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Haunted by Candy

Yesterday morning the candy left our house.

 All of it.

 The children said their goodbyes, my husband and I stole our last and final Kit-Kat and Reese’s, and then my husband took the loot to work to pawn off on the childless staff who enjoy the goods without knowing the pain from which they came.

 It is one of my favorite days of the year. The day the candy goes away.

 Here’s how it all started….  

 Once the kids were on two feet and efficient little trick-or-treaters, it all started to change. The sweet elderly neighbors flooded their little pumpkins with gobs of treats and goodies each Halloween night. The faster the kids’ feet take them each year, the more candy comes home. We follow the same little route in the neighborhood each year, but somehow the candy multiplies as they grow taller. A mathematical equation I’m not so fond of.

 The kids LOVE trick-or-treating. They have the terribly tragic life of living in a family that doesn’t eat many sweets, so Halloween is like winning the lottery.

 About 7 years ago, I hit my limit. I could not hear, “Mom, can I have a piece of candy?” one more time. It was every day, numerous times a day…

….and it didn’t matter that I had already set the rule that it would only be after dinner…

….and it didn’t matter that I was consistent with my rule….they still asked.

 They knew it was in the cabinet, and it was whispering their names in a creepy candy voice that only kids can hear. They couldn’t help themselves.

 “Mom, can I have a little tiny piece? Just a Starburst… that is hardly anything. If I eat a Starburst does that count as one? Or could I have some Smarties to make that my one piece since they’re both small? How about gum? That doesn’t really count, so can I have a lollipop to go with it?”

 ENOUGH!!

 Beginning that year we instituted a new policy in our house. Halloween night they can eat with wild abandonment. Go for it. Trade with your friends, play candy poker, build towers with it, do what you want. The next day we recover, eat some fruit, and look forward to our dessert of Halloween candy after dinner. After our Halloween dessert each child selects their favorite 5 pieces of candy to save.

 They can use whatever strategy they’d like with their five pieces. They can pig out and eat them all right then and there, save them to parcel out one a day, it’s their choice….but the rest goes away.

 In exchange for turning loose their beloved booty, they receive a little something in return. When the kids were little, the sugar fairy would leave them a little book or small stuffed animal on the table to discover the following morning. As the kids have gotten older, they now prefer to participate in the gift, taking a little trip to the store to pick out a five dollar little item to love. My 16 year old prefers cold hard cash, with which he probably buys candy, but whatever…at least it isn’t in the house.

 So, for all of you parents out there suffering through the bottomless pile of candy that is turning your once sweet child into a relentless candy addict looking for their next fix….you have a choice!