Trick 'em out of those treats

Parents share their dark secrets about how they pry all that Halloween candy from their children's clutches.

By Leslie Crawford

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Candy and more candy!

This year, Americans will spend nearly $2 billion on Halloween treats. Where do most of those sweet treats go? Into the mouths of babes, or down the gullet of your middle schooler who, if he's anything like mine, gathers pound upon pound of Snickers (the second in Halloween popularity only to – incomprehensibly – candy corn) and other scrumptious confections, brings them home and weighs them (so he'll know if his sister or, ahem, mother eats any), and goes out again and again – enough to sustain him for the long winter months.

This, the darkest yet sweetest of holidays, may be a windfall for dentists, but Halloween is an unmitigated disaster for parents trying to protect their children from OD'ing on sugary delights. How do we keep that great Halloween spook – sugar – from haunting our homes? After consulting with seasoned parents across the country, we uncovered eight sinisterly smart ways to tackle the upcoming tsunami of sucrose. Mwahahaha!!!

is a senior editor at GreatSchools.

Comments from readers

"If you make something a big deal as a parent your kids end up making it a big deal. My mom always said just brush your teeth before bed and try not to make yourself sick. Having permission to do something you don't normally get to do kinda takes the fun out of it. I do the same with my kids and they never gorge. They seem to have more fun counting and trading with each other than actually eating it. "
"You people sicken me! I came across this wbsite from and i was shocked! Halloween is one of the happiest holidays for children and you're ruining it! You are parents, not children and you have forgotten the incredible sadness a child feels, not only when their candy is taken away from him/her, but also when the child gets to school the day after and everybody tells how much candy they got. This is like taking christmas away from somebody, and one night of candy won't kill anybody! And please don't keep your children screened in a "perfect" world where everybody is healthy and nothing bad ever happens. The real world will just come as a shock to them later on, and the chances of their lives taking a wrong turn is much greater. Please let the children have their candy. I'm going trick-or-trating now and I am looking forward to eating candy, because in Norway the parents have something called commons sense. Happy joykilling day, all the parents of this wbsite! I r! eally wish you the best of luck in destroying your children's joy and happiness. "
"I really think parents need to lighten up. Halloween is one of the few days kids get to be kids. Just put some of the excess up for later. It’s not like you have to let your little pumpkin gorge him or herself. We do donate some of our leftover candy which is a great idea, but really we all need to concentrate on bringing things like recess back to school or something more constructive than preventing our kids from getting too much candy at trick or treat. "
"the real horror is that in West Africa, where Hershey sources much of its cocoa, the scene is one of child labor, trafficking, and forced labor. Despite almost ten years of commitments from Hershey and other major chocolate companies to take responsibility for their cocoa supply chains and improve conditions for workers1, significant problems persist. Abusive child abor,trafficking, and forced labor continue to plague the West African cocoa industry. The farmers in this region, which supplies the majority of the world’s cocoa, live in poverty, while major chocolate corporations continue to amass large profits. "
"I would not donate coins to this organization. · UNICEF CEO Caryl M. Stern receives $1,200,000 per year (100k per month) plus all expenses including a ROLLS ROYCE. Less than 5 cents of your donated dollar goes to the cause. "