Tricks for treats: More than half of parents admit that they steal their kids’ Halloween candy

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Research commissioned by Spinbrush and conducted by OnePoll revealed that 59 percent of parents have actually hidden Halloween candy from their children. (Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash)

If the Halloween candy starts to disappear, mom or dad is the likely culprit — according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 parents of children aged 3–15 revealed that two-thirds of respondents have stolen candy given to their trick-or-treating child.

Of those who have, the average parent ate a THIRD of their child’s haul.

And parents get crafty to cover up their thievery: When taking candy, parents admit to hiding it and hoping their child would forget about it (44 percent), pretending the candy went missing (43 percent) and saying they were inspecting the candy — before taking some of it for themselves (41 percent).

More than that, the survey — commissioned by Spinbrush and conducted by OnePoll — revealed that 59 percent of parents have actually hidden Halloween candy from their children.

Top places to hide Halloween candy were found to be the bedroom (57 percent), behind other food in the kitchen (54 percent) and on top of the refrigerator (53 percent).

But that’s not the only way parents work to sate their sweet tooth, as 63 percent have purposefully bought extra candy for trick-or-treaters with the intention of eating the leftover pieces themselves.

The survey looked not only at parent’s candy stealing tendencies, but also at the healthy habits they have in place around the holiday.

Sixty-six percent limit their own candy intake and 65 percent limit their child’s consumption on Halloween, with a maximum of 12 pieces each.

And for the majority of parents, those limits extend after the holiday as well — top ways parents limit candy intake were found to be allowing their children a limited number of pieces per day (68 percent), removing temptation by bringing the extra candy to share with co-workers (47 percent) and hiding it (42 percent).

But with all the candy children are consuming, parents do have concerns. Eight in 10 parents surveyed are worried about oral health and cavities in the days following Halloween — for both themselves and their children (81 percent and 84 percent, respectively).

“Keeping healthy habits with oral care is extremely important, especially during sweet-filled holidays, like Halloween when candy consumption is at its highest,” said ARM & HAMMER Spinbrush Expert Dr. Derek Wallin, DDS. “Limiting and choosing candy carefully, sticking to a brushing and flossing routine and practicing proper technique are all simple ways to ensure healthy teeth and gums all year round, even during times when we tend to sneak a few extra pieces of candy.”

In good news, the majority of parents surveyed said they — and their children — “always” brush their teeth shortly after eating sweets (52 percent each), and most have a stricter teeth-brushing routine on and around the holiday.

Other ways that parents are careful with their child’s oral health around Halloween include making sure they brush twice a day (58 percent), limiting when they eat candy (54 percent) and making sure they use a specific toothbrush or toothpaste (53 percent).

“We all have different needs and preferences when it comes to oral care, but everyone needs the proper tools to keep teeth healthy and strong,” said Dr. Wallin, DDS. “I recommend choosing tools that not only help you get the job done, but does it effectively, such as the ARM & HAMMER Spinbrush.”


  1. Hid the candy, hoping their child would forget about it 44 percent
  2. Told their child some of the candy went missing 43 percent
  3. Said they were “inspecting” the candy, then hid some 41 percent
  4. Snuck a few pieces without their child noticing 40 percent
  5. Pretended the candy had gone bad 37 percent
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  1. In their bedroom 57 percent
  2. Behind other food in the kitchen/pantry 54 percent
  3. On top of the refrigerator 53 percent
  4. In the car 51 percent
  5. In their office 46 percent

*Of the 59 percent who have ever hidden Halloween candy from their child

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<

NOTE: All news copy and multimedia on this SWNS account is free to use as you see fit. Where research has been conducted, we ask that you credit the company which commissioned it.

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