How to Manage Your Children's Halloween Candy

They say death and taxes are the two certainties in life.

There is a third: kids eat candy until they throw up.

It's interesting how picky they are with vegetables and other healthy foods that don't taste good to them.  But dump candy in front of a child, and like a mongrel chowing on a 30 ounce porterhouse, he will only stop consuming when his digestive system shuts down.

Halloween is Saturday, and with it comes jack o lanterns full of junk. Here's how to manage your children's Halloween candy:

Take What You Want First

If this sounds like stealing from your children, it is. If you have a problem with that then grow a pair.

This is easier and less malicious than it sounds. Remember, your children don't need all that candy, and it's your Halloween, too.

In my house we follow a steal-it-forward process, if you will. My older son steals from his brother's stash, I steal from my older son, and my wife steals from me.

Two things work to my advantage.

First, my oldest son and I have different favorite candies. Almond Joy, Baby Ruth and Snickers cause me to drown in my own dopamine which is a wonderful place to be. My son could give a shit about them. He prefers Skittles, M&M's, gummies and other candies stained with all that farkakte dye. He doesn't exactly cry when "my candy" goes missing.

Second, when his jack o lantern becomes full and too heavy, he naively orders me to carry it for him. During the trick or treating home stretch, while he frolics, shoelaces untied with his sugar-crazed friends, I pilfer my vittles.

"I thought I had more candy than this," he asked me last year.

"Hmm," I shrugged. "You must've eaten more than you remember. It happens."

Allow Only One or Two Pieces Per Day

When I was a boy, I had no Halloween candy restrictions, and as I spread my candy out before me, the possibilities were endless.

I organized piles that represented my candy meals for the week. I enjoyed watching my pee turn green and making candy corn poops almost as much as eating the candy.

I'm telling you this--and if you want, I could describe what Payday poop looks like, though you probably get the idea--because putting limits on your kids' candy intake is wise.

One piece is a good number to start with and anything more makes you seem generous.

My son didn't embrace it at first.

"I get four pieces everyday," he countered.

"Oh do you? I see you've met with the board to determine this. Yeah, the shareholders won't be happy."

"I told you. I get four."

"How about zero?"


"How about I just throw it all away?"

"Fine, one."

Two days later, I permitted two pieces, and he hugged me and told me I was the best dad ever.

Donate It

Your child's school may have a Halloween donation program like my son's. They collect candy for children's shelters, which is sweet, but sugar and artificial flavors and colors probably don't help the malnourishment situation there. Who knows? Maybe it all goes to the staff.

Not only is this charitable, it's a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids about sacrifice and performing good deeds.

The only problem is that kids don't give a fuck.

It's one thing for them to donate their old clothes, but surrendering their hard-earned trick or treat candy is a personal injury. My parents never asked me to donate my candy because they had very low expectations.

You just cannot rationalize the forfeiture of Halloween candy with kids. Be sneaky instead.

"They probably told you at school that you can donate your Halloween..."

"I'm not giving my candy away," he said.

"You're not giving it away. That sounds so abandoning. You're donating it."

"That's not fair. Why do I need to donate all my candy?"

"Why do kids have to live in shelters? Talk about unfair. I'm not saying donate all of it. Just a little. There's probably some stuff you don't even like."

"I'm only donating a few pieces."

"Okay, that's fine. But maybe hold on to the Almond Joys, Baby Ruths and Snickers."

He parted with five pieces, and after he fell asleep I increased that to about a quarter of his collection.

Provide A More Exciting Dessert

What could be more exciting than candy?

Ice cream.

I know what you're thinking: How is ice cream healthier than candy?

For one, it doesn't look like this:


Or this


Or this


Plus there are tons of all-natural ice cream varieties with real ingredients.

Kids have no loyalty, so they will forget about their Halloween candy once you place a bowl of mint chocolate chip in front of them.

Fuck It

Let them have at it.

Maybe you have really good kids who deserve it and aren't diabetic and have no deadly food allergies.

Maybe you have really challenging kids, and this is one less battle to fight.

Maybe your kids experience a natural consequence like diarrhea or the shakes and they learn from their mistake.

This could be more liberating than you think.

Happy Halloween, and good luck.

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    David Telisman

    I am a vitamin D-deficient former Floridian--who, despite the winter--loves Chicago. I contradicted convention (and common sense) by moving FROM the beach to the Midwest, but Lou Malnati's and any Italian beef sandwich reinforce that I made the right decision. I also got a wife and two sons out of it, and I would do anything for my family, except miss a Miami Hurricanes football game. This is my take on fatherhood. You can contact me at Thank you for reading!

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