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Lenore Skenazy
Lenore Skenazy
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Halloween Desperation


Sometimes you just have to marvel at the endless innovation of the marketing world. Say your job is to peddle black unpronounceable jelly to an American audience. Do you throw in the towel? Quit and go to anthropology grad school? Or do you boldly dive in?

Here's a little pitch I got via email for just that product. I get a ton of product pitches because I run a blog that marketers mistakenly believe will drop everything and immediately crow about whatever they're trying to sell simply because — hey! — I got an email! (Has that ever worked?) Anyway, here it is. Comments in parentheses are, of course, mine:

Hi there! (Perhaps the company has not heard there are programs that automatically slot in the name of the person being emailed. I'm trying not to take it personally.)

Add a little more to your trick-or-treat this Halloween season, and turn your sweet-filled month into a HalloWellness one! (Wow, what a catchy new phrase. "Mom! Can we get a bag of turnips? HalloWellness is coming up!") This year, treat yourself, your family and friends to an orange and black festive pairing of (brand name's) Turmeric and Chyawanprash. (And how festive that does indeed sound. Practically a party on the page.)

Here are a few of our favorite Halloween concoctions to spice up your season:

Turmeric — This orange spice supports inflammation, digestion, joints and radiant skin. Available in capsule and powder form, there's no need to look like a ghost this Halloween! (Are we supposed to sprinkle it on our faces?) Oh, and did we mention this is Doctor Oz. approved? (No, you didn't. Because why wouldn't the doctor approve this ancient spice used by half the globe?)

Chyawanprash — This 100 percent organic herbal jam is packed with 36 traditional Indian herbs + vitamin C, aiding in digestion, metabolism, memory and even skin complexion.

Its deep black color will make even the simplest toast a bit more spooky :) (There's another way to make toast black and spooky. I did it yesterday, and my smoke alarm went off.)

Let me know if you are interested — would love to send you samples for you to check-out and share with your readers. Looking forward to your thoughts!

So here are my thoughts:

How am I supposed to share samples of black jelly with my readers? Have a chyawanprash bash at my place and invite them over? Or casually mention it in a post about, say, what's wrong with mandatory minimums? "If you're locked up for 15 years on a minor nonviolent drug charge, why not write home and remind your kids to enjoy a chyawanprash sandwich?"

But amazingly, the chyawanprash folks are not even the most desperate folks this Halloween season. Sorry — HalloWellness season. Here's a pitch I got just this morning:

Zombie masks and vampire fangs can spook kids, but here's something scary enough to petrify a parent — face paint. Smearing drugstore Halloween paint all over kids' faces might achieve the desired look — "Check it out! A bloody skeleton!" But the health effects are anything but desired.

The letter goes on to say that face paint is basically plutonium and that kids using it will end up like real-life bloody skeletons by the time they're 14. Which is ironic, because all the other hyperventilating Halloween safety sites exhort parents to use face paint because masks are so dangerous. They obscure kids' vision! Use face paint instead!

So here's a two-birds, one-costume solution. Considering no one else in America is going to buy black jelly or boycott face paint, do these folks a favor: Have your child go as a jar of chyawanprash. Just wrap 'im in Saran wrap (make holes for the arms and eyes!), smear with chyawanprash and sprinkle with festive turmeric.

Trick or — hey! Where did everyone go?

Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker and author of the book and blog "Free-Range Kids." To find out more about Lenore Skenazy ( and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



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