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Yup, I’m in that 86 percent. And I refuse to apologize.

Also, I once paid a kid for a fallen-out tooth with his own money.** What can I say, I rarely have cash.

But here’s the thing, we parents give and give and give and give (We changed your nasty diapers! We let you spit up on us!) and, fun fact, our kids won’t really and truly appreciate us and all we’ve done for them until we’re dead. So, in the grand scheme of things, is it so wrong to sneak a few fun-size Mars Midnight bars when we pay for college? Think of it as Paydaying it forward. Ha — see what I did there?

Some tips for burgling Halloween booty — and, as they say in the graveyard, bone appetite!

  1. Pretend you have no taste. Make a big deal about the really gross stuff, like those Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses. Manufacturer NECCO describes them as “a classic treat with a creamy and chewy taste.” Riiiigght. They’re bits of candle dyed the color of ear wax. They’re so gross that North Carolina banned the orange and black-wrapped “candy.” And that state, I would like to point out, has an actual unincorporated community called Boogertown.*** The point of this tip: Once you’ve established you like crap, no one will suspect you if the good stuff, i.e., chocolate, starts disappearing. Instead, the other parent will immediately come under suspicion.
  2. Safety first! When the kids have the candy splayed out over the table and they’re distracted seeing what stuff their siblings have, perform your inspection and gently tear a wrapper. Or two. Or three. “Oh darn! Sorry, guys, this Twix is open — you cannot eat that.”
  3. Act like you’re content with the cast-off candy. Truth: Kids hate anything made with peanuts or coconut and give away these first. Perhaps it’s because they easily substitute as poop in that baby shower game, you know the one where you melt candy bars into diapers and try and guess which treats they are? Hey, I didn’t create the game, nor am I am the first to point out the resemblance. Once the kids hand over the dregs — and you have a super-sized pile of Baby Ruths — they’ll never suspect you because why would YOU want any more candy? You are a sensible, calorie-counting adult who does not even really eat candy (as far as they know) and therefore would not take the mini Hershey’s bars. Bwahahahahahahaha. Suckers. And I don’t mean the Tootsie Pops.
  4. Be patient. Every family has a junior accountant, you know, the kid who itemizes his or her entire stash and knows exactly how many of each thing is in the plastic pumpkin. For this kind of candy counter, you have to bide your time, wait a week or so, until the novelty of Halloween has worn off and the kid’s gotten a little sloppy with the ledger. Or, just cook the books yourself.
  5. Never dispose of the wrappers in your home trash cans. Those same kids who cannot find the ketchup in the refrigerator, even though it is front and center at eye level, will spy the flash of red from a 100 Grand Bar even if it’s buried beneath a week’s worth of coffee grounds.
  6. Go big (eyed) or go home (hungry). Don’t even consider swiping a full-size candy bar. No kid will ever not notice if one of those is missing. To get a piece of this action, you have to straight-up scam them. Using your best Margaret Keane, big-eyed waif face, compliment them on their goodies. “Ohhh. You are so lucky! Look at the full-size Crunch bar! I never, ever got one of those as a kid.” If you have raised your child right, he or she will then and there offer you up a square or two. If your kid ignores you, then look out because he or she is already showing early warning signs of growing up to be a Wall Street scum bag who defrauds people out of their hard-earned money. In which case, it is fair to steal the entire stash and pretend there was a break in.

*I almost titled this post Boo Steel, but I was afraid that was too obscure a reference (from the movie “Zoolander”).

**Don’t look at me like that. I paid him back. I think.

***Truth. Look it up.

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