If You Don’t Make Your Kids Sign This for Halloween, You Don’t Care About Fair Compensation or Childhood Obesity

Five kids is a lot of kids and that means, no matter how frugal (read: utterly cheap) we try to be, birthday parties and Christmas presents and Easter baskets and, oh dear Lord, school fundraisers make our bank balances weep with the pain of it all.

But there’s one time of year when we make it all back, baby! And that time is here.

photo (3).PNGI’m talking, of course, about Halloween. Because five kids is a lot of kids and we’re raising them to be a candy gathering machine.

Now, I realize there’s some debate over whether kids should get to keep their own candy, how much they can eat, and whether they’re required to share with their parents. And I’ve heard persistent rumors there are parents who sneak bits of candy here and there, dipping hands stealthily into the kids’ buckets throughout Halloween night, stealing a steady stream on the nights that follow, and hoping not to be discovered with chocolate breath or a green tongue or in the act of hasty chewing behind the kitchen door.

Well, it’s time to come clean, parents. All the way out of the candy-stealing closet. It’s time to stand up for ourselves and demand our rights, because you know what? Kids can’t do this trick-or-treat thing without us. That’s right. We’re a critical part of the plan! And it’s time we’re paid a fair in-kind wage for services rendered.

You know what else? There’s an obesity epidemic in this country. It would be irresponsible for us to allow our kids to eat all their own candy. We are helping them, and they need to know it so they understand we are here for them in real and practical ways.

And so, because we must work together to promote fair working conditions and the good health of our children, I strongly urge you to sit down with your family before Halloween night and sign this agreement.


A Halloween Agreement for More Acceptable Working Conditions
made this 31st day of October, 2013
between the Children and the Parents

WHEREAS the Children are unable to trick-or-treat without the Parents; and WHEREAS the Parents, due to unfair social and cultural constraints, are unable to trick-or-treat by themselves;

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of mutual undertakings, the parties herein agree to the following:

SECTION 1: the Parents will perform the roles of costume designer, make-up artist, hairstylist, safety patrol officer, and manners coach.

SECTION 2: the Children will perform the role of trick-or-treator.

SECTION 3: the Children will acquire an obscene amount of candy.

SECTION 4: the Children will share, without objection or complaint, all candy with the Parents.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Parties herein have executed this agreement the date first written above.




So, folks. What do you do for Halloween? Trick-or-treat? Go to harvest parties, instead? Stay home and turn off all the lights?

And, if you’re out canvasing the neighborhood like we are, what do you do about all the CANDY? We dump it all in a pile when we get home, let each kid pick 15 pieces to put in a bag to save, freeze everything with caramel in it – because YUM – and the rest is for everyone to share. Which means we dole it out to the kids as we feel so inclined, and Greg and I (emphasis on “I”) eat WAY TOO MUCH every night after the kids go to bed. :/ I’ll admit, it’s a system that could use a little work.

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23 responses to “If You Don’t Make Your Kids Sign This for Halloween, You Don’t Care About Fair Compensation or Childhood Obesity”

  1. Your plan is similar to ours. I do let the kids gorge themselves Halloween night (but my kids are not pukers when it comes to candy that would change everything)..

  2. My kids know that part… let’s say 3/4… of their candy is going to get recycled back to our “pass out” candy stash.


    #1 nothing makes this… sometimes in over my head… mama more happy… then immediately more sad… than candy! I love it all… I will eat it all… except that root beer candy… my father likes that stuff!

    #2 we get tons of truck-or-treaters! And I like to share the love of sugar but I’m not rolling in it.

    My kids agree that we should give back to those who might be without… I’m just waiting for the day they realize they end up being the ones without due to their lack of self control mama and her empty wallet!

  3. I don’t have a system. That’s to organized and I just love hectic so so much. Generally what happens is the kids “sneak” (they think there sneaking it) candy as we walk around town. Then when we get home i take everyones candy throw it in one bag and put it up. I personally don’t eat much candy so I gradually let the kids eat it. (Ok so most of the time they eat it at as they wish behind my back)

  4. LOL, LOVE the agreement. We have a similar unwritten but very verbal agreement – I help with costumes and take them…and I get all the Almond Joys and at least half of the Snickers. Fair ’nuff. I used to let the kids pick out three pieces each day and really spread it out. But then I found them sneaking into it anyway. So, several years ago and I gave them their bag (after my dues of course) and told them they could have anything they could eat that night. Anything left over, was donated or tossed. Or used as ingredients. Or secretly stashed us parents. I think I did it as punishment because they never believed me when I said they would eat until they got sick. They do now 😉 It taught them to be less greedy and now they keep their candy and are responsible enough to spread it out…and not eat all of it either.

  5. I suppose I’m a day late to the party but better late than never!!

    My kids get 2 choices:
    1) You may keep ALL the candy in the house with the understanding that it’s distribution and storage will be maintained solely by Mommy, and that, yes, she will get into it when you’re sleeping.
    2) You may fill a sandwich baggie with your favorites that you solely control and consume at will (it only lasts a day or two at most!), and the rest will be donated or disposed of at the earliest possible convenience.

    They always choose option 2! I do eat some of their rejects on Halloween night, but I can’t be trusted with it a moment longer. It must be banished by Nov. 1 or it’ll be in my hips by Nov. 2.

  6. great minds think alike.

    Our kids pick out their 15 favorites for their “secret stash” and the rest go into the communal family candy bowl. I love the frozen chocolate idea…I’m totally stealing it!

    My tip of the day: I have each kid pick 25 of their favorite pieces out and then wrap them up in cellophane/saran wrap to make a 25 Days of Christmas chain for each of them. It’s so much fun to bring it out on December 1st and it brings the Halloween candy bowl down to a much more reasonable level.

    • Love this idea. We also make gingerbread houses the day after Thanksgiving, so I set aside anything in the M&M/skittle family or anything else that could be used in decoration of said houses. Butterfingers for shutters, peppermints for furniture, Hershey kisses for light posts or bushes.

      The kids don’t generally mind because they get to eat it later!

  7. We graduated our candy gathering machine, so now we have to either 1. buy our own candy or 2. go over to a friends house to scavenge candy from their younger candy gathering machines! Enjoy it, it will be over before you know it!

  8. Oh, I love this! Except our kids aren’t old enough to read yet, and forget rules super quickly, so maybe we’ll just file this one away for future Halloweens. Also, they’re young enough that they don’t notice when their lolly stashes have been halved, quartered, oh, what’s that? They’re all gone? Wow, you’ve eaten SO MUCH!

  9. This is only our second year, so we’re still working it out. Last year we doled it out, and man, did it last forever. I did finally swipe the rest of the stash to give to my middle school students. (“Here’s a prize for you, stolen from my kids’ stale trick-or-treat stash!” It horrified them, but they never turned it down.) I’d be great with letting them choose a set amount to eat at will, but my husband is unnerved at the thought of our son getting all that sugar. Our daughter would eat until she started to feel sick, and then stop. Our son…is more like me. There is no such thing as enough sweets. I’m mulling it over. Another thought we had is to just take them on our own street, which is not that long. That would also control the amount of candy coming in.

  10. Brilliant!

    We have the kids trade candy after their Big Haul, so that they get what they want, and then, for the next several months, every time one of them dips into their candy bag, they have to pay a one-piece Candy Tax to whichever adult(s) is/are at home. In other words, I have 6 kids (5 trick-r-treaters this year), and each time they have candy from their stash, they get 3 treats, and I get 5. Sa-weet!

    We’re having some friends of my eldest over this year for the trick-r-treating, so hopefully the items that none of us like will walk out of the door at the end of the evening. Fingers crossed! I have also been known to sort out the losers and put them into our out-going candy bowl for the late trick-r-treaters, but that doesn’t work so well where we currently live, as the time slot when they are allowed to do it is pretty tight, and out block isn’t very gung-ho about the holiday, so we can’t off-load the yucky ones as easily as we could in other places that we have lived.

  11. My son just turned one but when he is old enough we are totally doing what you do, taking control of the candy! I like the idea of having him pick out 15 pieces first but I don’t really want him to have access to all that candy, I should have access to all of it:)

  12. I got a kick out of this. It sounds a lot like what we did with eight kids–minus the contract. We had an “implied understanding”. When the kids got home they could take their favorite pieces, then we dumped everything in a HUGE bowl and shared. My husband told the kids it was only fair that as the parents we got our fair share.
    I let the kids eat it up over the next few days. I figured doling it out was just more time with candy in their systems and stuck to their teeth. Eat it and be done!! After all Halloween comes only once a year and who could stand a HUGE bowl of candy sitting out day after day!

  13. Oh, heck, we don’t bother with any contracts. I just made it very clear to my kids that, if I was going to make and/or acquire costumes, and haul them out in the dark (and, being that this is Michigan, usually cold and rain) to collect candy, then they would indeed be paying the Parental Tax. As we sort the candy after ToT, we collect the tax. Sometimes it may be negotiable, but it will include at least one Butterfinger, at least two Peanut Butter Cups, and several packages of Smarties, without fail.

  14. We participate in the full range of fall activities … Pumpkin patch, fall party at church, pumpkin carving and it all culminates with the big daddy of them all, the actual trick or treating in the ‘hood! Once candy enters this house, it is open season! My hubby and I take full advantage of our parent role in this regard and eat whatever we want whenever we want. It teaches the kids what it is like to go out and work hard and bring home the bacon Only to see it devoured within minutes by people who seem to have done nothing to get it. Gives them a little glimpse into our world.
    There is no free lunch here in the Midwest and we teach it to our young ‘uns early. Our kids don’t just trick or treat, they have to perform a “trick” for their treats. You must tell a joke to get your treat. It has always been this way and probably always will. Little did I know that this is just a Des Moines or Iowa thing. When I moved to Denver for a few years and asked the little goblins at my door for their trick, they all looked at me as if I was the one with three heads. I have since found out that this is a tradition exclusive to Des Moines, started by a woman over 80 years ago who wanted to teach the kids a strong work ethic. Bless her. It makes the task of standing for hours handing out candy a little more hilarious. I look forward to hearing “Why did the man but a car in the oven? Because he wanted a hot rod!” over a hundred times this Wednesday night. Oh, did I mention that we always trick or treat on the night BEFORE Halloween? Weird I know but that’s a story for another day! Happy Halloween and May you get as many Reese’s as your little heart desires!

    • Must be an Iowa thing. I grew up in northwest Iowa and frequently was asked to do a trick, too! Have never heard it here in Ohio.

  15. Our mega sized centerpiece bowl has been filled with candy for at least two weeks already (Halloween is out of state Grandma’s favorite holiday), and every day this week we have been bombarded with candy from extra-curricular’s….BUT we are still going trick or treating. My son is ecstatic about it! We do have pretty tight rules about daily sugar consumption but we try to be a little more open for holidays. Although I am big on healthy eating, I am also big on letting kids be kids. I still remember the glee of all the candy from trick or treating when I was a kid! It isn’t all about eating the candy. However, if my son is only eating 1-2 pieces of candy a day (plus the amount my husband sneaks), we will still have candy around by next Halloween. So I try to keep the rule that once the next holiday arrives, and the next round of sweet treats enter the house, anything that is left from the previous one is out. Luckily my husband is an elementary teacher, so we just pass along the extra “booty” to his class for special rewards!

  16. Until recently, our kids didn’t remember how many Kit Kats or Snickers they had in their trough of candy. Now they have accurate mental inventories, and notice if a peanut butter cup is missing. This contract is going to reunite me with all the good stuff while the kids are ignorantly happy with Smarties and Whoppers.

    You, m’lady, are a genius.

  17. Also, proper training is essential! When my daughter was two, she was such a rookie! She actually grabbed raisins at one house because she didn’t know what the other stuff was. I ended up with lots of packages of sixlets (because, ‘mommy, it’s a rainbow’). It’s important to start early. “See this orange square? That’s a Reese’s.”

  18. We do trick or treating and the fall party at church. I generally just take anything from the kids that I want. Luckily for the kids, I don’t like very many kinds of candy. I used to confiscate most of their candy and dole it a few pieces at a time but we always ended up with candy until Christmas, and then Christmas candy lasted until Valentines, and then came Easter, and then the 4th of July parade and so on and so on. Now, I just let them eat as much as they want for a few days and then I trash what’s left. No one throws up more than once and then all the candy is gone (except for my secret stash:).

  19. My daughter is 13 months old…and she WILL be Trick-or-Treating. I feel like I can justify it because we’re going along with her slightly older cousins. But deep, deep (actually make that barely deep) down I know it’s really for me, and maybe my husband, if he’s lucky.

    • I LOVE this! I don’t think there should be any age limit on trick or treating, because really, parents are eating their kids candy, which is the same as if they trick or treated themselves. To be completely fair, if people don’t have kids, they should be able to scrounge for themselves! If I ran the world, the rule would be…if you are willing to dress up and ASK, you should get a reward!=)

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