It’s that time of year again. The weather is getting a bit cooler, the leaves are starting to fall, and Halloween is just weeks away. For many, this means candy. Lots and lots of candy.
There is a scene from the War of the Roses, during which Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner (the parents) are having an argument about the issue of overindulgence vs. deprivation on the topic of children and sweets. The Mom believes that allowing the children as much candy as they would like will keep them from overindulging, therefore they will end up trim and healthy. The next scene shows us two obese children. You’ve heard it said before, but it’s still a good rule. Moderation is key.
Come Halloween, our kids will be hitting the streets and collecting all kinds of loot. At the end of the Trick or Treating festivities, there are some parents who will allow their kids one piece of candy and confiscate the rest. Other parents may allow their kids to have unlimited access to their goodie bucket. Again – everything in moderation. We usually let the kids have fun counting and sorting (and eliminating the unsafe items), before choosing a few pieces to eat. The candy bucket then goes out of reach. Over the next few nights, we hand out a piece here and a piece there. Out of sight is often out of mind. A couple weeks after Halloween, the candy bucket is not mentioned again.
If you have opted to make better choices this Halloween in terms of what candy you will hand out to kids that knock on your door October 31st, you don’t have to be the parent that hands out dental floss and raisins. Unless you really really want to. Non-candy options that are appreciated by kids (so I’m told) are: stickers, pencils, Halloween themed items, pretzels, fruit chews, and coins (hopefully for Unicef). If you do decide to hand out candy, but want to keep the parental temptation to a minimum, best choices are: dark chocolate, sugar free gum, lollipops, mini candy bars (not full size), and candy that does not include caramel, nuts or nougat. Personally, I wait until the day before Halloween to buy my candy so it’s not sitting around calling my name. I also tend to buy things that are not that tempting to me. There will plenty of chocolate coming my way at the end of the night – I don’t need any extras. Another thing we always do on Halloween is make sure that the kids eat a regular dinner before they head out. Trick or treating on an empty stomach is probably not the best idea.
So parents – let the kids have their fun, keep them safe, and remind them to say “thank you”. Happy Halloween!
If you are interested in finding out more about trick or treating for Unicef, click here: http://youth.unicefusa.org/trickortreat/