Hands up if you’ve ever stolen a piece of your child’s Halloween candy.

I know I’m not the only one. Almost all the parents I know have helped themselves to a treat or two. On a good day. On a bad day, my one or two might turn into a small handful. Ok, a bucket. I’m not proud of this behavior. But at least I’ve always—OK, almost always—avoided helping myself to my daughter’s favorite candy. Yes, I’m a considerate Halloween candy thief.

She won’t notice.

You know when I’m at my worst? Before Halloween, when we’ve stocked up on supplies. Those bags sit quietly on the shelf, minding their own business, for a couple of days. But then, even while I’m minding my own business it hits me.

I’d like a little chocolate.

That’s not the unusual, minding my own business part. Wanting a little chocolate happens on the regular.

Oh yeah, there are three huge bags of chocolate just sitting on the shelf. One less candy to give away won’t be a problem.

And I’m off!!!

This is why I don’t particularly like keeping Halloween candy in the house. Candy has power.

If you’ve been reading It’s Not About Nutrition for awhile, then you probably know that my mother died of obesity-related illnesses when she was 65. She died months before my daughter was born and since then I’ve been obsessed with teaching my daughter to have a happier, healthier relationship with food. (It’s how I went from being a criminologist to writing about teaching eating habits.)

I’m confessing to my candy-stealing tendencies, outing myself as a candy thief, because my Halloween goal is, and always has been, to neutralize the power of candy in my daughter’s life. I don’t want her to grow up to be a candy thief. Why pass that trait on?

I’ve been pretty successful. My daughter likes candy but it doesn’t really call her name. She likes ice cream, cake and cookies too. But she can have her portion and then leave the rest. So how did that happen? I neutralized sweets and treats.

  1. Proportion rules the day. Sweets and treats are part of life, but we have to put them into our diets in the right ratios.
  2. What’s yours is yours. Whatever sweets and treats you bring into the house are yours for as long as they last.
  3. You choose when you eat your sweets and treats. But once you’ve had your daily, it’s done for the day.

And then of course, I always confessed and apologized for being a candy thief.

Sometimes I even replaced what I’d eaten. Because, it turns out, she did notice.

This year I hope you’ll neutralize candy for your kids. Enact the Halloween Bill of Rights. Because if you’re a candy thief, why pass that trait on?

For more of my thoughts on the Halloween Bill of Rights read this.


~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~