A Healthier Halloween

My kids always look forward to Halloween, dressing up in Halloween costumes are something we start thinking about in August! They look forward to being in costumes, being out with their friends and staying up late on a school night. And yes the candy, I do let them eat some candy. But I have to be honest, the candy was never the driving force behind the excitement, nor is it a problem in our household as it is in so many others.

I like dressing up, but Halloween is not my favourite. The idea that giving toxic items to children irritates me that I almost want to boycott the whole thing, especially when eating it is as harmful as smoking cigarettes regularly.

And I most certainly don’t call candy “treats.” Treats are rewards for something special. There is nothing special about the type of candy promoted for Halloween. These mini boxes of the usual candies are loaded with chemicals, fillers, waxes, every kind of —cides, crazy sugars and plastics—yes, there are plastic substances in these food substances.

With our growing obesity epidemic, the increase in diabetes in children, and the scientific link between junk food and depression, decreased intellect, violent behaviour, dementia and cancer, it is time to take a stand against the traditional Halloween junk food-fest.

The sad fact is that even normally well-behaved children can start acting crazy after consuming all the highly-sugared, chemicalized junk they get. Yet, I’m not a person who believes in letting eating choices turn my home into a war zone. I believe in providing an education in healthful eating while setting a good example. So what to do?

I keep unhealthful foods out of the house, and trust my kids to use their best judgment. Thankfully, we have figured out how to make Halloween a happy time for all of us, without joining the candy craze.

1. Make your family’s favorite dinner on Halloween night. There are great healthy fall menu ideas here. With full stomachs, your kids will be less tempted to eat the junk they receive.

2. When the children come home, if they are adamant about wanting to eat the candy, set a limit on how many candies they are allowed to eat. 2 is a fine number. Let them play with t, sort it, even graph it!. I allow my kids to eat a couple pieces of candy for 2-3 days and then I either discard the rest; have a buy back program or donate it. (Lots of stores and even schools are encouraging kids to donate their Halloween candy.)

3. Try to get your kids to choose not to eat the candy by making another option more tantalizing. For instance, give them money or a toy in exchange for their bag of candy.

4. Some people find it easiest to throw out all the candy after the children go to sleep. Little ones probably won’t even remember it once it’s gone, and getting rid of it eliminates temptation for the adults in the house. However, best to do this together as a family and not secretively so the children actually understand the reason behind your actions. Would you allow your kids to smoke cigarettes that were given out to them? Some socially accepted and popular customs are simply ignorant if not dangerous. Dietary ignorance is the number one cause of death in America and everyone needs to know it.

5. Life is full of compromises—and this day will pass. I believe that with a little advance planning you can ensure that your children will have a fun time. I am certain you will be happier knowing that they will be eating a lot less candy this year.