I blew it.
Fail to plan, plan to fail.
I went into Halloween without a candy plan, and we’ve been paying the price for the past eleven days.
Ordinarily we have the “one treat a day” rule in our house. That means the kids have to ask before having a treat, and they know that if I remind them that they’ve already had one, they can’t argue.
Sure, there are sometimes “clarification issues” about whether a particular food is a treat. Like gummy fruit. Takis. (It doesn’t have to be sweet to be a treat. Fries are a treat.) Soda is a treat, but is lemonade?
Eva goes crazy with too much candy. I remember once picking her up from a birthday party and stopping by the grocery store on the way home. She was running up and down the aisles and at one point she actually looked like she was hovering about eight inches above the floor as she ran.
Jane gets crabby and tends to get stomachaches if she eats too many sweets. For the most part she knows this about herself and stops before she feels too awful, but both girls in general would eat way too much candy if I didn’t stop them.
So each year we have a plan, only this year I was caught off guard. One day we were in the pool hanging out and the next day it was Halloween.
Halloween night, of course, was a blur of s’mores from the neighborhood “s’more house,” full size candy bars, Nerds, etc. One out of five kids at our home that night ate the recommended nutritious dinner first (and she wasn’t my own child.)
The next few days were a patchwork of “Can I have some of my candy?” and me being unprepared asking, “How much have you had?” then deciding on the fly. See, I need guidelines.
Instead we kept finding empty wrappers everywhere. They were in pockets and tossed down the laundry chute. In backpacks. Under the seats of the car. In bedrooms. In the front room within reach of the dog. (Thank god the only candy he ate this Halloween season was cherry Twizzlers. For some reason that’s what he chose. He gnawed it like a rawhide then abandoned it.)
After finding candy in various stages of unwrappedness in the kids’ play room, I gave them fifteen minutes and told them to find EVERY SINGLE SCRAP of candy in the house or everything was going in the garbage. Jane stayed behind to argue a little bit but Eva ran so fast she was a blur. She had several full size Milky Ways in her candy tub and didn’t want to risk losing them.
I knew things were out of hand when Jane got on the phone with Scott’s parents a couple of days after Halloween. She had gone to a birthday party on November 1st and come home happy, but later that night as she tried to sleep she kept thinking about the haunted house they’d had there. She came into our room shivering and slept with us that night. This turns into, “Grandma, I ate so much candy I was shaking really hard and couldn’t stop.”
Some years we do the Candy Draft, where everything goes in one pile and we go in a circle choosing one piece at a time until some predetermined number is reached. Those are the pieces everyone keeps and they can eat per the one treat a day rule until it’s gone.
By the time I thought I should do the candy draft they’d already been eating so much that it seemed sort of stupid, so I told them they could just eat as much as they wanted, and we’d set aside the one treat a day policy, through the end of the weekend.
I figured maybe they’d eat themselves sick and only want to eat nourishing, warm, home cooked meals for the rest of the holiday season.
On Saturday night the girls babysat themselves while we had date night. We got home to find candy wrappers everywhere. An open bottle of Pepto Bismol sat out on the counter next to a bowl of chips and salsa. (Jane had a stomachache, felt better, and had a late night snack. This kid decided to skip those awkward tween years and move right into the frat house.)
On Sunday night, as the candy free-for-all drew to a close, the kids each approached me privately to draw up side deals involving keeping various special candy bars. Shouldn’t full-size bars be exempt? How can you just throw out a full size bar?
Finally, with Scott reminding me to save the Almond Joys for him, everything left (which wasn’t much) got tossed.
Now the only thing left to argue over is whether PSLs are treats if you get them “light/skinny” with no whipped cream.