Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dealing with Too Much Halloween Candy

I have to tell you, Internet, I don't have a lot of answers for this one. But let's feel things out on the page and see if anything springs up.

I love Halloween. I really and truly do. I love the specials, I love the costumes, I love the pumpkin gutting and carving, and I love the candy. It has always been, more or less, my favorite holiday. When I was little, I couldn't believe the sanctioned action of getting free candy. It was an amazing thing--just walking around and getting it for free, not having to work for it, and, in fact, getting to dress up as whatever you want while doing so. Could there be anything better?

I got older and realized that free candy kind of really isn't a big deal. I mean, sure, that's nice and all, but candy is pretty cheap and I can really only take so much of it any more. I can pretty much go and buy all the candy I could possibly want for five bucks. It would last me a month. Not quite free, but pretty damn accessible.

I really liked it when you got the really good stuff. Kids were always talking about that "one" house in their cousin's neighborhood where they gave out full-size candy bars. They acted like it was a euphoric experience to be handed a full-on adult version of the candy being handed out. I knew that these stories were mostly bull. And even if they were true, big deal. just go to a couple extra houses and collect two or three more fun size bars, if you don't get a full size one (the "fun" size is also bull. I mean, is fun really diminutive? My analyzation of that nomenclature was probably my first encounter with the number one rule of marketing: always tell the exact opposite of the truth in order to sell something).

To top it all off, every year, my grandma would send us each a bag of candy, and just the good stuff. The Snickers and the Butterfingers and the Three Musketeers and the Kit-Kats and the little mini Hershey family. A whole bag, each kid, their own, on top of trick-or-treating.

My brother and I would go on a candy rampage. My dad trusted us to check our packages for razor blade and/or poison entry wounds. We would eat candy all night long.We would have candy for breakfast the next day. We would go nuts. And we would store secret stashes of candy from each other, hidden away until Christmas, just to make sure that we didn't finish our haul before the other one did.

This was great, from my childish mind. But as an adult, I can't stand it. I can't stand the influx of all of this candy, mainly because it makes my kids impossible.

If they have a couple pieces of candy too many, they can't sleep. If their hunger for candy is sated, they beg for more. If they are given free reign, they make themselves sick--literally. And all of this falls on our shoulders to deal with. I don't remember my brother and sisters being such a pain in the ass to my parents. Our candy intake was unstoppable, unbegged for, and unregulated. But these days, my kids having so much candy just makes a clusterfuck of issues that I have to unravel and suffer through.

What do I do? Be the jerk dad who constantly regulates or even takes away Halloween candy? Do I let them go for it and batten down the hatches? In a house with four kids, nothing is so protected and holy as the right to a good nights sleep--it dictates the potential of every single day.

Something we thought of: buying their candy from them. Giving them a preset amount of coin for each piece. Or buying the whole bag for a bunch of money. But does this intrude on the sanctity of the tradition? Or does this reinforce the place of money as sacred in their lives?

I would love to hear how others deal with this. Or how others don't deal with this. Fire away in the comments, if you'd be so kind.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

We let our son (only one is old enough for Halloween yet) have all the candy he wants for a couple of days. He's pretty good at rationing it out himself, though, and doesn't go crazy. Maybe we're lucky there.

I think it'll have to be different for each kid. If your kid can't handle the sugar, the rule is only X pieces per day. Like pretty much everything in parenting, there's unlikely to be any single "one size fits all" solution.

Also, wanted to point out that razor blades and poison in candy from strangers is an urban myth. The only known cases of poison in candy came from within the family (much like most kidnappings happen with family members/friends, not strangers). I think we should all try and keep our kids and their holidays as innocent as possible.