Sunday, November 1, 2009

I strong-armed my kids out of their Halloween candy. Does that make me a bad father?

I have frequently confessed my love for candy and all things sweet. I do not know why, but I am a candy fiend. I eat copious amounts of candy every day even though I know it can’t be good for me, but I just cannot resist. Perhaps I need professional help.

So, yesterday was Halloween, that day when children are allowed to collect all the candy their little bags can hold. My children are older now, thirteen and fourteen, but they decided to go treat or treating nonetheless. And they started early in the day, about three o’clock, so that they might optimize their candy gathering potential.

They began by making early Halloween calls on relatives. They then went door to door in a relative’s neighborhood where the neighbors have always proven to be exceptionally generous in the candy giving department. They ended the evening at a Halloween party at the home of yet another relative, so by the end of the evening, they had amassed a pretty impressive mountain of candy. And when they returned home, I was awaiting at the door.

I watched in silence, my presence concealed by the shadows, as my wife and children made their way down the street and turned into the driveway. I don’t think they expected to find me there, and as they found their way up the walkway, I could hear them congratulating themselves on this year’s candy haul. But when they became aware of my presence, they suddenly became silent.

“Welcome home,” I greeted them.

Tentatively, suspiciously, they greeted me back: “Oh, hi Daddy.”

And I got right down to business. “How much candy did you manage to collect this Halloween, my dear children?”

They looked at each other, and then they looked at my wife before offering for inspection two bulging bags of candy which I accepted. But something didn’t seem quite right. They offered up their bags too easily and without protest, and though the bags of candy may have seemed impressive by relative measures, I knew these two were candy collecting overachievers. I sensed deception afoot. Decoy bags!

“This is not all of it is it?,” I asked. I got very close to them so I might gauge their reaction.

They then appealed to their mother. “Daddy’s going to take all our candy again isn’t he? C’mon, Mom. This isn’t fair.”

My wife appealed to my sense of fatherly decently. "Don't do this, Max. Let the children have their candy this year. They'll give you some. Just leave them be, Max. Leave them be! They're just children."

But I had anticipated her complicity, so I had an excuse prepared. I needed to search the bags to cull out all candy containing peanuts or peanut by-products. They are severely allergic to peanuts.

So, I went to work starting with the Snickers and the Baby Ruths and the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Then I took the Butterfingers. I’m not sure if Butterfingers contain peanuts, but you can never be safe in these matters.

And I was prepared to stop here. I did take a few Mike ‘n Ikes. They were the new tropical twister variety and I am absolutely powerless against those. And I did take a few Starbursts. I like these too. It was my intention to stop there, but then I saw a familiar yellow and blue package at the bottom of the bag. Lemonheads! Did you know they made Lemonheads in little packages of about ten to be passed out at Halloween?

Anyway, at the sight of the Lemonheads I just lost it. My candy lust just went while, and the children looked on with the most plaintive, helpless looks on their faces as my pile of candy grew, and their piles diminished. I was drunk with candy power.

But then I got up this morning and I read Renee’s Sunday Shame post over at Womanist Musings. And then the full implications of my actions suddenly washed over me. Suddenly I feel so ashamed of myself. I pride myself on my self-control, but at the sight of so much candy, I lost all control. How could I? Years down the road I probably will be paying for therapy to help them get over the mental harm caused by my actions on this day. Will they ever forgive me?

But I am going to give it all back this morning, absent what I have already eaten of course which is a pretty significant amount. And I am going to apologize and admit to them that I have a problem and then seek help. Is there a twelve step program for candy and sweets addiction? How does one kick the Lemonhead habit? A Lemonheads anonymous, perhaps? This is my rock-bottom moment.


LoudPen said...

This post was hilarious! You have an excellent sense of humor Max.

My dad used to the same thing to me, my brothers, and sister. One of our favorite family stories is from when my dad took candy from my older sis. The story goes that my sis was like 5 or 6, and she came to my dad's job, left the candy on the table so she could go use the restroom. Before going to the restroom, she asked my dad not to eat her candy. While in the bathroom, she called out to ask if he was eating the candy, & my dad responed no (with a moutful of candy)!

It seems that we adults create days like Halloween as means to mooch of the little ones. It happens, just join a group & admit you're addiction & you'll be fine.

Nspired said...

Too funny. I was reading this and laughing my butt off!

Yes you have a problem. lol

When you were a teen, were you one of those bag snatcher kids?

Lol, Glad you redeemed yourself this morning.

Kim said...

I'm the same way with my Nieces/Nephews-- well I use to be, they know by now to save Auntee all of the Twizzlers they get.

Renee said...

I just want you to know that I consider it a tax and I'm keeping mine. Not only did I let them drag me around the neighborhood in the FREEZING cold, I went to their hockey game today and once again froze my butt off. If they don't want to be my retirement plan they can be my candy dealers LOL

Mary said...

Max, I'm new to your blog. Your writing is HILARIOUS -- especially the one about the snake!!!!!!!

Oh, Halloween candy -- my family was really blessed last night -- no children came to our door. I'm serious. Our house is on a dark street and I guess that didn't attract children.

So, today, we did our duty and ate up all that candy! Actually, I was almost praying that nobody would come trick-or-treating!

P.S. Are you a professional writer, like, to you sell your articles to magazines and stuff?

Max Reddick said...


This has been coming for years. Everyone has already told me I need to lay off the candy. This just confirms it.


I was never a bag snatcher. I didn't even start liking candy until I reached my late thirties. Can't really explain it.

@Kim and Renee

Perhaps, that's what I will tell them next year. It's just a tax. They need to start learning about the real world anyway.

@ Mary

I am not a professional writer per se. I am an academic and I write a bunch of academic stuff mostly for academic journals. Like to have fun on my blog. But glad you stopped by and I hope to see you back soon.

rhythm said...

hysterical. and sad. very sad.

md20737 said...

I loved this one.. I can imagine your wife and children planning the deceit in the car on the way home...

Denisha said...

Lemonheads and Johnny candy ever made! And I eat any candybar with peanuts although my boys aren't allergic to them...I'm making sure they don't develop any alleriges lol that's my story.

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