This article investigates the interplay between children, sweets, and parents in Japan before and after the Second World War. Focusing on the problems posed by the penny sweet shop and the street sweets it sold to children, it analyzes society's attempts to control and reform the contents of sweets and the practice of snacking. It demonstrates that street sweets served as powerful referents shaping middle-class notions of "proper" confections, how they should be made, with whom they should be shared, and where and when they should be purchased and eaten. It argues that children were formidable consumers who bought less into the nutritional or hygienic value of confections and more into the broader experience of snacking.