Jimmy Kimmel’s kid pranks – am I the only one who hates these?


jimmy kimmelJimmy Kimmel, the late night talk show host and comedian whom I usually love and adore, does this thing every year that makes me sad and confused. It’s just a big ol’ weird bummer all around.

Once or twice a year Kimmel challenges his fans to film a video of themselves pranking their children, and then post that video to YouTube. One prank, which has become an annual thing, is called, “I ate all of your Halloween candy.” The idea is for parents to sit their kids down and tell them that all of the Halloween candy is gone because Mommy and/or Daddy ate it. The children are usually devastated and are filmed weeping and screaming. Then the parents tell them they were just kidding.

Most people — including many friends of mine — find this hilarious.

I’m on the “not so much” side.

Now, if you find these funny (and especially if we are friends), please know I am not judging you. Humor is different for everyone, and I have been accused of being tightly wound about some things once or twice in my life. And usually when people find something on the internet and tell me it’s hilarious, I am 100% on board with the funny. But every year Kimmel does these pranks, and every year I cannot watch them because they break my heart.

jimmy kimmel prankHow do you “pull a prank” on a child? Many of the kids in these videos are young enough to still believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. They are certainly young enough to trust their parents unconditionally and believe what they are told. I don’t understand why it’s funny to break that trust, make them feel like their parents have intentionally hurt them, and take some of the joy out of a holiday that kids love only slightly less than any day when they receive presents. Why not tell them that Santa was killed in a drive-by shooting for being a snitch? Or that the Easter Bunny won’t be coming this year because he got shanked in prison after being arrested during another home invasion?

It just doesn’t feel okay to me.

And then there’s the fact that these parents film it and post it on YouTube for the world to see. Come on now, folks. Aren’t we better than this? There is so much to worry about when it comes to kids and the internet. We spend so much time trying to teach them that what goes on the internet is there forever, so please don’t post pictures of your ass crack or fantasize about murdering your teacher on Twitter. But Mom and Dad will go ahead and post a video of you as a child having a total breakdown because we think that shit’s funny.

Maybe I am too tightly wound. Maybe I do take this too seriously. All I know is that looking at those kids’ faces hurts my heart, and it is not something I would ever do to my own children. In order to prank someone, shouldn’t that person be capable of understanding what a prank is in the first place? Shouldn’t they have some level of social maturity so that they understand the difference between a harmless joke and a mean trick?

I just hope for those parents’ sakes that their kids don’t know how to use YouTube. If they do, I’d be prepared for a few videos to hit the net called, “Look what happened when I told my Dad I lost his wallet!” and “Told my mom that she didn’t get into graduate school and she believed me. It’s hilarious. LOL.”

Author: admin

Meredith likes to write the funny at her blog, Pile of Babies (http://www.pileofbabies.com).


  1. I worked at Disney World waiting tables and we served food covered in dishes. Each time I served a child I would usually joke “we’re all out of (whatever s/he ordered) so I brought you a plate of broccoli.” And most every time each child would go “NU-UH YOU DID NOT” and I would go “I’m kidding!” and pull off the cover of the hamburger or whatever the child ordered. But once… a kid cried when I told him I brought him broccoli. And I felt real bad about it. The parents laughed even. But I felt rotten. I’m on your side, cupcake.
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  2. I am with you. I thought it was funny last year and this year I can’t bear to watch it. Ugh. Also isn’t it annoying how many caveats you have to write about not judging?
    outlawmama recently posted..Feel Better About Your Mothering– Watch Say Yes To The DressMy Profile

  3. I have come to your side on this issue. When I saw it last year, I thought it was hilarious. However, this year my husband and I ended up taking trick-or-treating away from our kids as a punishment for some bad behavior a few days before Halloween. I won’t lie…it was rough on everyone. And my kids were truly devastated that they were missing out. So the fact that these parents are pranking the kids this way…well, I have a new outlook on it. My kids lost their candy for a reason…and it sucked to watch their agony over it, even though I’m still convinced we made the right call. These kids are going through the same real sadness for a joke. So if someone wants to call you uptight about it, at least you know you have one other person in the club with you 🙂
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  4. WHAT?! I am shocked that you don’t like these videos!

    I tried it out on my kid this year and loved her reaction. She didn’t get upset but handled it very well by telling me, “That was not nice mommy”. It was wonderful to see my 3 year old reprimand me for my behavior.

    Kid’s are not as emotionally fragile as we think. A little prank builds character, no? 🙂

    Plus, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are all lies that we tell our kids for years. We program our children to believe in these fairy tale characters and don’t think twice about the effects it has once they figure out it’s a scam.

    I’m not going to lie, I’m a fan of pulling pranks on the little people. 🙂

  5. Can’t stand ’em. The kids are too little to get the joke.
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  6. you are not the only one! If kids were doing this to each other, we’d call them out for bullying, but that’s somehow ok when it’s mom & dad?
    That being said, I have been guilty of the following conversation: “mom, where’s my hallowe’en candy?”
    “Candy? Oh, I ate that while you were at school.”
    “What? MOM!”
    “No, just kidding. I only at the stuff you don’t like. YOU’RE WELCOME.”

    I also joked with my daughter on the morning of her ninth birthday that I’d forgotten to buy her a present. She was genuinely upset, and I felt like a total jerk. My husband thought it was funny though.

    I’m always caught between feeling bad for the kids getting pranked in those videos, and thinking, “Seriously, you little shit? You freak out like that because your candy is gone? You don’t deserve candy anyway.” But that’s only when I’m feeling grumpy (probably from a sugar crash)

  7. Being “in” on the joke is fun, being out on the joke is hurtful. Small children don’t have the cognitive ability to understand “jokes,” even small ones let alone something devastating like Halloween candy, so they aren’t “in” on it. They’re just confused. Or hurt. Or worse. There are too many opportunities for this world to hurt, I don’t want to be the source of that – for anyone – child or adult. Worse, kids get their rightful anger and indignation scoffed at because, hey, it was only a “joke.”

  8. I totally agree. I’ve always hated those prank videos. Still love your writing, Meredith.
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  9. Bogus all around. I imagine homes like that have their ways just like we have ours. And you know what goes around comes around. If they mishandle trust now then it will be mishandled again but not in their favor later. It’s just the law of nature. Posting this crap online because some jerk on late night TV thinks it’s awesome though is exploitive. And that’s where I put on my robe and get my gavel out.

    We got rid of TV 3 yrs ago. Hardest thing I’ve done. But I love not seeing this shite anymore. I’d be judging everyone all the time and that’s just too exhausting for a perfect princess like me. :{

  10. While I think you probably are too tightly wound about this, I don’t care for it either. There’s nothing wrong with “tricking” your kids and incorporating it into the Halloween theme somehow so it’s less awful, but my beef is with how bratty some of the kids are.

    Hey, if I want to eat your candy, I will. It’s my house and my candy! I couldn’t watch past the first couple of pouters without getting aggravated. I guess I’m too tightly wound as well. Lol.
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  11. Hey there, thanks for the add on your favorite losers list 🙂 Anyway, thanks for writing this post. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I too thought this vid was moderately funny the first year (before I had a kid) and now cannot handle it for the same reasons, parents not thinking about kids feelings and kids who are obviously addicted to sugar. I’m still a kid addicted to sugar and would flip my shit if I came home from work and my husband reported he ate all my chocolate. I don’t think a YouTube of that would be as popular, though. Which says something. Unless I REALLY flipped my shit. Hmmmmmmmmm…
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  12. Man, I got all upset when I found out my husband drank all the fancy beer. But I’m a grownup, I know when things aren’t as bad as war & famine, and I have Old Person perspective–and the ability to buy more fancy beer.

    Kids 1) don’t have perspective to know that life can be much, much worse than losing all your candy, and 2) don’t have the means & wherewithal to obtain more candy.

    I’m with you. I love small practical jokes (“ha ha ha! I just switched all the nameplates on the cubicles at work!”) but making children cry isn’t funny. (They made me put the nameplates back a few days later because the mailroom workers were getting too confused. There were only 40 of us in the office, yeesh…)

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