although I did decide to have a packet of chocolate 'frogs' on hand in case we were visited by any very small children. I did not want to disappoint them. Thankfully nobody decided to visit us, indeed the entire district was quiet. Last year was, from memory, somewhat noisier.
I am not sure what to do with the frogs. We will not eat them. The Whirlwind might take them to school to share. I must ask her.
When I went to buy them it occurred to me to wonder what had happened to all the sweets that were available when we were small. I do not usually look too hard at the confections available. Our taste runs to good quality chocolate - but not too often - peppermints and one or two other things as "wicked" snacks.
I can remember being given a "penny" to spend on sweets. It would buy me four "mixed sweets". You could buy "conversation" lollies with messages like "my love" on them. There were squares of much the same sort of mixture too - good value if you sucked them, or so we thought.
There were boiled sweets. We were not particularly fond of those. "Life Savers" - round tubes with life buoy shaped sweets inside. There were acid drops, pear drops and cherry drops. There were aniseed balls, gum balls and gobstoppers. There were "freckles" - coin shaped chocolate pieces covered in "hundreds and thousands" and Jaffas and Fantales and Clinkers. We had jelly beans and licorice all sorts as well of course - and Dolly Mixture.
My grandfather used to buy my grandmother "Scotch mints", small round peppermints. They were quite soft and would almost dissolve in the mouth. He usually had a tube of peppermint or clove Life Savers in his pocket.
Many of those things came loose, in big glass jars. The shop owner would put them into a twist of paper or, later, a small paper bag. You could choose.
When I worked in a residential nursery school for profoundly deaf children part of the Saturday morning ritual was to walk around to the nearest shop. It still sold sweets loose. By then the little ones had five cents each to spend. Inflation had set in. They would wait their turn and then point silently to what they wanted. The owner was an amazing man. His wife would come in and serve the other customers while he patiently waited for each child to choose. He would hand over the small paper bag with the few sweets in each and they would solemnly hand over the coin. Then there would be smiles and the "thankyou" sign.
The sweets have gone. The shop has gone. A shop I bought sweets in as a child is still there. It has long since changed hands. It no longer sells milk or cream from the churn or "milk" iceblocks made from the previous day's milk. It still sells sweets - but in regulation approved packaging. The packets seem to get smaller and more expensive every year. You cannot choose in the same way.
I actually saw a packet of "conversation" sweets the other day. It was in the local "cheap" shop.
I looked at the packet out of curiosity. It said "made in Indonesia". Through the packaging I saw one that said "love me". I can't.