Follow along as Ottawa-based sports reporter Ian Mendes writes about the joys of raising daughters Elissa and Lily with wife Sonia.
There was a time when it was easy to steal your child’s Halloween candy.
When they were nine months old, you would put them in a cute little pumpkin outfit and take them around to a handful of pre-selected homes. Your infant would be barely able to hold onto their tiny bag and when you prompted them to say “trick-or-treat” they would spit up a colourful combination of breastmilk and mushed carrots.
But the neighbours would find the scene so cute they would fill their little bag with some candy — blissfully unaware that they had just handed over a bunch of treats to a mostly-toothless child who could not eat solid foods.
So, as a parent, you got to walk into the front door and enjoy all the candy for yourself. I'm fairly certain this is where the saying, “like taking candy from a baby” originated.
But you never hear anybody utter the words, “Oh man, it was so easy. It was like taking candy from a nine-year-old.”
That’s because it’s nearly impossible.
But if you’re like me, you probably love a good challenge. And you probably also love chocolate nougat and wafers. And Jolly Ranchers. And those little packs of Rockets that you're too embarrassed to buy for yourself.
Read more: What to do with your Halloween candy >
So this week, I thought it would be fun to look at the five ways to successfully steal your child’s Halloween candy — without them even knowing it.
1. Nighttime theft You sneak into their rooms and pretend to be the Tooth Fairy, so is it really that wrong to sneak into their room in the middle of the night and steal some candy? A recent poll indicated that 80 percent of parents will steal their children’s Halloween candy, so at least you know that you are not alone. (As a side note, that same poll also revealed that 20 percent of parents are filthy liars).
2. Two-person tag team This one is actually pretty simple. One parent takes the kids out trick-or-treating while the other one stays behind at home. Halfway through the night, you tell the kids that they should empty out their bags at home so it’s easier to hit more houses. And when they stop at home to dump out the candy, your spouse is able to sift through their loot and take out everything except the candy corn and raisin boxes.
3. Buy some fake filler If your kids insist on counting their Halloween candy, that’s no problem. They could go to bed thinking they have 100 pieces of candy. But will they really remember that they have 14 Twix bars, nine Skittles packets and six Kit Kats? Probably not. So have some dummy candy available to replace their good stuff. And when they wake up in the morning to count their candy, they will still have 100 pieces. And you can say to them, “Wow — I didn’t realize you had so many Big Turk bars!”
4. Safety inspection For most of the 1980s, I lived in fear that some nutjob on my street had put a razor blade inside a Snickers bar. So my parents would carefully inspect each piece of candy to make sure it wasn’t tampered with. But I don’t think that kids today have those same fears, so maybe it’s time to start some neighbourhood rumours and declare a bunch of their candy “suspicious”. (And by suspicious, I actually mean delicious).
5. A fake punishment This one should only be used as a last resort, but you can always go over-the-top and get angry with your kids. “I CANNOT believe you left this mitten on the floor. Are you KIDDING me??? You know what, that’s it. Give me all your candy. I’ve had it with you!”