Ask Dad: My Husband Is a Halloween Candy Fascist

Andrew Dalton
Big Kid

While the days of witches and ghosts have given way to fairies and superheroes, Halloween can still bring some darkness and turmoil to your house. Happily, Ask Dad is here with his wings and wand to help you all get along. What's spooking you?

My husband insists on a strict no-candy policy with our daughter. It's not an issue most of the year, but at Halloween, between trick-or-treating and parties and school, it turns into a constant three-way fight between us. I think a little is okay, since she otherwise eats so healthy. Shouldn't he be more flexible? 

Oh the battles we fight over Skittles! Between different kids, between parents and kids, and of course now, between intensely parenting adults. And that's not even getting into the fierce internal battles candy corn can inspire in each of us. (I've thrown away a bag because I couldn't stop eating it, then dug through the trash to get it out. Helpful tip to preserve your dignity: Put them down the garbage disposal.)

The idea of candy as drugs isn't just a way to make commercials, it's a perfect analogy for the violent struggles it inspires.

Hate to stand against a fellow dad, but I'm with you on this one. I know, the image of a kid gnawing on an Airhead -- a candy that just screams pure emptiness -- is horrifying to all of us. But it's all about portion, portion, portion. I've known parents that let their kids have cupcakes the size of wedding cakes and scoops of organic ice cream that are almost too big to sit atop a cone, but a single Smartie sends them to the fainting couch. If dad allows other sweets, can you make a deal with him to cut some of those out in October? Try pointing out the sugar content of both. 

You can also do the old, "you're only making it more compelling!" argument. And it could be true. Of course kids who get a little bit of candy find it pretty damn compelling, too. And you know who finds candy the most compelling? Kids who eat a ton of candy. In other words, we're all pretty much screwed on this one whatever we choose. Yet another way candy resembles drugs.

But whether you decide on a little or none, here's a helpful tip on dealing with the massive stash they get while trick-or-treating and partying: Buy it from them. Set up a system where you pay them for each piece (lowball them! They don't know what stuff's worth!), then let them buy something dumb and frivolous with the cash. Or just have toys on hand and make it a barter system. Most kids really will go for this, especially when they know they won't get much on the candy end.

Then you've got yourself some candy, though you'll probably want to get rid of it. Whatever you do, don't throw it in the dumpster. They can be really hard to climb out of once you've climbed in to fetch it.

Do you let your kids eat more candy than usual for Halloween? 

Image via JuushikaRedgrave/Flickr

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