Here in the midwest, the trees have begun shedding their leaves into the crisp, autumn air. Our family has been enjoying decorating pumpkins and cuddling up on the couch watching Halloween-themed episodes of Mickey Mouse. When it comes to trick-or-treating, our payoff as parents isn’t just to be warmed by the excitement and joy on our children’s faces (or perhaps by the hot, spiced wine in our coffee tumblers), but as the governing body of our household, we collect a mommy/daddy tax on Halloween candy!
If you are planning on going trick-or-treating, feel free to teach your kids a little about taxes while taking the portion of their candy that you were already planning on taking anyways. Ready for a tax-lesson, kiddies?
1. What are taxes? Taxes are how we pay for things like schools, libraries, parks, festivals,roads, and safety. Everybody pays their part by giving money to the government in taxes on the money we earn, things we buy, and land that we own.
2. Halloween candy taxes are now in effect! Collectively establish a rate at which candy will be taxed. “If we go to ten houses, we get one piece (10%). But if we go to 100 houses, you’d better believe Mummy and Deaddy are getting more candy!”
3. Have fun and be safe!
4. Try not to withhold (eat) too much while out trick-or-treating. Early overpayment of candy is not nearly as easily refunded as it is with the US government. Just like actual early tax overpayment, someone else has now chewed on it for a while before giving it back to you with less value. Once I eat that peanut butter cup, you definitely don’t want it back!
5. After trick or treating, while everybody counts their candy take-down, help them separate out the amount to be “collected” based on the percentage or rate that you had all agreed upon.
6. Feel free to admit to them that really nobody has ever liked paying taxes, but they should remember that taxes are an important part of how civilization works.
7. Want more candy? Go to more houses! Even though that will get taxed too, they will still have lots of fun and ultimately more candy to show for it.
The point is to have fun with this! With the pandemic surging again, this year may be mostly spent inside with our kids trick-or-treating from bathroom to bedroom doors. They’ll still get candy – it’ll just be given directly to them from us, their parents and governing body. Stimulus of Reese’s Pieces, anyone?
Have a Happy Halloween, and stay safe!
– Article contributed by Shawn Block, associate adviser at Briggs Financial.