Why It’s Good to Let Your Kids Have Halloween Candy

If your kids are anything like mine, they cannot wait for Trick-or-Treating tonight. Getting dressed up in their costumes and getting tons of candy!

But then comes the debate on how much candy we can let our kids eat and still be considered a “good mom” in the eyes of other moms.

Letting your child dive in and eat as much as they want is not a good idea. One year, our oldest managed to sneak his candy bag out of its hiding place and chow down. Later, his room was strewn with candy wrappers and puke. Even if you don’t have a pukefest, your child’s teacher will likely wish that the day after Halloween was a National Holiday if your child comes to school fully sugared up.

But, not letting your child have any or only letting them have one piece before you give it away might be extreme, too.

When I was growing up, we were not allowed any sugar at all. Unless you count the natural sugars found in fruit/fruit juice. My mother made everything from scratch because she wanted to make sure we were getting totally healthy, all-natural, sugar-free foods. No sugar and nothing artificial.

Yet, we were still allowed to go trick-or-treating. Because she couldn’t deny us dressing up and getting to go out like the other kids.

But, unless we were given something like raisins, we couldn’t have any of our candy.

None. Not even one piece.

Unless….

My father was around. And then he’d let us have all we wanted. Because it was such a rare treat, we dove in and ate until we felt sick… and then ate some more.

Making candy be so off-limits made it all the more desirable.

Now, I’m not going to let my own kids have a crazy sugar-fest where they can eat all they want. But, they can have a few pieces each day for a few days- after which, they will have either forgotten the candy is there or will assume that they ate it all.

A few pieces for a few days is not going to hurt them. And because they know they can have some, it won’t seem like such a forbidden temptation.

Well, except that they can’t have any Reeses peanut butter cups: those are for me and Hubs to fight over.

What do you do with your child/children’s Halloween candy? 

Comments

  1. The Random Blogette says

    I so agree with you on this. If you deny kids any type of candy they will eventually revolt and start hiding stuff in their room or figure out how to be sneaky about it and who wants sneaky kids?! We limit our kids to 2 pieces a day. Really they don't need any more than that. I usually let them have a piece when they get home from school and then one after dinner. It usually works out well.

  2. Corinne says

    We usually put the candies in a tub. they each get their own tub, and they can have a few a day. They can eat the candy until one week later, then whatever is left(usually the gross stuff anyway) goes in the trash.

  3. tracy@sellabitmum says

    They can totally eat it in moderation(2 pc per day or so) – but I try to eat it faster when they are not looking…

  4. Kmama says

    We limit it to a few pieces a day as well. Tonight they'll pretty much have free reign (within limitations, because I do NOT want a puke fest).

    Dr. Oz was on the radio this morning and he said that he lets his kids have free reign for 48 hours and then it all gets thrown away. I kind of like that idea for older kids.

  5. Evonne says

    My kids can have 2 or 3 pieces a day. After about a week, most of the good stuff is gone and they forget about it. This is why we usually have Halloween candy at Christmas!

    And of course I have to help them eat it. They can't possibly eat all those Reese cups by themselves ;)

  6. Stephanie says

    They get 2-3 pcs after the trick or treating is over. After that they get one pc a day till it is gone.

  7. Di says

    My birthday is exactly a week after Halloween so we always put all my candy out at my parties or used it in the goody bags. Of course, my mom always had candy in the house anyway so it was never a forbidden thing. That's probably why we didn't go crazy on it.

  8. Adrienne says

    I totally let them have a ridiculous sugar fest Halloween night. Then I let them eat it for the following few days as long as they've had something substantial (ya know, like ramen noodles.), then they forget about it, and it rots in our pantry until Christmas.

  9. Amanda @ It's Blogworthy says

    Well my guy is too young for any candy so far, but I remember growing up we pretty much came home and chowed down!!I don't remember my Mom and Dad ever saying, "no more candy"…I think for me, I'll be inbetween…you can have X amount tonight but more tomorrow..bribe him ;)

  10. angela says

    I'll let them have a piece a day, basically. Sometimes an extra sucker or something. Mine are little, though. I think when they're older, I'll be a little more relaxed.

    We also have to be a little more careful, because Abbey's allergic to peanuts, and it's possible Dylan is, too. (We haven't had him tested or tried PB yet.)

  11. Samantha says

    For my sake, and Bree's sake…the Halloween bucket always goes up in the cabinet and we allow one piece of candy a day…maybe two. Of course none for myself, but I found that if the candy is out in the open…everyone in the house is more likely to grab a piece every time they look at it. I started the out of sight/out of mind thing last year, after I gained weight the Halloween before because of all of the candy. I didn't eat one piece of candy last year because it was in the cabinet and I didn't have to look at it :)

  12. Christa aka The BabbyMama says

    We're thinking we might do an exchange where the Spooky Kid comes and trades a toy for all the sweets. It works for our vegan friends whose kids can't eat most of the candy… so here's hoping!

  13. Megan (Best of Fates) says

    When I was little I was allowed to eat as much Halloween candy as I wanted. But I've never been that into candy, so instead I would hide it throughout the house because I was really into the Babysitter's Club books and Claudia was incredibly cool and that's what she did. Anyway, I wasn't that interested in the candy and I'm very forgetful, so my mom ended up just finding rotted candy in hiding places for years. So she probably wished I'd just eaten it.

  14. Jen says

    Our rule is that they can have two pieces of candy a day. Then about after a month, I get sick of it and throw it out.

  15. John says

    When I was growing up, the rules were pretty simple – you went trick-or-treeting and you were allowed one piece of candy when you got back, and then one piece of candy after school and another piece of candy later at night until it was gone. Or there was only the crappy candy left.

    Of course, there was a very real chance that I might have brought a second bag for Halloween candy, and that bag lived in my bedroom….

  16. TheUnSoccerMom says

    When Christen was a baby/toddler she didn't know what candy was. When she was able to go to fall festivals and participate and win candy, she liked candy, but didn't really love it, so I never had to guard how much she ate. Thank goodness!

    Even now, if she buys something sweet, I'm more likely to finish it for her, otherwise it will go bad and have to be thrown away! :o)

  17. Kimberly says

    My son is only 3 so obviously he won't be eating like a mad man…on the other hand I will be eating like a mad man.
    Oh how I do love Halloween.

  18. An Imperfect Momma says

    That is a good plan. Monkey is still too young to trick or treat but this sounds like a good plan to initiate. We never went trick or treating as kids so I have no story to go to either.

  19. Desperate Housemommy says

    FIRST The Cherubs lay it out on the family room carpet and make some weird design out of it. I snap a photo for posterity.

    THEN they can each eat five pieces.

    THEN it all goes into a giant cauldron which will be kept in our pantry. Share and share alike.

    THEN we skim about a quarter of it out to donate to the candy drive at school.

    THEN everyone gets two pieces each night, as dessert, for as long as the stash lasts.

    Which is usually, um, til Christmas. There's THAT much.

  20. Emmy says

    Oh Reese's are my favorite too- and there are never enough handed out. Probably because all of the parents take them from the bags before they even get handed out.
    My husband is a candy junky- and so my kids eat it way too much.

  21. Ashley says

    That's exactly the plan at our house. My parents pretty much made us throw it out after two days. It was no problem. We got reallyreally good at hiding spots. When I moved out for college, my mom probably found some long forgotten Twizzlers in one of our go-to hiding spots. =)

  22. Caren with a "C" says

    I let them have at it for a few days with the exception of right before dinner time. Then in a few days we throw the leftover away. We homeschool so I don't have to worry about them going to school loaded with sugar. I'm the lucky one that deals with them. LOL.

  23. Helene says

    First off, I have to say it's pretty scary how similar our mothers were in terms of the whole Halloween candy issue. My mom refused to let us have our Halloween candy…in fact, she'd come drive around the neighborhood to look for my sister and I and she'd take whatever candy we had collected already and go back home and pass it back out to the trick or treaters who stopped by our house. I don't even really know why other than I just thought she did it to be cruel.

    So my sister and I got smart…we'd go to a friend's house after we were done and stash some candy at her house. This friend would bring us some candy each day from our stash so we could still enjoy it.

    I don't even think my mom knew we did that. I'll have to tell her one day when she pisses me off…just to experience the beauty of pulling the wool over her eyes for once…hahahahaha!!!

    Tim and I still debate about the best way to handle the candy. We've tried it both ways…letting them just go crazy with their candy for a couple days and then getting rid of it or rationing it out over a period of time. Both ways kind of suck….mine are smart enough to remember they had a ton of candy and if we ration it out, it lasts way past New year's.

  24. blueviolet says

    When they were little, I would let them have a few pieces that night, and then a few pieces a day. When they were older, I told them they could eat as much as they wanted that first night and then after that, they could have 5 pieces a day. They were totally good with that!

  25. Loukia says

    I let them eat what they want but after they've gone to bed, I dive in and eat my favourites! It's the best part, no? ;)

    This year I'll try to limit them. Maybe I'll have them select three pieces and save the rest for the days to come. :)

  26. Sela Toki says

    Usually I hide the candies from them. But then I'd end up eating them all so I just let them take it. It'll take them a couple days to eat 'em all up. Unless of course they're gracious enough to pack them up in a suitcase to send to their cousins in the island who'd die for an American piece of candy.

  27. Cheryl says

    They get a certain amount. This year I think we're going to donate the rest to send overseas to the military.

    Also, I *might* put some aside for me. ;)

  28. Carolyn says

    I won't deny candy, but I will limit. And I'll let my daughter know why we are limiting so she can learn about good food vs. bad food (sugars). Will she get it? Probably not, but I figure we'll start teaching her now.

  29. Jennifer says

    I'm somewhere between free reign and limits. Meaning I don't let them eat as much as they want, but I do let them eat more than I think they should.

  30. Elaine A. says

    I do the same thing, basically. I put a piece in their lunch and let them have some here and there the week after and then I have my husband take the rest to his office! :)

  31. Mel says

    I totally agree with your aproach. All things in moderation as long as mommy and daddy get at least SOME of the good stuff:)

  32. crazedmama says

    I don't let the kids just pig out on the candy when they get home. I allow them to have a certain number of pieces that night, and then the next day…etc. I don't want them pigging out and getting sick, plus they enjoy it for a longer amount of time that way! (mommy does sneak some while they are at school, though. shhhhhh.)

  33. Lisa @ Two Bears Farm says

    Reeses cups are my favorite too! I don't let mine totally dig in, but they get to pick any piece they want for dessert after lunch and dinner (and sometimes as an extra treat during the day) until it's all gone or I've eaten it all ;-)

  34. Jessica says

    We let our children have Halloween candy but we limit how much. Usually we take out some of the candy they will like and we give the rest away at work.

  35. Cascia Talbert says

    Very interesting article. I let my kids eat their Halloween candy, but only a couple pieces a day. We limit their sugar intake on a regular basis but don't completely take it away like your parents do. My husband and I also sneak the kids candy when they are not around so that it gets eaten faster. So far they haven't noticed.

  36. Grumpy Grateful Mom says

    I like your thinking! We let our kids have candy for about a day, then I let them just keep a few pieces and buy the rest from them. They're always good with that. We'll see how it goes this year. :)

  37. Nicole says

    Oooh, I'm planning on writing a whole post on this! Here's the short version: I let them have as much as they want. They self-regulate pretty well. After a couple of days they lose interest.

  38. The Preppy Girl in Pink says

    My girls love to play candy store with it. They sort it and put it on display on any given table in the house. After it is all sorted, they take inventory (literally…with paper & pencil), then they open up for their stuffed animals to come by it. It has seriously been happening since Ash was 4. They are happy just to have the candy around. I don't limit them because I don't need to. They eat a few pieces and then the hubs and I start diving in once they get bored playing with it.

  39. Nezzy says

    Great advice sweetie!

    I would let my kiddos have a few pieces outta their haul and freeze the rest dolin' it out a piece at a time later on for a sweet treat.

    God bless and have a fun spooktacular evenin!!! :o)

  40. KLZ says

    The peanut butter cups are the world's most amazing things.

    Except for milky way bars.

    So I'm sensing you and I could compromise if sharing a bag of candy.

  41. WhisperingWriter says

    My kids can have as much candy as they want on Halloween.

    After that I do store it but they can have a couple of pieces per day for dessert IF they've eaten a good dinner.

    But for Halloween, I figure that's a holiday to go nuts with..

  42. Team Suzanne says

    You don't have to look around very far in our culture to see that the "forbidden fruit" approach just does not work. I mean–do we really need any more evidence that telling someone they absolutely cannot do something is the best way to get them fixated on doing it? Hello failed "Just Say No" anti-drug campaign–I'm talking about you. And, hello ineffective abstinence education programs–I'm also talking about you. The only kid I've ever known that threw up from eating candy was the one whose parents did not allow any candy. The rest of us were wide-eyed and appalled that anyone in their right mind would eat that much candy.

    I'm encouraged by how many parents go the moderation route. A few pieces a day–and the kids eventually lose interest–it's great to see that this approach works for so many people. That's how it rolls at our house, and here's hoping it works again this year!

  43. Tonya says

    Everything in moderation I say. I'll hid the majority of Lucas' loot after giving him a couple of pieces.

  44. Nikki says

    We don't have any kiddies, yet, but when I was younger I remember being able to eat whatever candy I wanted, as long as it wasn't opened (the razor blade scare). I like what your mom, did I think thats great you didn't have alot of sugar! I think I would try to do that, but probably give in and give them one or two and then just make sure the candy they were eating didn't have any high fructose corn syrup.

  45. Teresa (Embracing the Spectrum) says

    I don't usually give him candy. It's one night a year. I kind of let him eat as much as he wants. He never wants much anyway. lol

  46. Rach (DonutsMama) says

    Sounds like you've got a very sensible plan to me! That's crazy that you were allowed to trick or treat but then not get any candy! What did she do with it?

  47. Missy says

    I wrote about this today too – and I agree with you – sometimes you just gotta let em break the rules for a day. But not to the point where there's puke. :)

  48. Lee-Ann says

    Tonight my kids about about 6 treats from their loot. I think that was pretty fair. We keep it and will give it out as treats for their lunches or it will be dessert for the next 4 months but eventually it will all be gone.

  49. A Dash of Domestic says

    We have a 5 piece the night of rule. Each kid can pick 5 choice pieces to eat, then over the next week or two I allow a few pieces a day. I freeze the chocolate.

    Of course, my kids are older now and only one still trick or treats, but we buy candy and I allow the older one to have some of the candy I bought.

    Kids get too old to trick-or-treat successfully before the desire to trick-or-treat leaves them.

  50. Kimberly says

    I do let the kids have a few pieces at a time. After a few days they do usually forget about it.

  51. Bossy says

    My mother would always dump all the candy in a big bowl and give us a little bit and then bribe us through Thanksgiving. When I was 10 I thought it was horribly unfair. And at the wise old age of 12 I realized that the little kids got way more candy in their buckets than I did.
    We carry on the tradition we dump all the candy into a bowl and then over the next week or so each day I take about half out and throw it in a pillowcase so they think it is gone. Last year we still had half a pillowcase of candy sitting around at New Year's and I chucked it.
    I gathered the entire stash tonight. I am pretty sure they got 15 pounds of candy. Ugh!

    Kira

  52. Mommy Inconsistent says

    Well, first off, they are under strict instructions to get as many Reeces peanut butter cups as they can 'cuz those are for me. (Oh, I'll fight you for those, Shell) And then they are allowed a few daily. The thing I dread is the begging and negotiating starting at about 6am! My oldest is relentless! We didn't do as many houses this year so all the candy should be gone within this next week (I hope!)

  53. Jessica says

    I typically let mine have a go for it after trick-or-treating and then one or two pieces a day after that for a week. After the week is up the rest of the candy goes into the trash.

  54. Heather says

    I have never denied my kids their candy or really set any limits. For example if they wanted to get up this morning and have a piece I totally wouldn't care- no one did. They didn't even look in their bags.

    When we got home from trick or treating last night my son ate NO CANDY, my oldest daughter had one piece, but first ate her Halloween bag of pretzels, and then ate the leftover peas from for a snack (seriously – and cold – she likes it like that), and my 5 year old baby had three pieces (and one was a bag of pretzels).

    I have no idea why, but they seem to make good choices. It certainly isn't my parenting skill!!!!

  55. Am I Really Grown Up? says

    I agree completely. If you take away something, you are always going to want it more. Annabelle had 2 pieces and a small bag of pretzels last night. She was fine with that.

  56. MommaKiss says

    We give them a choice. They can keep it all and have a few pieces a day (if they eat their fruit and veggies). Or they can donate half to my dentist (who ships to the troops overseas).

  57. Him and Her says

    I too give them a few pieces for a few days in a row, and then by the weekend they will have forgotten we have it or assume they've eaten it all…then comes the real question: what should I do with it? Cause, what I WANT to do with it is eat it all….

  58. Lane says

    I took my 20 month old for the first time this year and when we got home I let her eat several pieces (half of which ended up mashed into the carpet.) I'll let her eat the rest (maybe 10 things total) over the next few days. Candy is fine. She eats healthy all the time, so candy through the next few days is not a big deal to me at all. I just want her to have fun with the holidays!!

  59. KSK says

    I think that's the way to do it.. I don't remember what we did growing up.. but when we were a little older, we were able to have all of our candy (I think, anyways… I realize now just how tricky parents can be!!)

  60. Twins Squared says

    I completely agree about how forbidding it just makes it that much more desirable. We let them have a few pieces a day for quite some time. We get so much though that it lasts forever. I think this year we're going to donate about half of it. After a couple weeks we take what's left and put it all in one big bowl but it still lasts forever. Hence, the donating idea this year….

  61. Minivan Mama says

    The Great Pumpkin comes and takes all of the dangerous candy and leaves foodless treats for my kids. We have food allergies, but I still think they should get to trick or treat.

  62. Barbara says

    This is the first year we've had to deal with this, but we've let him have a few pieces here and there. It's a rare treat that he doesn't get all the time. I agree with you, after a few days I'm sure they will forget it is even there.

  63. RoryBore says

    I'm from the kinda-let-them-almost-gorge for a few days mindset. But I also do a "purge" after they go to bed to morph it from mountain to molehill size. Half the mini chocolate bars go in the freezer (well, minus a few Coffee Crisp and WonderBar….funny how they seem to get lost from pillowcase to freezer???), and I hide most of the bags of chips.

    I find that besides chocolate and chips, all they really like is the suckers and gum. They don't like tootsie rolls, those hard kisses, licorice or sour/hot things. That stuff goes in the garbage after a week usually.

    And they may be seriously short in the Rockets department, since they are great lil blogging fuel pills! LOL

  64. Joy Taylor says

    I heard that it is better to give the candy all at once for their teeth. When you draw out the candy supply the worse it is for the sugar to rot the teeth.

  65. Jackie says

    I really try to limit the candy to one or two pieces a day because otherwise my youngest daughter would eat it all day long. For the longest time she'd as for a "snack" and really mean candy.

    Oh… I'm totally with you on the Reese's PB cups. They're my favorite.

  66. Mom of 12 says

    I wrote this up in more detail on my blog, but we believe in community property at our house. That's because older kids and adults go trick-or-treating and don't receive anything unless we share. When the kids get home, we dump all of the candy together. The kids get to keep special stuff like full-sized candy bars and play-doh. Then this year I let them choose 15 pieces to eat now or save for later. Today I will probably give them 10 more. After that, all the candy disappears and just comes out on special or random occasions. I can make it last until about Valentine's Day and hardly anyone ever eats enough to puke.
    Sandy

  67. Joanne says

    I am with you on that one. We were not terribly restricted on candy growing up. There may have been a couple Easters where either me or my sister would throw up on the way home from Grandma's in the car, but once that happens, you pace yourself if you have any sense at all. Some kids I knew growing up were very restricted and they would hide and eat candy. Not a good thing to encourage. Let them have their candy, I say. Thanks for dropping by my blog.

  68. Lourie says

    My kids have sooo much candy it is sick. But yes, letting them have a few pieces a day is a great way to go. I even will throw a non melty type in their lunch box for the first week. After that it gets put up and forgotten and eventually thrown out. They really made out this year though. Holy cow! I could sell it. LOL

  69. Foursons says

    Mine got 2 pieces before bed last night and then I was THE BEST MOM EVER and let them have one piece before school this morning. This afternoon I turned my head and didn't watch. Tomorrow it will be put up and rationed out.

  70. Jen says

    NO CANDY? You poor thing! I allow my kids to eat candy too. I love chocolate, how can I deprive them of something so delicious?!

  71. Jennifer says

    I. EAT. IT. LOL!!! Well, not all of it, anyway. I could get away with it last year coz who gives a little baby candy? But now that he's 3 and knows what candy is, my husband and I have to sneak candy out of his stash! Hahaha! Terrible! I let him eat all his candy, but I dole it out – otherwise he'd want to eat it for breakfast. Another way we're able to control how much candy he eats? We only let him trick-or-treat on 3 streets. None of this 'trick-or-treating from dusk to dawn' stuff!

  72. I'm Jennifer. says

    I take the same exact approach. I'll let my boys eat a few pieces of candy for maybe a week. Then I'll chuck the rest. They won't even notice.

  73. M-Cat says

    Catching up around here, and I used to first take my tax levied for the whole costume/trick or treat event. THen they would have a few pieces that night, some more the next day or two. Then it all went into a community bowl and it disappeared pretty quickly. Don't tell my neighbors I threw away their crap

  74. Charlotte says

    HAHA, I would fight over the Reeses, too :)

    I always go by the "everything in moderation" mantra. My upbringing was similar to yours BUT we were allowed to indulge in Halloween treats. I think as long as you don't repeat the Halloween Pukefest, you're doing just fine :)

  75. Katrina says

    What I do is take their Halloween bags and keep them in my control. Then, when the timing is right (not before dinner, not first thing in the morning, not right before bed) I give them their bags and just let them have an hour or two of complete freedom with it. Eat all you want, I say. The truth is, I want it to be GONE. The last thing I want is Halloween candy lingering in the home for weeks. So the sooner is it eaten up, the better. I have nine children, and not one has every overdosed on candy to the point where they got sick. Even with the hour or two of complete candy freedom.

    Truth be told, if the candy is around for weeks and weeks, guess who will be eating it, too? Yep. ME. I'd rather they eat it up in that first week than have it around for me to get into!

  76. Courtney K. says

    My son is just now old enough to really understand Halloween and he had a BLAST this year. I let him come back home and pick out a few pieces to have when we got home, and he's continued to snack on it the last few days. Overindulgence is one thing, but being a kid and enjoying Halloween candy is another.

  77. From Tracie says

    This was our first year doing the halloween thing. As far as the candy goes, we are also doing the moderation thing (except for me, because I totally binged on some candy that first night!)

    I agree with you, if you try to deny all candy it isn't good, but you still have to set some limits.

  78. A Mother's Thoughts says

    I think that every child should be able to enjoy there candy ( I know that we do when they go to bed). lol But my daughter gets to pick two things when she gets home from school and then one for her "dessert". It works out perfectly and she is alway happy to be able to endulge!!

    Lynn

  79. SharleneT says

    I think moderation should be the thing. If they can't participate because of real problems, like allergies, then there's no harm in letting them join their friends. Isolating them creates groups isolation and, after awhile, they are odd-man out. At their age, you're either with the friends or not, no in-betweens. Sad but true. Let them have a few pieces at Halloween and it won't be so tempting.

  80. Karen Greenberg says

    I'm sorry I didn't see this earlier, but I definitely like your idea of moderation. If we start teaching the children at a younger age that no foods are "bad," but that we do have to be careful with some, it will become part of their lifestyle. Like you said, making something off-limits just makes us want it more. I like your idea!

Trackbacks