoned couldn’t a dog or something have gotten at it!?? But, I think the worst is the clown outfit. I was dressed as a clown for far too long. One year I know I had to wear one of those uncomfortable clear masks that covers your whole face. I hated that but not as much as the clown. To be fair to my mother, she did let me and helped me dress up as Pinnochio for a school thing one year. But, I don’t think that was Halloween. That was just me being odd and her supporting it. I was a bit older — maybe 4th grade. My little brother was brought to some Proto-Christian Halloween thing when he was a kid and then when my mother grew away from that he was brought to this thing the local mall started. …but he lucked out and never had to have his candy bag tossed. I think my mother was much more together by the time my brother came along — which was 12 years after I was born.

  4. Kevin replied:

    And I’m still debating a trip to SF myself. Who knows — maybe I’ll show up on your doorstep with a bouquet of pixie stix.

  5. Smiley replied:

    Great flashback, Matt. My Mother was equally obsessed. Although she let us eat the candy, but she had to open and inspect each piece, first.

  6. matty03 replied:

    Kevin! That would be awesome! Tho, I don’t know that I’d like Pixie Stix anymore. I wonder if that was what they were really called or just what I called them? I know the logo had a little picture of Tinker Bell. But, that would be so much fun if you came to SF! …Know a little bit about the local theatre scene, but not too much!

    Joshua – LOL! Thanks! That idea — to inspect the candy makes more sense to me!

  7. Kevin replied:

    Well the small ones are definitely Pixy Stix.

    They also had the large plastic ones …

    I still love them — although I don’t eat them on any regular basis. They’re like Sweet Tarts in powder form.

  8. matty03 replied:

    Kevin! Wow! That’s it! I was spelling it wrong!! I bet I’d hate them now, but it would be fun to try one!!! Thanks!

  9. Lubin Odana replied:

    I think I can see where she was coming from, kind of. All mothers are a bit insane over their kids. She was coming from a place of love, really! Just she expressed it kind of crazily! Poor you though. I hope you got to enjoy as many Pixie Sticks as you liked when you got older!

  10. matty03 replied:

    Lubin! Yeah, I’ve always known she loves me. She just chose to protect me in and from odd things. But, she meant well and always did her best. I love her. No Pixie Stix but I guess they are still available as Kevin’s comments indicate! However, I’ve not wanted for much in my adult life! I’m just fine! And, our childhood makes us who we are. And, I like who I are! LOL!

  11. sortedlives replied:

    I agree, I hated getting dressed up as a kid. I was more like, “just give me the damn candy and no one will get hurt, okay.”

    Instead of giving you a bouquet of Pixi-Sticks, I will just wrap myself up as a wrapper and knock on your door. What is your favorite flavor?? LOL

  12. matty03 replied:

    Sorted! Awwww, that is so sweet! Kisses and a hug to, my friend!!!

  13. Pants replied:

    No! My heart sunk with the splatter of candy! Oh, Matt. And I thought my parents were hard core for only allowing us one piece of Halloween candy (each day) for three days before throwing our loot out.

    You are, hands down, my new favorite. Memory may be a tricky thing but your writing style certainly doesn’t make it seem so.

  14. matty03 replied:

    Pants! LOL! I think that was still pretty damn hard core. Why take your kids trick or treating if they can’t have the candy. Just skip it. LOL! Thank you!!!

  15. Tim replied:

    Poor matty, that must have been quite traumatic, putting in all that effort to get the candy and then having it thrown away in front of you!

    I never got to celebrate Halloween, as we weren’t allowed to. My Mum used to give Christian pamphlets to any trick or treaters that came round …. they soon learned not to bother with our house. I’m just amazed we never got egged or toilet rolled (are they even verbs?!).

  16. matty03 replied:

    Tim! That is so sad! I’m sorry! That would have been MUCH worse!

    I actually thought my memory was kind of funny. …in a way.

    Anyway, I was surprised at how sad some are finding it.

    I’m listening to Metric right now!!! Your music is blasting thru the apartment!!!

  17. Kalvin replied:

    What a great story! It sounds like the trick or treating wasn’t that exciting to begin with. Maybe you could have just petitioned for some candy without going from door to door if your mother was just going to throw it out. I was never a huge fan of pixie stix, and I always just dumped the whole thing onto my tongue. I hope that things are going better and well. I really enjoyed your deconstructing post, and now I’m wondering what I should have perceived when you said that you were propositioned.

  18. matty03 replied:

    Hey Kalvin! Thanks! Yeah, never was a fan of trick or treating but I do so love candy!

    Oh, Pixie Stix were so magical! …and that burst of energy was amazing!

    What are you wondering?

  19. Kevin replied:

    You can find them at your local Walgreens in the candy aisle. You should try one for old times’ sake.

    (And that’s just like Sorted, trying to “one up” me.)


  20. matty03 replied:

    Hmmmmm… I just might do that! Tho, I suspect somethings might be better kept a memory.

    I think both you and Sorted rule!

  21. Daniel replied:

    Shades of Jessica Lange in “Blue Sky”. Those needy, love starved southern women. Gotta love ’em.

  22. matty03 replied:

    Daniel! LOL! I need to see that! I don’t think I ever have! And, I love Jessica Lange!

    …My mom was pretty hot, but not at the Jessica Lange level! …I’d say more at the Sally Field late 70’s level.

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