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Maybe I can warn you before it’s too late, but I doubt it. Halloween has arrived in our local commissary and probably yours, so watch out for those scary little treats hiding around the corner of every aisle and lurking beside the check-out line.

As usual, the arrival of the candy season caught me completely by surprise on a steaming hot afternoon when all three boys had accompanied me to the commissary.

We went in there for apples, chocolate chips and milk. Half an hour later, I checked out with more candy than real food. Among the booty were two bags of smiling Jack O’ Lantern lollipops and a dozen ghost-shaped marshmallow Peeps.

I should know better by now.

Year after year, I bring up the subject of the candy season. It may not be on your calendars, but that doesn’t make it less real.

With the arrival of Halloween candy in the Fort Belvoir commissary, I must declare the candy season of 2007-2008 to be officially here.

It will reach a peak at Christmas, continue through Valentine’s Day and have its grand finale next spring when the Easter bunny comes and goes.

For years, my friends have shared stories about throwing out the leftover treats from Halloween, while I remain silent.

These conversations usually take place around Thanksgiving, when marshmallow Santas have long replaced the screaming Skittles in our house.

It takes less than a week for the boys and I to reduce their treats from Halloween into a handful of rejects that only Glory would find appealing.

Even though it pains me to throw away candy, that’s exactly what I do, making sure to take the trash outside so Glory doesn’t go digging around in it.

Having accomplished that unpleasant task, I begin to stock up for the next holiday, with and without the kids along. I have a great excuse to buy sweet stuff from now until April and fully intend to do so, trying my best to keep from getting too carried away.

When that happens, I have a drawer in the guest room reserved for my secret stash of emergency chocolate. Everyone in the house knows about my stash, so it isn’t very secret.

But it is out of Glory’s reach and prevents me from eating the baking chocolate when times get desperate.

If you haven’t experienced the extreme need to fill your mouth with candy as soon as possible, the beginning of candy season probably isn’t a big deal to you. Still, you need to be prepared, in case someone in your family is a candy-craver. Bite-sized Halloween Snickers are haunting your local commissary, and they are not staying where they belong, on the candy aisle. They are lurking between the laundry detergent and air fresheners, hovering in the dairy aisle and worst of all, waiting to jump out and grab you in that moment of desperation as you hurry through the checkout line.

If, like me, you’ve already given in and let those treats creep into your cart, don’t feel guilty about a little early indulgence.

Halloween is only two months away, which means our Halloween candy- shopping days are numbered. We might as well make the most of it.

‘Tis the season.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 16 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at homefront@stripes.osd.mil or find the Zichs online at www.lifeonthehomefront.com.

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