Now that another Halloween has passed, parents everywhere are left with the age-old dilemma of how much of the candy their children collected should they allow their kids to eat — and over what span of time. To set the current scene, there are some recent statistics available that can shed some light on the subject:
• A study conducted in 2021 concluded that 80% of kids eat all of their Halloween candy in one week.
• A study conducted in 2019 revealed that 86% of parents admitted to eating candy from their kids’ Halloween haul; the same study stated that nearly 60% of parents hid some of their kids’ Halloween candy in order to control or pace out their consumption of sugar.
In the boomer years, there were no such studies readily accessible. There were annual warnings of cavity-inducing threats from dentists and sugar-poisoning cautions from dietitians and nutritionists, but to boomer kids, such pronouncements sounded like the “wah, wah, wah” of the adult-speak in the Peanuts cartoons and comics. Ergo, Mister Boomer can only relay his own experiences, and the thoroughly unscientific polling he has conducted among his boomer friends. Basically, Mister B’s inquiries echoed the recent studies. Some boomers did fiercely tear through their candy bags in one week, though others took more time. Most boomers did recall that their parents ate some of their candy from their bags. However, this is where the similarities end.
In Mister Boomer’s case, he and his siblings differed in their approaches to post-Halloween candy consumption. Mister B’s parents issued an annual edict that no more than two or three pieces of candy should be eaten in any one day, but that was regarded as more of a guideline than a rule since Mister B and his siblings were in possession of their own bags. Brother Boomer attacked his treasure and if not in one week, certainly within two weeks, his cache would be gone. Mister Boomer and his sister took more time. This grasshopper-and-ant tale led Brother Boomer to very often beg for a morsel from each. Mister Boomer strongly suspected (to this day) that Brother Boomer happily stole from his bag regularly, since Mister B kept a loose inventory of his own supplies.
For Mister Boomer, it was somewhat of a game, trying to see how long he could stretch out eating the candy, with Thanksgiving as the end goal. Most years, Mister B could do that. One recent study Mister B found suggested that the average number of houses “hit” by children on Halloween was 30 … that number seemed mighty low to Mister Boomer. From the ages of 8 to 12, Mister B, like his neighborhood denizens, attempted to cover blocks and blocks of homes — far beyond 30 houses — to reach, in his estimation, more than 100. Each year neighborhood kids aspired to fill pillow cases with candy, though hardly any ever reached much past halfway. Still, it was a considerable collection.
In Mister Boomer’s situation, his parents immediately weighed in to check the booty at the end of the night. At the same time, it was understood by Mister Boomer and his siblings that the “fee” for this bag-check would be some on-the-spot confiscation. Two or three pieces of their favorites were targeted; for his mother, it was Milky Way, and for his father, it was Butterfingers.
Some boomers reported that their parents literally took away some of their candy on Halloween night, allowing them only a certain amount. Others allowed a grace period on Halloween, but portioned out what their children would eat in the days that followed. Mister Boomer and his siblings had full control of their bags, so no appreciable quantity was hidden or taken away, other than the sacrificial tokens required here and there for the duration. In later years, Mister Boomer recalls people bringing in “excess” candy into the workplace. Mister B felt sorry for his co-workers’ children.
How about you, boomers? Did you maintain possession of your Halloween candy? And how long did it take to consume your bag of treats?