How Long Till the Halloween Haul Runs Out?
Get ready for the Monday morning after Halloween, folks – everywhere you look, there will likely be piles of candy hauled in by eager youngsters, this past Saturday night. And after a full Sunday of candy-fueled antics, parents all over America will be crying “Uncle” and vowing to get that stuff out of the house. Everywhere you look, in offices across the nation, Halloween candy will be spilling out of the cubicles, taking up needed counter space in the kitchenettes, and making a whole lot of us a little ill at the thought of yet another “snack size” morsel.
So, how bad is it? Just what are we looking at?
Consider this: In 2014, 4,120,000 children went trick-or-treating in the U.S.*. That’s not counting adults, but I’ve calculated how many might possibly be impacted by this veritable stampede of candy-collectors.
If I assume that the holiday spirit will continue (according to the National Retail Foundation,157 million of us were expected to partake in celebrations), I can roughly estimate how long we’re going to fend off the initial onslaught of all that extra non-nutritional intake — all ~20.6 billion additional calories’ worth.
By my admittedly ballpark, conservative calculations, things should simmer down by mid-week… or end of week, if we pace ourselves.
Let’s allow for 2.5 children per household – out of the 4.1 million trick-or-treaters. That puts us at ~1,648,000 households involved. Let’s say that there are ~1.75 adults per household, which amounts to ~2,884,000 adults potentially impacted by the trick-or-treat haul. Using a (very) conservative estimate of 50 pieces of candy collected by each child, that puts the total number of pieces of candy in circulation at ~206,000,000. (And if we allow for ~100 calories per piece of candy, then we’ve just introduced 20.5 billion additional calories into our collective forage – but that’s another discussion for another time.)
Then let’s allot the following “candy budget” to kids and adults alike:
Halloween: Kids: 10 pieces | Adults: 5 pieces
Sunday: Kids: 20 pieces | Adults: 10 pieces
Monday: Kids: 2 pieces | Adults: 10 pieces
Tuesday: Kids: 0 pieces | Adults: .7 pieces
At that rate, by my blue-sky calculations, the collective number of pieces on hand will drop precipitously after Sunday.
The only thing is, this doesn’t look like much fun. Sunday looks way too… “exciting” for most people’s taste. Of course, it significantly cuts down on the amount of candy that needs to be dispatched over the coming days, but that’s at a price. If 4,120,000 kids are all allowed to consume 20 pieces of Halloween candy on that day, there will be a whopping 82,400,000 pieces of candy pumping untold amounts of sugar (not to mention over 8 billion additional calories) into the systems of kids all across our land. On One. Single. Day.
Fun for the kids. Less fun for Mom and Dad.
Now, if we look at a more staid plan – keeping everybody on a budget of ~2-5 pieces per day, the numbers look less precipitous. And perhaps a bit less scary. Plus, by the end of the week, the kids will be down to no candy… whilst leaving the adults a remaining 5 pieces to snack on.
After all, we’re probably going to need the energy.
Whatever your living situation… good luck, this coming week.
* Estimated number of children ages 5-14, source: U.S. Census Bureau (via Infoplease http://www.infoplease.com/spot/halloweencensus1.html)