Candy: All Access Pass

November 1, 2010 at 9:11 pm (General, Just Photos, Positive Discipline)

We got some candy yesterday.  We didn’t hit every house in the neighborhood; probably no more than 20 in all, but the kids came home with a sizable stash.  Now, I’m sure you readers know that I am not a fan of commercially made food products, especially store-bought candy.  If I’m going to ingest calories from a sweet source, it better be a from-scratch confection made with real everything.

I’ve tried coming up with ways to get rid of the candy as fast as possible without eating it, such as offering to trade all of it for a non-edible treat like a toy or a book.  But they don’t want to give it up; they would rather have candy than anything.  So this year we let them.  Or, I should say I let them.  I think John would rather ration the candy to them, but this year I let them have unlimited access to the candy.

My thinking in trying this was…

1. Let them get it (in and) out of their systems, so as to fuel the initial excitement and also not to be eating Halloween candy until next Halloween.  Let’s go for this 100% and get it over with in a day or two.  I can handle it.

2. I wondered when they would say “when.”  I’ve heard that children are capable of self regulation much more than we grown-ups give them credit for. I was curious if and when they’d crave regular food.

3. I hoped it would help them listen to their bodies when it comes to sweet stuff.  However, I forgot that commercially made candies are much less substantial than homemade foods, and they are designed to increase consumption.  The artificial ingredients are specifically engineered to make you want more, so your body doesn’t feel the same effects from eating 1,200 calories of packaged Twinkies as it does from eating 1,200 calories of homemade ones.  So this experiment was faulty from the beginning.

Let’s just say it was an experience for everyone. I did notice some interesting things, including increased sharing and cooperative play.  I guess when there’s no limit to the candy in your hand, you feel free to give it up more easily.  They offered me tons of their candy and readily gave up favorite color M&Ms to each other.  There’s more where that came from!  It also became a game to find places to eat their candy together so as to commiserate and discuss said candy.  Many private forts were built today; only candy-eaters allowed.   And by mid-afternoon, I actually heard a few “I’m full!”s and “My tummy hurts”s.

But what really happened during this experiment today?  Candy was consumed.  An extraordinary amount of candy was consumed.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go peel my children off the ceiling.

John and I as Waldo and Wenda:

Batman and Bat Girl:

Waldo’s after the superheroes!

Got one!

Batman’s turn to run:

Oh, but not fast enough for Waldo!

These were cupcakes I made for the neighborhood potluck, pre-frosting.  Notice the bite taken out of one and a finger hole in another?  Apparently someone thought I wouldn’t.

The candy, aka the kids’ next several meals, strewn and categorized:


  1. Aria said,

    Oh my goodness, Kelly! We did the same thing this year. The girls ate it all by tonight. We had lots of sharing all around as well! So funny. I feel so bad for their little tummies and teeth. UGH! I did add in one twist out of desperation after I realized that there appeared to be no self-regulation in sight this afternoon. I offered to buy their candy from them (ten cents per piece) if they wanted to save up for a toy or something. Not sure if that was a good idea or not, but they both took me up on it for a few of the things they didn’t really like apparently. Now I’m trying to think of what is the best plan for next year!

    • Kelly said,

      It sounds like we had similar days yesterday, Aria! You’re the only other person I know of who just let their kids have at it. I just figured it was worth a try to see how it goes. We still have candy left, and I’m not sure what we’re going to do today. I’m so over the sugar highs and lows! 🙂

      • Aria said,

        I actually did talk with another mom today about this and she said her pediatric dentist recommends that if you are letting your kids eat Halloween candy that you let them eat as much as they want in one or two days and then be done with it. He feels like that is less damaging on their teeth than having two pieces a day for a month or something like that.

    • Kelly said,

      Oh, that’s interesting! It does makes sense, though…get the candy fest out of their systems, brush really well & be done!

  2. Janet said,

    We have SO MUCH CANDY here.

    We did trick-or-treating in my parents’ neighborhood on Saturday (kind of fun to see some of the families I used to babysit for all grown up) and with friends here on Sunday. And on Sunday we pretty much just let Lauren have at it. Now all the candy’s sitting on the coffee table and every so often she picks through it and asks to have something. We do this with most treats. Not on the coffee table, but accessable. For us, the less we “regulate” it the better. I have found many half (or less) eaten candy bars/bags on the table. If we put limits on it, she might obsess more, but since its always there she really eats very little. Now I’m sure this is not “normal”. Whenever we have friends over we have to put away candy because her friends will gorge themselves and get themselves (and us!) in trouble.

    What kind of cupcakes are those? 🙂

    • Kelly said,

      How fun to be able to go back to your old neighborhood! Wish I could do that. I agree, free access to candy is not what most people do. I know some families who totally “unfood”…they allow their kids free access to everything all the time and place absolutely no limits on food. They say you need to trust your child to get what he needs and self regulate the junky stuff…I try to do that as much as possible. It’s a lot easier with homemade “junk” foods, than store -bought candy. The artificial ingredients don’t seem to register the same in our bodies as natural ones.

      I also don’t know how long I’d have to have candy available for my kids to lose interest. Although our one day of nothing but candy was a good start towards that (they definitely didn’t care as much the next day), I don’t know if I could handle much more of unlimited candy. I think that no matter how much candy I had available in our house, my kids’ interest in candy would be newly piqued when they come to your house.

      Those cupcakes were vanilla with orange food coloring in the batter. I made my favorite buttercream frosting recipe and piped it on top in a thick, smooth swirl, then topped them with orange pumpkin and black bat sprinkles. They looked so cute and tasted awesome. And do you know what? I went to the potluck with twelve cupcakes, and I brought my pan home with…TWELVE CUPCAKES! That’s right; I couldn’t believe that no one took even one cupcake! I wish I had a picture of the finished product to show you, but I thought they looked great! The only thing I can think was that the orange food coloring turned people off (from what little bit you could see around the edge of the buttercream). Maybe I should have stuck with yellow…people know what yellow is. (sigh)

      • Janet said,

        That’s crazy! You can mail me a cupcake. But it’d probably be pretty smooshed by the time it got here, LOL.

        I think the candy thing could just me somewhat the way each child is. I take no credit for Lauren’s habits of moderation with sweets. I think it’s just the way she is. I try my best to make thoughtful parenting choices and enjoy the cool little people I am raising, but overall I try not to “take credit” for the way my kids are, because then I’d have to accept the blame for their less than charming traits 😉

        • Kelly said,

          I like that…about not taking credit for your kids’ behavior either way. An excellent point!

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