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What Do You Think About Jimmy Kimmel’s Halloween Candy Prank?

Tell Me How to Feel About Jimmy Kimmel’s Halloween Candy Prank

By Amalah

Another Halloween has come and gone. My kids’ previously beloved-more-than-life-itself superhero costumes and accessories are scattered throughout the house and I have no idea what to with this giant Minecraft box head. Our surplus candy is headed towards Operation Gratitude, and GUESS WHAT, my firstborn is officially old enough to realize that my husband and I go through their candy buckets after they go to bed and pick out our favorites, because we’re jerks.

His reaction on Sunday morning was pretty funny, an accusatory HEYYYY WAITAMINUTE and a shocked/horrified look as my complete lack of a poker face betrayed my guilt. They get so much candy! They’ve never noticed! I had no idea he’d taken inventory this year to protect his stash from his younger brothers, never realizing that HIS PARENTS were the bigger threat.

So I guess that’s one tradition we won’t be continuing next year (j/k I have two more who have no idea I have a weakness for Baby Ruths and Swedish Fish).

Another tradition I’m not so sure about anymore: Jimmy Kimmel’s Annual Halloween Candy Prank, in which parents tell their children they ate all their candy while filming the reaction.

I am not going to lie. I have watched the resulting montage of the “best” reactions every year — this year apparently had RECORD participation, and I admit a couple of the reactions did make me laugh out loud. (TURKEY BUTTHOLE!) And some of the kids’ choices of words for their parents are pretty damn cute. (GO GET A JOB!)

But every year, my feelings get conflicted pretty quickly. The sobbing, the disappointment, the sense that some of the parents are letting the joke go on a BIT TOO LONG in hopes of their child’s theatrical reaction escalating even more. I just…I don’t know. I end up feeling a bit icky by the end, similar to how I’d probably feel if I did eat all that Halloween candy in one sitting.

In the end, of course, the kids get their candy back and presumably all is well and they probably all find something else that is Literally The Worst Thing To Ever Happen To Them five minutes later. (A couple kids in this year’s batch are repeat marks and cheerfully inform their mom that they’re not falling for “that Jimmy Kimmel thing” again, so clearly there’s no hard feelings.)

What do you think? Is the prank too mean? A harmless bit of fun? Have you participated or plan to or just can’t even imagine doing that to your kids?

I have zero plans to ever do this, filmed or otherwise, but it doesn’t look like the candy prank tradition isn’t going away any Halloween soon.

(And okay, I’m imagining my kids hypothetical reactions and you know what? lolololol.)

(Still not doing it though.)

Photo source: Depositphotos/VPanteon

Explore Halloween costumes, crafts, decorations and treats from our archives here.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Comments

  • Bethany

    Ugh. I hate stuff like this. It’s so not okay to exploit people’s emotions for a laugh. I don’t care that they’re kids and it’s candy. It’s not okay to lie to people – even small people – to be internet famous.

    • Melissa

      100% agree with Bethany.  It’s not okay to exploit people for a laugh nor is it okay to lie to people.  Being children doesn’t make that okay or more acceptable. In fact, it’s worse because they can’t consent to being shown on tv or not.  

      Think about the lesson being taught: it’s okay to make other people cry because YOU find it funny. 

  • Liz

    Yeeeeah….. so I hate to be all Mom The Fun-Killer, but I think it’s unkind. You’re deliberately trying to make your kids wildly upset. It bothers me. Halloween and candy are fun for kids, and to convince them that you took it all away….. not nice. It’s a funny IDEA, but in practice I think the prank is too mean.

  • Karisa

    I’m just always fascinated/terrified of the children’s responses knowing they are mimicking what they see at home.

  • Sarahd

    So, yes, I totally think pranks on kids is a dick move. This is (one of!) the reasons I dislike Jimmy Kimmel. Actually, though, I think pranks on anyone are mean so I might not be the best gauge. Still….just…no!

  • Elle

    I will never, ever, EVER be ok with parent filming children in their worst moments and publishing it for public consumption without those childrens’ consent (also: children can’t give consent!). It is a gross violation of privacy and respect for another human being. It’s public shaming and it does not have a place in the way we raise our children. Full stop.

    I promise, I’m a fun mom and I have a sense of humor and I laugh with my kids ALL THE TIME at fart jokes and whatnot, but this is incredibly problematic and there is no way this is justifiable as humor, ESPECIALLY for public consumption.

  • Kim too

    NOPE NOPITY NOPE NOPE on the prank.  Also, OH HELL NO.  We are doing our best to teach respect and compassion and kindness over here, and this prank craps all over that.  We tease over here.  I might say, oh no, what happened to your candy? But it would be followed by a ta-da 10 seconds later.

    And hey, I am all about the management fee over here.  But my oldest doesn’t like Reeses or Snickers or Milky Ways, so I’m ok.  And all the Almond Joys belong to me!

    • Hillary

      Management fee! I like that! We call it a parent tax. 🙂

  • Annemarie

    It’s so disrespectful. And if it’s never okay for my kids to lie to me, why is it okay for me to lie to them, especially for someone else’s benefit? Halloween candy is solid gold to most kids, and it’s a massive breach of trust to do this to them. So lump me in with the rest of the killjoys.

  • Stephanie

    Ugh.  I HATE pranks like this.  It’s really not funny to use your kids in this way.  It’s manipulative and it’s downright mean to play with their feelings this way.  And using your own kids as the butt of a “joke” by tricking them?  Horrible.  I personally hate being manipulated in that way, why would it ever be okay to do it to my own kids?  
    Call me a fun-killer, too, I don’t care.  Kids should believe that their feelings are valid, and their own parents playing with them for a stupid, mean “joke” is just plain wrong, for many reasons.

  • MR

    I really don’t like his pranks on kids. I think it is awful and it makes me cringe for all those children. And why on earth would a parent think it was ok or funny to do that to their kid??? Way to teach your child not to trust you. SMH.

  • Caro

    I’d be mad if someone told me they drank all my wine, so, nope.

  • I guess I disagree with the majority. 

    I don’t like the idea of exploiting your kids for tv, broadcasting their raw emotions for a few minutes of feaux fame, but I think pranking and teasing in general is all in good fun, provided it doesn’t go too far. I grew up in a large family that relished April Fool’s day and any other opportunity to get one-up on a brother or sister (or the gold standard, one-up on dad!). We’re all pretty tough cookies as grown-ups, able to roll with life’s punches. Is this directly related to being attacked by a rubber banded sink sprayer once a year? Maybe, maybe not. But it gave us lots of opportunities to laugh WITH as well as AT each other and ourselves in the privacy of our own family. 

    I wouldn’t classify this as lying or manipulation either. Is there a tooth fairy or Easter bunny or Santa Clause in your house? Do kids have to be on their best behavior or Santa won’t come? Elf on a shelf? This is manipulation, and we don’t think twice about it because it’s a cultural norm. And we can drag that on for months since Christmas starts in retail stores in like October now. 

    Perhaps there’s something to be said for the appreciation of deep joy in comparison to deep loss. Does a silly little experience like losing Halloween candy and getting it back prepare little humans for real life experiences of love and loss? Of hope? Of “trust but verify” and “don’t believe everything you’re told”? Or is it really just a silly little experience of temporarily losing Halloween candy?

    Would I do this to my own kid(s)? Hard to say since my only child is only 2 months old. I probably would, in the privacy of my own home. Just like I might withhold that Christmas present she reeeeeeeeally wants just to see how much more joy she experiences when it miraculously appears. But I probably wouldn’t record it, and definitely wouldn’t send it to be broadcast on TV or publish it on the interwebs.  

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