Halloween Candy: Please, Parents, Just Let Your Kids Eat It

On October 31, just let your kids eat their darn Halloween candy.

halloween candy

Disclaimer: I’m not talking to parents of kids with food allergies or any other serious medical condition for whom candy-eating is verboten.

I am talking to the rest of you. You know who you are. You’re well-intentioned because you don’t want your kiddos to have Halloween candy because candy is bad for them. And! Not only is candy bad for them, but today’s candy is super duper bad for them because toxins! And chemicals! AND PROBABLY GLUTEN!

I will wait for you to stop clutching your pearls at the idea of your little sneauxflakes eating cellophane-wrapped pieces of POISON from the DEVIL.

(I didn’t mention HFCS! And red dye! And natural flavors, whatever the heck they are!! All of those things are right there lurking underneath the smooth candy coating! Probably IN the smooth candy coating, even.)

If you can still read these words through your side-eye, let me explain.

My own kids drink organic milk on the regular and have never even sniffed conventionally farmed produce. I bake all of my desserts from scratch to avoid the horror of processed foods. I even used to bake the family bread until I had so many children that I would literally never leave the kitchen, so I started adding organic ancient grains to my mortgage-rivaling Whole Foods grocery bill. NUTRITION MATTERS TO ME.

You know what else matters to me? Not giving my kids a weird complex about food.

I realize I have sort of done this by not letting them drink soda. My oldest is that kid at a party who drinks all of the Sprite as soon as his mom leaves. I gave him $15 to take to a birthday party the other day in case he wanted to buy extra snacks at the venue, and he spent it all on Mountain Dew. Clearly, I have made some mistakes.

I want to teach my kids that moderation is key and that even junk food has a place in our lives. Also I have a wicked sweet tooth and I want to have access to a million tiny Halloween Almond Joys.

Here are some mistakes parents make when they put draconian limits on Halloween candy:

  • Teaching kids that they should eat candy as part of their regular diet. This is EXACTLY what happens when you decide to let your kid eat a piece or two everyday. Suddenly it’s February, and they are STILL eating fall-themed Reese’s PB cups in their lunches. Like that’s suddenly NOT bad for their teeth?


  • Teaching hypocrisy: You want to clutch your pearls about candy on October 31, but you let kids eat things like Gogurt and Goldfish and apple juice EVERYDAY? What matters most is the nutritional choices that you make and model on the regular, not the holiday splurges. Should I probably ever be eating cranberry sauce that still has lines on it from its BPA-coated can? NO. Am I going to climb up on my soapbox and insist that my grandma gets it off her Thanksgiving table? ALSO NO.


  • Teaching sanctimommyhood: Take it from me—I did this with soda by telling my kid that it was OK for other kids but we were making better choices. Not only did it not work, but it made me sound like a big smug jerk.


This is what I think you should do:

Let them amass as much candy as they want on Halloween, and let them eat themselves sick. Because I truly love candy, I just leave the buckets on the counter for a couple of days, and we all graze. By the second or third day, the candy loses its allure (because it’s not a forbidden thing and also because you can only eat so many tiny tubes of Whoppers before you’re sick of Whoppers. Trust me on this one. I have done the legwork). Then, you just get rid of it, and the kids won’t even notice it’s gone. Especially if you buy an organic pie pumpkin at the grocery store and turn it into muffins. And what the heck guys—put a little flaxseed in there; don’t be afraid to let your hair down.

You can toss the Halloween candy, donate it, or treat your house to a visit from the Switch Witch.

But really, if you don’t want your kids to eat Halloween candy, then don’t take them trick-or-treating. Host a Halloween party for their friends instead. Take your family to the movies. Hide in the basement and pretend not to hear the doorbell ring—whatever’s fun for you.

Do you let your kids eat their Halloween candy? Comment and let me know.

Sarah Jedd has a Ph.D. in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches and studies the rhetoric of Planned Parenthood. Sarah has 5 (F I V E) children: teens Harry and Jack, elementary schoolers Cooper and Dorothy, and sweet baby Minnie, born in August 2020. Sarah blogs about being a mom of many at harrytimes.com and overshares on IG as @sarahjedd. Sarah, her husband, and their kids live in Verona with the world's laziest dog.


  1. I agree and I don’t. Last year I told my kids on Halloween night they could eat as much as they wanted. My 3 year old wisely ate around 10 pieces. My 5 year old, no joking, are everything in her bucket. AND SHE DID NOT GET SICK! Ugh. I assumed if she ate too much there would be natural consequences. I think this year we will sort into categories and they can pick x amount from each to keep and then they can eat it whenever. We’ll see.

    • There’s a Fancy Nancy book about this– Fancy Nancy and the Candy Bonanza. She DOES end up getting sick from over-consumption. Maybe it’d be worth a read since the real life experience didn’t work?

      I also LOVE to sort candy, and now my kids are all about it, too. I have the older ones made a graph to represent how much of each type. You know, just to sneak some math into all the gluttony 🙂

  2. I guess that you’re not aware that some children actually do have reactions to food dyes. Or gluten. Artificial dyes turn my sweet boy into a raging monster. I actually spent a small f-ing fortune on dye free Halloween candy this year, just so I can trade him for the stuff he shouldn’t have because he is five. He will go trick or treating. But thanks for being a sanctimonious a**hole to those of us who actually have very valid reasons for not wanting our kids to eat some things that you allow yourself. It is hard enough on us telling our kids no, we definitely don’t need people like you judging us for it because yo don’t understand our reason.

    • Ummm, she has a disclaimer at the very top. Did you not read that or are you too busy being a sanctimonious a$$hole? Clearly, she’s not talking to you so disregard. Also, most of this is written in a very jovial manner so I would suggest that you learn how to laugh.

    • She did mention right off the top that this isn’t including kids with food allergies or sensitivities- it meant for those who don’t allow their kids to eat the Halloween candy because they are trying to tell them that candy is bad and never allow them to eat it. I feel for your situation and I understand, that is just not what she was talking about in her article. I don’t think it is kind to call her an @sshole for writing a blog on her belief. Move on and read something else. I completely agree with her stand and I allow my kids to enjoy the holiday of Halloween that we put much thought into our costumes and head out to find all the spooky houses. Then, I let them sort their candy, do the fun trades with each other and eat the heck out of it. That’s what being a kid is all about and I’m certainly not going to take that away from them but encourage them to enjoy it while they can. I think we can all agree that childhood goes way too fast. Between school issues, friend issues, bullies and everything else they have to worry about I want them to enjoy being home and especially having fun on Halloween.

  3. I completely agree, esp w your last statement. You can’t encourage your kids to go trick or treating but then admonish candy…if candy is that bad then find something else to do. I have friends that took their kids candy and handed it back out or who bought a toy their kid really wanted and told them if they traded in all of their candy they could have it and other friends who went on about how much candy they ate but said they hadn’t let their kids have a single piece. I don’t get it. Eating some candy seems far less harmful than the lessons that any of the later methods teach. My daughter is so excited and proud of her treat bucket. It was her first Halloween and when I pull the bucket out for her to pick something she remembers the night all over again with glee. That is worth a million pieces of candy.


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