Kids are great, and Halloween is great. Combine the two and what do you get? Well, if you’re on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, you get a sneaky Halloween prank. These celebrity parents – Channing Tatum, Pink, and Kimmel himself – took their children trick-or-treating, and then afterwards told them they weren’t getting their candy prizes after all. Then they and the audience sat back and watched what happened. In all cases it was completely hilarious.
Jimmy Kimmel’s Halloween candy segment has been running for seven years now. Usually, watchers of the show take part in the prank, but this year some celebrities gleefully joined in. Actor Channing Tatum, who was guest-hosting the show, and singer Pink were the big names who decided to mess with their children this October.
Channing Tatum was sitting in for Kimmel for a very good reason – Kimmel’s baby son was having heart surgery. Kimmel has spoken on his show before about his son: the little boy, Billy, was born with a heart defect. His health came first, so Kimmel had temporarily taken leave of the show. In his place, he’d left a series of guest hosts, one of whom was Tatum.
The Magic Mike star proved to be a very endearing host. At first he pretended to be nervous (or very possibly actually was) before Ellen DeGeneres showed up to encourage him. Then he grooved his way onto the stage accompanied by a group of professional dancers and a light show. And after that, the beloved Halloween prank kicked off.
The “I Ate All Your Candy” challenge, as it’s called, first came to life in 2011. Kimmel asked his viewers to get a camera rolling and then tell their children that mom and dad had eaten all the Halloween candy and there was none left anymore. Mean? Very possibly, but the featured children usually got their trick-or-treating rewards back in the end.
Every year it’s actually rather interesting to watch what the children do. Quite a lot of them burst into tears, a fact that surprised Kimmel the first time the prank was played. Others lash out at their parents or fling themselves on the floor. There’s always a couple of kids who don’t seem to care, too – and every so often one pops up who’s already heard of the Halloween prank and knows what’s going on.
Over the years a few experts have complained about the game and questioned if it’s actually genuinely cruel. In 2011 the website Children’s MD published an article titled “Hey Jimmy Kimmel, you’re teaching our kids how to bully!” And in 2013 CNN asked a psychologist for his opinion, which was a declaration of “this isn’t funny.”
But Jimmy Kimmel, his production team and his celebrity friends do, obviously, consider it harmless. And Channing Tatum did as well. When introducing the segment, he made an announcement. “I figured if I’m asking you to do this to your kids, I should probably do it to mine, too. Wait till you see it! So here’s how my daughter Everly took the news.”
Then he cut to a video of his four-year-old daughter sitting on the floor. “I’m sorry, but I ate all your candy,” he told her, holding out an empty bag. She reacted with a heartrending “awwwww” and turned her back on him. Ouch! Then Everly walked on her knees to her mother, Jenna Dewan Tatum, and cried into her legs.
“I’m sorry, I just got so hungry,” Tatum tried, but still his daughter wouldn’t even look at him. At that point the kind-hearted actor absolutely couldn’t take it anymore. “I’m kidding, I didn’t eat your candy!” he said. But Everly was not amused, and told him it wasn’t funny. “You’re right, that really was not funny. I’m so sorry, baby,” Tatum said. “I hope you forgive me someday for that.”
And after that, it was the turn of Pink. She chatted to Tatum for a bit about how she and her kids had done Halloween that year – they’d worn some amazing pirate-themed family costumes, it turned out. Tatum also shared his own outfit: a quite amazing rainbow unicorn. Then Pink produced her prank video for all to see.
Pink’s husband Carey Hart “broke the news” to their daughter Willow. “I got some bad news. After you went to bed last night I had a couple of beers and I ate all your candy,” he said. However, the six-year-old was one smart cookie, and she wasn’t buying it for a second. “Give me my candy!” she said, before chucking her pirate bag at her father.
Hart repeated the same fib, that he’d had some beers and eaten all the food. “You promise?” Willow asked. “I don’t believe you.” And then the video ended, to applause and cheers from the audience. Pink and Tatum had a good laugh over the savvy little kid. “Oh man! She is so fast!” said Tatum. “She’s so smart,” the proud mother agreed.
However, there was one more pranking parent to appear: Jimmy Kimmel himself. “Even though Jimmy isn’t here with us tonight, he recorded a little something this morning with his daughter, baby Jane, and he wanted us to share it,” Tatum announced. The image cut to a video of an adorable little blonde-haired girl playing with a doll.
Then her dad started to cause mischief. “Jane, I have to tell you something,” he said, holding a Halloween bag. “Last night, when you were sleeping, Mommy and I ate all your Halloween candy.” The little girl gasped and checked the bag. All that was left was a roll of Smarties. “I still have one. Don’t worry,” she said. Awwww.
Kimmel continued to try and provoke her a little. “We ate all the rest. Look.” He then upended the bag and shook it. As he did so, a single, lone wrapper floated onto the table. But Jane wasn’t having it. Her attention had been caught by some just-cooked waffles instead. “Are you mad about the Halloween candy?” Kimmel asked her. “No,” said Jane.
Her father asked her how she was feeling – mad? Sad? – but she wasn’t really all that bothered that the candy had gone. Until Kimmel started listing off all the things he’d eaten, that is. “Skittles and M&Ms and KitKats and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and gum and eyeballs and the Twizzlers and the lollipops…”
But Jane eventually cottoned on. “Every time I hiccup a bubble comes out,” Kimmel said, detailing what he’d done with her eyeball bubblegum. Jane looked confused for a second, then laughed, and so did her dad. Back in the studio Channing Tatum applauded. “Let’s just hope your kids are as well adjusted as she is,” he told the audience, before informing them where they could send their own prank videos.
As in previous years, the pranks met with a little bit of head-shaking. A child psychologist wrote about the joke in The Washington Post. “Celebrities should not use their power to egg parents on or to appeal to their vanity by asking them to emotionally manipulate their kids for a chance to be on TV,” she wrote. “I ask Kimmel to consider retiring the prank and encouraging his viewers to be kind to their children instead.”
But it doesn’t look like the prank is going away anytime soon. And other internet commenters, along with Kimmel himself, consider it a completely harmless way to have fun with their kids. On the other hand, if the celebrity children are anything to go by, it’s becoming harder and harder to prank them. So who knows where “I Ate All Your Candy” will end up? We’ll have to wait till next year to find out…