Like another famous Grinch’s attempt to steal Christmas, a Prospect Heights orthodontist’s ploy to buy back kids’ Halloween candy fell short on Monday.
Modeled on the city’s gun buyback program, where weapons owners are allowed to exchange their firearms for cash with no questions asked, Dr. Sophia Scantlebury offered $1 for each pound of costume-begotten boodle brought to her Plaza Street East office.
“It’s not about the money,” Scantlebury said. “When it’s October, [kids] start thinking about candy.”
And candy, we have long been told, is bad for teeth.
Nonetheless, Scantlebury found few youngsters willing to part with the satchels of free sugary treats that come only once a year as a rite of passage.
In fact, the first participant to redeem confections for cash was the mother of a boy who was conspicuously absent from the handover.
“He doesn’t like candy,” said Andrea Abrahams as she weighed her son’s Halloween bounty on a scale like it had been seized in a drug raid by the DEA. “He just likes to go trick-or-treating.” (In her son’s absence, this claim could not be immediately verified.)
An hour later, an actual adolescent ventured in with a plastic jack-o’-lantern teeming with Hershey bars, Kit Kats and other giveaway goodies — and the kid was willing to part with the oral contraband.
“I don’t usually eat candy unless they’re Jolly Ranchers,” said 12-year-old Juliana Gmelch.
Her haul totaled four pounds — twice the maximum amount that Scantlebury had originally allowed.
“We cut her some slack because she’s a good girl,” said Tammie Mackey, the office’s receptionist, hinting that the earlier two-pound maximum was actually waived because the buy back program was going so slowly.
By the end of the day, only 15 people had participated and only 20 pounds of candy were bought by the tooth doc. There were no reported tantrums or tears from children being separated from their sweets.
”It was a complete success,” said the dentist who, despite her efforts on Monday, does not have a zero-tolerance approach to candy.
“If kids are going to have candy, they should eat a little right after their meal in order to avoid ‘plaque attack’ that can come from snacking throughout the day,” she said.
That plaque attack will now be waged in Iraq. Scantlebury said she would ship the purchased candy to our heroic (and, apparently, candy-deprived) troops in the Middle East.
Don’t worry about them; they have an excellent dental plan.