There is an alarming, disturbing Halloween trend among parents “who promote nurturing, healthy lifestyles” for their children. If you haven’t heard of the Halloween Candy Fairy, it goes something like this: candy is bad for kids, so after kids collect it during trick-or-treating, they go to sleep, innocently dreaming of Butterfingers and Twizzlers and alas, when they wake up, the “candy fairy” has taken all their candy and replaced it with a toy.
Here are some reasons this completely sucks:
- These parents are micro-managing, helicopter health nut freaks and need to be stopped. Did they grow up in a place where there was no trick or treating? Or in a world where there was no candy?
- Kids need to be taught about moderation, not that they can’t be trusted not to eat an entire pillowcase full of chocolate. Putting the candy on top of the cabinet in the kitchen and letting them pick out a few pieces a day, sure. Making it disappear completely? NO.
- Why are you people sucking all the fun out of Halloween? Having it during daylight hours, changing it to another day of the week, no costumes allowed at schools—these are all symptoms of a larger societal problem which is unnecessary fun-sucking.
- Kids are going to grow up to hate you. They’ll sit around in college and for the rest of their lives saying, “My parents took my Halloween candy and replaced it with a lame toy,” and people will cluck their heads and feel sorry for them.
- Kids who are forbidden from eating candy often obsess over access to candy. I’ve seen this time and time and time again as a parent over the last two decades. Give a kid a hallway of doors and tell them they can open any door they want except that one, and guess which door they want to open most? You’re only making candy sexier. Candy-deprived kids horde it in any setting they can when they’re “not allowed” to have it at home.
- Toys aren’t for Halloween, they’re for Christmas (insert other holiday here) or birthdays. Your kid would have to want a toy really badly for it to be a better idea than a Reese’s, and they’re still going to resent you someday. They won’t remember the toy; they’ll remember being the only kid at the school cafeteria lunch table on November 1 with no fun-size Snickers bar in their lunch.
- Dentists are paying cash to buy candy from kids? Hmm. Well, it’s a horse of a different color if (and this is a huge if) the child wants to “sell” the candy to the dentist. Not that the idea has been forced on them by their parents but that the kid has been given a choice: do you want to keep your Halloween candy or get money instead? I still think it’s sad, but it’s better than all-out robbery.
- Do we really need to lie to kids about one more thing? Fictional fairy myths are already a nightmare to continue: I don’t know how many years these parents have done the Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy routine, but adding another damn magical fairy to the mix sounds like a complete pain in the ass.
- Don’t talk to me about alternative treats. Thank God my generation of kids long ago were able to spread “razor in the apple” rumors so that we were able to squelch the tradition of giving fruit out to trick-or treaters. Toothbrushes? Stickers? Stupid plastic Halloween erasers? No, no and no. I’ve successfully given out glow sticks for a bunch of years and can say the kids do get really excited about those, but they’re also getting a full size candy bar so I wouldn’t say they prefer the treat, just that it’s cool.
Taking candy away from a kid is not cool. Parents: please let kids have fun on Halloween. Let them have candy, even if you monitor its consumption. Take what I call the “Halloween tax,” which means when you’re going through their candy to make sure there isn’t anything shady in there, you get to take a few of your favorite candy bars. My kids know Clark Bars and 100 Grand immediately become mine. Of course, those are pretty rare so I usually buy a bag of each for myself anyway.