It was Halloween 1985. I was a ballerina because just as most little girls are at some point in their little lives, I was on a hardcore ballerina kick. As I walked from house to house collecting Halloween candy, I'd sneak my hand into my pillow case and pluck out a piece or two and pop it into my mouth. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but by the time I got home, I had the worst stomach ache of my life. It was so awful that 33 years later, I still think of it and wince.

Halloween will be here on Wednesday and it's never too early to start thinking about how you can control your kid's candy consumption so that you're not up all night nursing a sad kid with a hurting belly. Parents know that it's virtually impossible to stop kids from shoving fistfuls of candy into their mouths, but there are a couple things you can do.

  • 1

    Early Decisions

    This will be a sanity saver for you if you and the kids hash this out before Halloween. Before you go trick-or-treating, sit down with your kids and decide together what a reasonable amount of candy is to eat on Halloween night and then each night after Halloween, until their stash is gone. To make it easier and so there's no (or at the very least minimal) arguing, you can divide the candy into small baggies and ration it out daily.

  • 2

    Eat Dinner

    You know what it's like when you go to the grocery store on an empty belly and all you can think about is ripping open bags of whatever you can grab and pouring it down your throat as you're walking the aisles? That very same thing can happen to your kids on Halloween. So, before you go out trick-or-treating, feed your littles a big meal so that they'll be full and won't want to stuff their faces with candy as they go house to house.

  • 3

    Emphasize the Fun

    Psych your kids out about all of the fun things, not candy related to Halloween. Point out costumes and decorated houses and make a game out of it. Eating candy will take a backseat to all of the other fun distractions.

  • 4

    Stay Away From Bribery

    The number one rule to remember is not to use your kid's Halloween candy as a reward or punishment. If you do this, it can lead to unhealthy habits in the future. Plus, it makes Halloween out to be a bummer.