Parents Worked for Halloween Candy, Too
Originally printed in The Baytown Sun on Nov. 3, 2004
By Deana Nall
I’m a bit relieved that my kindergartener lost her two front teeth during the weeks leading up to Halloween. That’s two less teeth to rot.
Julia did pretty well this year. After she went to bed on Halloween night, my husband and I performed our parental duty by examining her candy and sampling a fair amount of it — just to make sure it’s safe. This is actually one of the coolest things about being a parent — eating your kids’ Halloween candy while they’re asleep.
Here’s a hint to remember. When “sampling” your children’s Halloween candy, make sure you only eat candy of which they have more than one. If your kids are like ours and you eat the only Snickers bar, they will notice and demand to know who was responsible.
And really, you don’t want to rob your kids too much of the joy of Halloween. It’s the only time they can walk up to a stranger’s door and threaten to do something mean to them if they don’t give up their candy. (That’s what “trick-or-treat” means, you know.)
Self-proclaimed candy fanatic Steve Almond wrote about this. Almond is the author of “Candy Freak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America,” a book packed full of fascinating information about the candy bar industry. Did you know, for instance, that candy bar companies pay big bucks for their products to be stocked at grocery store check-outs?
Anyway, last weekend the Houston Chronicle printed Almond’s rules of trick-or-treating, and here’s what he had to say about parents depriving kids of their Halloween candy: “... the kid in question worked for that candy. She was the one who got into the costume. She was the one who schlepped around the neighborhood. She was the one who muttered ‘trick-or-treat’ over and over.”
I can agree to a point, but parents play a crucial role in trick-or-treating. I was the one who bought the costume. I was the one who steered a stroller around the neighborhood in the dark, sidestepping eggs and kids on skateboards. I deserve chocolate, too, dang it, and if it’s in the form of my child’s Kit Kat, so be it.
Candy is a rarity in our house, which probably contributes to my testiness. We don’t keep a lot of junk food around here. We almost never have candy or soft drinks in the house unless we’re having the church youth group over.
I guess we don’t mind destroying the health of other people’s kids.
It’s not just about healthy eating. All parents know that when candy is around, their kids seem to think they are entitled to it around the clock. At my house, we have a lot of conversations like this one:
CHILD: Can I have...
CHILD: But just...
CHILD: All I...
ME: No. Stop asking.
So in a way, it’s easier not to have candy around at all. But a candy-free home containing children borders on abusive. So within reason, our child can have some now and then. As long as I can check it out for her first.
Hey, those Milk Duds looked suspicious.
Deana Nall’s column appears every Wednesday. Her e-mail address is