BY LISA EARLE MCLEOD
Let the sugar rush begin. I love Halloween. My kids go door-to-door begging for treats, and then after they go to bed, I forage through their little plastic pumpkins gobbling up Kit Kats and candy corn like there's no tomorrow.
But after years of pimping sugar from my unsuspecting children, the little goblins have wised up and now they inventory their booty before they go to bed.
Last year, I found a note taped to the top of the 7-year-old's pumpkin saying, "Mom, I have counted every piece of this candy, so hands off!"
I knew they were serious when I discovered two spreadsheets taped to the fridge - 14 Skittles, 12 Tootsies, 6 mini Butterfingers, 14 Twizzlers.
So now I'm reduced to scavenging through our big black witch's cauldron of leftovers hoping that all the Almond Joys aren't gone. I tried loading the top of the pot with Smarties and Dum Dums, but the parading pack of Princess Barbies and Power Rangers reached their grubby little hands right to the bottom and grabbed my stash.
The first step in recovery is admitting that you have a problem. So I'm ready to come clean - I'm just as addicted to sugar as my children and with the season of temptation upon us, I'm already licking my chops.
The sugar high begins with Halloween, when my fellow suburbanites try to outdo each other by doling out candy bars as big as their SUVs.
As the confectionery frenzy spins into November, little caramels and candy pumpkins pop up everywhere from Grandma's house to the teacher's prize bag.
And by the time the candy canes and gingerbread houses go up, my kids and I have consumed enough processed sugar to turn our blood into corn syrup.
But hey, it's not like we don't come by it naturally. We hail from a long line of sugar junkies.
The men in our family may succumb to alcoholism and smoking, but the women inhale sweets like they're crack cocaine.
As a child, my sister once became so obsessed with her Halloween candy that my mother allowed her to go on an all-candy diet in the hopes that a few days of nothing but sugar would break the 10-year-old addict of her habit.
It almost worked. My sister was green by the end of day two and begging my mom for a bologna sandwich. But after two weeks of real food, she was back to smuggling M&Ms into her book bag.
What can you expect from a family where the matriarch, my beloved grandmother, once proclaimed, "You can't have a guest over unless you serve cake."
Granny would be proud to know that my two kids don't consider it a slumber party without Reese's Pieces. And everybody else seems determined to feed the frenzy.
Cake and ice cream aren't enough sugar at birthday parties anymore. Now my two little cupcakes return home toting goody bags brimming with Jolly Ranchers and Blow Pops.
And don't even get me started on piñatas. I once succumbed to the madness and actually purchased a candy-filled paper-mache donkey. But after watching a bunch of 4-year-olds whack away at the poor beast before crawling all over the floor fighting each other for Tootsie Rolls, I began to question the entire ritual.
When is comes to candy, the problem is everybody always says, "It's just this once."
But between Grandma, the teachers and suckers at the doctor, my kids are just once-ing themselves to five or six times a week.
A better mother might put her foot down, but I'm opting to serve as chief quality inspector instead.
Taking candy from my babies isn't easy. But an addict will do almost anything to get a fix.
Or in my case, a Twix.
Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of "Forget Perfect: Finding Joy, Meaning, and Satisfaction in the Life You've Already Got and the YOU You Already Are." She can be contacted at www.ForgetPerfect.com.