I blame myself. I’ve passed on the sweet tooth gene combination to the Horror. Traditionally it has come through the female line, from my Nanna, who had packets of Pascalls Columbines stuffed down the back of all the lounges and into all her cardie pockets. To my mother, who made everything out of a packet, including mashed potato. But not toffee. That she made from scratch. Then there’s me, who’s been known to eat strawberry jam for dinner when not under adult supervision. And no we have the Horror, who uses a Lego head designed for storing different sized Lego pieces for storing his lolly stash, sorted into chocolate, wrapped, unwrapped and lollipops. I’m surprised he has any teeth at all. You can imagine he’s very particular about the lolly bag used for ejecting kids from his birthday party.
The institution that hosted his birthday party does actually provide lolly bags. They are pretty substandard, containing a no name lollipop, a facsimile packet of not Nerds, a strip of something acidic and chewy and various bits of plastic. Between us, the Horror and I have come up with something far more excellent. It has taken a few years of refining, but I think we have it about perfect.
For a start, birthday party attendees have no interest in the bag. Use a paper bag, seal it with packing tape. Actually, for girls you may want to use a horsie sticker, they pay slightly more attention. Next, brand name lollies. I’ve tried and tested, and it does make a difference. Now for the mix.
Variety is what it’s all about. I like to include a lollipop (ChupaChup), some chocolate (a Milky Bar cowboy, or a Dairy Milk tiny bar), some wrapped chewies (mini Mentos and a couple of Natural chews), some soft sweets (coca cola bottles, marshmallows, sometimes lolly bananas), some hard (lemon sherbets). Of late I’ve also been putting in two or three Clinkers and this year two Pineapple Lumps per bag made their debut. The crowning glory is the Wizz Fizz Sherbet Cone. If you haven’t tried them, get out and get yourself some, they’re a terrific sweet, chewy, crunchy, fizzy.
Next is assembly. After much experimentation I’ve found that its best to get all the bags out, so you know where you’re at, and load them up two or three batches at a time. One at a time is too time consuming, the whole batch into one bag at a time is just confusing. So you grab, say, a lollipop, two marshmallows, a mini Mentos and three coca cola bottles and put those into each bag. Then move on to the sherbet cone, three Clinkers, two lemon sherbets and two Pineapple Lumps. And so on. And so forth. Just this year I’ve been able to trust the Horror to help me with it and that cut down production time considerably.