Bill Gates is being a Halloween buzzkill with his healthy candy

Oct 31, 2012

Doesn’t this guy ever let his hair down? It’s Halloween! A long and important tradition, at least as far as I remember, was getting far too much candy and then hoarding it for months. (A parallel tradition only surfaced sometime after the 1980s: fighting over how much of the trick-or-treat take our kids were going to keep.)

Now though, there’s “healthier” candy … where’s the fun in that?

Well, Bill Gates is still just the second richest man in the world … so he has to stay on his game, evidently. So, he wrote on his blog that he’s enamored of great tasting candy that’s suppos’ to be good for you.

It’s called Unreal candy made by Unreal Brands (there’s a TM hanging above one of the words)

Gates explains it’s “a company in Boston that just launched this summer. One of the company’s backers is Vinod Khosla, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems who runs a venture capital firm that invests in clean technology. I’ve invested in the Khosla Ventures fund that helped start Unreal™, which was why I got an early sample of the products.”

So, he’s got money tied up in it.

Also, he says the ethic behind the candy could lead to healthier food all around, which is important because our kids are getting fat.

“Unreal™ has a mission much bigger than just selling candy. It wants to have an impact on some very troubling trends in nutrition and public health in rich countries. Young people in the United States, for example, are estimated to get as much as half their calories from junk food and beverages. Teens consume an average of 24 teaspoons of corn syrup per day. This trend may be related to projections that by 2020, 40 percent of Americans will be clinically obese and half will be diabetic or pre-diabetic.”

Linda Thomas at MyNorthwest.com (where I first saw this story) adds:

“They work hard to ethically source their ingredients, like traceable cacao beans, and sustainable, organic palm oil. The dairy is from cows raised without antibiotics or added hormones. And the candy is made in the USA.”

Trick or … well, trick

This video (or a similar boat trip) is likely to be as close to Bill Gates’ house as any of us will get for trick or treating:

I also wouldn’t drive around trying to find a way to his front door, just saying.

But, you can cruise by his blog and catch some of the “tricks” or comments there (it is admirable that he leaves those comments on his blog).

One commenter complains that another investor in the candy company, Vinod Khosla, is blocking a beach in San Mateo County, Calif.

The Mercury News reported yesterday in a story with the headline “Mysterious owner of San Mateo County beach paradise is asked to let the outside world in” that Khosla is widely suspected of being the property’s owner.

The paper says:

“Martin's Beach, a crescent-shaped spit of sand 10 minutes south of Half Moon Bay, was purchased in 2008 for $37.5 million by Martins Beach LLC, a limited liability company which is believed by surfers and tanning activists to be owned by Silicon Valley venture capital billionaire Vinod Khosla.

“When Khosla was asked by a reporter for this newspaper to confirm or deny ownership of the property, he fled, refusing to comment. His name surfaced in a letter from Gallo to the Surfrider Foundation last year, but Khosla's role in the dispute remains cloaked in the kind of fog familiar to anyone who has ever been to Martin's Beach.”

Another commenter went a little overboard in seeking the help of the second richest man in the world: “Bill, I do not want my child to be a part of sadistic Australian experiment with contraception.”

Not receiving, apparently, a reply to her comment, she proceeded to comment-bomb the post in true trick or treating fashion.

We’re spending a lot on Halloween

Anyway, Anna King with the Northwest News Network (which KPLU helps support) reports from Kennewick that “if Halloween spending is an indicator of the economy, Americans appear to be feeling better than this time last year – or at least more ghoulish.”

Here’s the rest of her story:

A new survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation found that seven of 10 Americans will celebrate Halloween this year. And they’re spending more says spokeswoman Kathy Grannis.

“The average person is expected to spend about $79 on Halloween decorations, costumes and candy.”

Up from $72 last year. Those numbers are fueled by consumers like 24-year-old Brian Williams and 22-year-old Jennifer Reed.

Williams and Reed were walking out of Halloween City in Kennewick with a giant black spider, tombstones and a fog machine for their zombie at home.

“I’ve always loved Halloween ever since I was little," Reed says. "I've always done a display outside my parent’s house and each year I try to make it a little bit better.”

This year’s ghoulish delights cost the couple about $200.

On the Web:

Halloween spending report (National Retail Federation)