Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Candy Free-For-All

J focused on me, “OK,” he said seriously, “I figure we should take their candy bags and hide them, probably in our closet, so we don’t wake up to find everything eaten.”
“Ooooor, we could just let them eat it all as quickly as possible.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes, I can’t be bothered this year. In fact, let’s make them eat their candy immediately.”
“Yeah! Whether they want to or not!”
“‘You WILL eat that Snickers and then you’ll eat ANOTHER ONE.’”
 “‘I don’t care if your tummy hurts, you finish those Starbursts.’”
“And if they don’t eat enough, we can always just put them into the blender. ‘What do you mean you don’t want to drink it? It’s a SMOOTHIE. You love smoothies, and this one has all the rest of your Halloween candy in it.”
“Let’s wake them up right now and make them eat it all.”

 How is this free-for-all going? Not as bad as my mother’s voice in my head had me convinced it would be. Any time a kid asked me if he could eat candy I answered, “YES! In fact, have another one!” They viewed me with suspicion, waiting for the other shoe to drop. As soon as they figured out I didn’t have a secondary request, they ate their candy as quickly as possible. “You’re still eating dinner, of course,” I followed up, their chocolate-stained faces nodding in promise.

 I only made up one rule: I sternly said, “No candy,” when the request was filed at 7:50 am. Clearly, I’m the kind of mother who only allows candy after 8:00am.

 It’s 48 hours post Halloween and almost all their candy is gone. I’m not finding wrappers all over the house. Nobody is sneaking anyone else’s stash. I’m not freaking out over sugar rationing. And when the little one knocked on my bathroom door and asked for the throw-up bucket, I reminded him that candy had lead him down this dark path and perhaps he should reconsider the volume of his consumption. Don’t you worry, it was a false alarm; only an aching tummy and a sorrowful child full of a new comprehension and respect for a cocktail avalanche of Kit-Kats, Dum Dums, and M&Ms.

 Have you tried the free-for-all? It’s daring in its simplicity and execution. Recommended.


Middle-aged Momma said...

Being from a family of seven and sandwiched between two very ruthless brothers when it came to Halloween candy, it became survival of the fittest. My parents, at this point, were too tired to parent on such matters. So they took no stance on the issue; causing a free-for-all amongst us kids. Lord of the Flies if you will. "Who cares if you don't eat dinner," my mother once said, "someone eventually will."
My strategy: Eat all the good candy first, or at least stash it first. Then keep the remaining "junk/decoy" candy available to any persons rummaging through drawers.
I think my parents lack of parenting was actually well-calculated--to this day, I hate candy bars!

Melody said...

I have always advocated the free-for-all. "Teach them correct glucose consumption principles and let them govern themselves."

The throw up bucket awaits.

TheOneTrueSue said...

I let them have a free for all on Halloween night and all the next day. But after that I confiscate what's left. They never argue because by then they are sick to death of candy.

Living the Scream said...

I love the free for all and do it every year! So glad you wrote this. I feel like everyone thinks I'm crazy for letting my kids eat it all up fast. This year they are not eating it up too fast though. I think candy has lost it's appeal. Which is awesome!

ray-ray says said...

I am a staunch supporter of the free for all. After day one, I dump it all in one bowl. Everyone feasts from the same stash. No hoarding it and saving it for later in this house.

Blue said...

I don't know how ray-ray's method could possibly be employed without hoarding "the good stuff" for oneself becoming a major issue. At my house, it would never fly.

This was the weirdest year. I didn't take kids t-or-ting for the first time since they were born. My son went with a bunch of his buddies. My daughter had no plans and was lamenting her plight as of 5pm on the night of...till she found a friend to come watch The Village with her. They t-or-t'd about 4 houses on their way home, but felt weird because they're 14 and it was just the two of them. So I sat home and did research on my ancestors for the first time. Seemed appropriate.

If mine ask for a treat, I say yes. They just don't ask very often, so they have treats in their pumpkins nearly year round (it's the every-holiday-and-whatever-treats-you-have repository). ♥

Today's Gift said...

I plan on doing this with our children. I figure after about a day, natural consequences and all that will settle in and they'll be sick of candy.

The Glamorous Housewife said...

I did the free for all last year and it went swimmingly! This year we only hit two blocks, so they had far less candy. I make my kids put one piece of candy in the 'poor kids' jar for every candy they eat- that way they are actually only eating half of their stash AND they are learning charity.

Thanks doll,
The Glamorous Housewife

jennie w. said...

My mom gave us 24 hours to eat all our candy and then it was thrown out. I was looked on with envy since the day after Halloween I would open my lunchbox at school and it would have a Thermos of milk, an apple and candy. That's it.

I try to do the same to my kids but I give them 48 hours. Last night my 6 year old was cramming candy down her gullet all evening. And I was awoken at midnight after she had thrown it all up.

She's such a lightweight.

Laura: The Sushi Snob said...

My parents did the free-for-all with us. They figured that this was the only time of year we got tons of candy, so why not eat it all up as quickly as possible? No one ever got sick, by the way. I roll my eyes at the people who strictly ration the kid's candy.

Jennifer B. said...


Hailey said...

We have all been having a free-for all for the past three days straight, and yes, I have also put down my foot at 7 AM despite the screams and pleadings of one sugar-addled 4 year old. I swear it's crack to them.

But today, I plan to take out all the remaining candy bars, put them in my stash drawer, hide the Dum-Dums for future subway bribery, and chuck what's left (mostly hard candy.)

sara said...

I thought about doing that this year but instead have opted for a less drastic, but still generous option: they get to have at least 5 candies after every meal. The stash is not completely gone yet, but it's going much faster than in previous years so I'm happy about that. Definitely better than the months-long version.

Brinestone said...

I'm so glad I read this. I was rationing them to three a day after the free-for-all on Halloween night. I was SO tired of saying no to more candy after they ate all three right after breakfast each day. I got really bummed out thinking that I'd still be playing the ration game at Christmas at this rate. I just wanted the candy out of the house, but I can't stand wasting it all by throwing it away.

As of today, the free-for-all is beginning. I'll let you know how it goes. So far the kids think they've died and gone to heaven.

Deborah said...

I threw out all our leftover candy. Put chicken bones on top of them as a deterrent. Emerged from putting baby to bed to find wrappers all over my sleeping husband's chest.

Janet said...

What a great idea for BlendTec - will it blend? What does it look like when your mom blends all of your Halloween candy into a smoothie. Then they can dare a kid to drink it.

I like your approach - it worked perfectly!


Mojo said...

Next, cigarettes. Seriously, I did do the free-for-all and Kal only made it past one large candy bar, one lollipop and a starburst. Wimp!