It was Halloween 1985. I was a ballerina because 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 little hand into my pillowcase and pluck out a piece or two, popping it into my mouth. What seemed like a great idea at the time turned out to be anything but. By the time I got home, I had the worst stomach ache I've ever had in my life. It was so awful that 34 years later, I still think of it and I wince.

Halloween will be next week, but it's never too early to start strategizing about how you can control your kid's candy consumption so that you're not up all night nursing a miserable kid who has a hurting belly. All parents know that it's virtually impossible to stop kids from shoving fistfuls of candy into their mouths, but there are a couple of things you can do to control the sugar intake.

  • 1

    Make Some 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 kiddos and decide together what a reasonable amount of candy is to eat on Halloween night and then each night after Halloween, until the 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 to your kids daily.

  • 2

    Eat Dinner on Halloween

    You know exactly what happens when you go grocery shopping on an empty belly. 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 same feeling can hit your kids on Halloween if they go out trick-or-treating before eating. 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 (as much) candy as they go house to house.

  • 3

    Emphasize the Fun

    Psych your kids out about all of the fun things that aren't candy related to Halloween. Point out costumes and decorated houses and make a game out of it. The kids will be distracted by all the things that you point out that they (probably) won't gobble up as much candy.

  • 4

    Stay Away From Bribery

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