Last week, Sandy wasn’t the only thing happening in the world—there were also things that rhyme with Sandy. Like candy. Last week was Halloween, of course, and as one Brooklyn-based friend of mine (with a seven-year-old child) put it on The Facebook Machine, “Did you think Halloween was canceled this year? Oh, my, no.” Where there’s a sugar high, there’s a way. Says Donna Arnett, head of the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health:
The average U.S. child collects between 3,500 and 7,000 calories from candy on Halloween night, a public heath expert estimates.
Assuming he or she eats all of this what does that translate to healthwise?
a 100-pound child who consumed 7,000 calories would have to walk for nearly 44 hours or play full-court basketball for 14.5 hours to burn those calories.
I recall one SU-UConn Big East Championship game that I think came close to 14.5 hours... Anyway, calories (delivered via candy or any other food) are essentially a source of energy, not unlike gasoline. Bill Chameides at The Green Grok does some interesting “candy to gasoline” calculations:
A gallon of gas weighs about six pounds and contains about 130 million Joules (130,000 kilojoules) or about 30,000 calories. So here are some candy-to-gasoline equivalents. Candy amount is equivalent to...gasoline amount
  • 1 pound of candy: 0.06 gallons
  • American kid’s Halloween haul: 0.1–0.2 gallons
  • Average American’s candy intake: 1.6 gallons
  • Total American candy consumption: 400 gallons
Exxon used to say, “put a tiger in your tank.” Maybe you should put Tony the Tiger in your tank. Looking at it from an economic standpoint:
I estimate that a pound of candy costs about $4. By comparison, a pound of gasoline (remember there’s six pounds in a gallon) only costs about 60 cents. Sounds like gasoline’s a bargain.
we don’t buy gasoline by the pound. So what about the caloric value? Well, a dollar will buy you about 500 candy calories but at the pump that very same dollar will get you 8,600 calories of gasoline. Even more of a bargain.
Personally, I’d rather have a small amount of candy and walk everywhere, but alas that’s not always possible.