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That House in Your Neighborhood That Didn't Have Candy

On Fridays, I post a series of unrelated questions meant to spark conversation in the comments. Answer one, answer all, respond to someone else's reply, whatever you want. On to this week's topics of discussion...

1. Every neighborhood has that house that goes off script on Halloween. Maybe it's a dentist who gives away toothbrushes, or the family who gives out cash. Or something way cooler than fun size candy. What did the non-candy houses in your area offer up instead?

2. Think back to your CD (or tape or record) collection. You probably bought a lot of albums because you liked one song you heard on the radio or MTV. Which "I bought it for the single" album was the most disappointing?

3. On almost every TV show, there's an episode where someone — usually a pregnant woman whose water already broke — gets stuck in an elevator. In my 32 years, this has never happened to anyone I know. Have you ever been stuck in an elevator? How'd you pass the time?

4. I was recently asked where I thought most people read our site. ("Computers?" was deemed an unacceptable answer.) Next time this comes up, I'd love to be armed with enjoyable anecdotes. (Fake examples: "I was stuck in an elevator and spent the entire time rummaging through The Amazing Fact Generator." / "Antarctica.") While the real answers are probably "at work" and "at home," where's the coolest place you've read mentalfloss.com?

[See all the previous Friday Happy Hour transcripts. Have a great weekend!]

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Here's What to Do With Leftover Halloween Candy
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Americans indulged their sweet tooth in a major way this Halloween, spending an estimated $2.7 billion on candy intended for front porch distribution. Rather than confronting a weepy child with an empty bowl because they bought too little, shoppers tend to buy in bulk. Come November, that can mean pounds of sugar-packed temptation still sitting in the house.

The good news: You can remove the risk to your waistline and do some good at the same time. A number of charitable organizations take leftover candy and send it to troops stationed overseas. Operation Gratitude has set up a number of drop-off centers around the country—you can search by zip code—to accept your extra treats. Once collected, they’ll send them to both troops and first responders. Last year, the group collected nearly 534,000 pounds of goodies.

Often, drop-off locations will be located in dental offices as a way of reminding everyone of the perils of tooth decay from excess sugar consumption. Some dentists even offer buy-back programs, paying $1 for each pound returned.

If donating to a national program is proving difficult, you can always deliver the extra candy to local food pantries or homeless shelters.

[h/t weartv.com]  

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Health
The FDA Has a Warning for People Who Love Black Licorice
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Every Halloween, children and adults alike gorge on candy. One estimate puts the number of junk calories consumed at up to 7000 per kid, the equivalent of 13 Big Macs. While all of that sugar is most certainly not healthy, Consumerist reports that there’s actually a more immediate danger to your well-being: black licorice.

Most versions of the candy, which gains some popularity around the spooky season, contains glycyrrhizin, a sweetening compound found in the licorice root. While tasty, glycyrrhizin can affect potassium levels in the body, causing them to fall to dangerously low levels. High blood pressure, swelling, and even heart issues can develop as a result.

It’s not just bingeing that can cause issues. According to the Food and Drug Administration, adults over 40 who eat more than two ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks could suffer heart problems like arrhythmia. If you have a history of heart disease, you’re even more susceptible to complications.

The FDA recommends using a little common sense when consuming black licorice, eating it in moderate amounts and stopping if you notice any adverse symptoms. If you do experience potassium level drops, it’s usually reversible once you put the bag down. Treats that are licorice-flavored are typically artificial and won’t have the same effect as the actual plant root—but for your waistline’s sake, try to avoid gorging on anything.

[h/t Consumerist]

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