Thursday, October 15, 2009

Can the Candy? I think Not.

You'd think that after years of eating candy which resulted in thousands of dollars and endless hours spent in the dentist chair to repair my damaged teeth, I would have kicked the habit. But alas, I have not. Nor would I ever deny a trick-or-treater the joy that comes with a sack full of candy. As far as I'm concerned, folks who hand out healthy alternatives to candy, should be burned at the stake. Ok, that might be a little harsh, let's leave it at egged. People who hand out apples and granola bars on Halloween should be egged.

I was thumbing through a ridiculous women's magazine the other day when I came across an article entitled How to Manage Halloween. Really? When did Halloween get so complicated that we need tips on how best to manage the day?

Here's what I learned....

Avoid stocking up on Halloween candy early. Having candy around the house will only tempt you. Aim to purchase your candy no more than a day or two before Halloween (you may hit some great sales, too!) Having eaten my weight in candy corn over the past two weeks, I can vouch for the temptation thing, but the part about hitting some great sales is a bunch of bunk. If you wait too long to purchase your Halloween loot, you will be left with the candy that nobody wants and you're just asking to be egged.

There is nothing wrong with giving treats that are healthier than traditional candy. Um, yes there is...that statement is completely false. Nobody wants a bag of baked chips, a box of raisins or a bag of microwave popcorn in their plastic pumpkin head. A Clif Bar is a great snack for a random day in April, but come October 31st, kids want chocolate. And I am not talking about dark chocolate miniatures, I'm talking Snickers.

Consider handing out non-food treats.
Consider nothing of the sort. Repeat after me: bubbles, pencils, stickers and Slinkies are not treats. I've heard stories of clever moms who give out toothbrushes instead of tasty treats. I have one word for those moms: killjoy.

Rally your neighbors and as a community make a plan for a healthier Halloween.
God help the neighbor in my 'hood who approaches me with a pre-approved treat list. I'm not in favor of passing out candy to kids every day (I know that's rich coming from me) but one day a year isn't going to kill 'em. Stop raining on their parade and let them have a Kit Kat.

Talk to your kids about the treats that they are most looking forward to and the right amount to consume. Make a pact with them about what you will do with the "left-overs".
I'll tell you right now, I could never be friends with the woman who wrote this article. Ever. But as tips go, this one isn't bad. In fact, I guess it's good for my kids to know up front which candy I'm going to be looting from their stash. As far as left-overs go...I define left-overs as the candy that remains after all the trading is complete. It's the candy that nobody wants (think: Dots, miscellaneous hard candies, wax candy lips and Good & Plenty). The left-overs should be tossed out immediately, as I have been known to cave in a weak moment.

Consider a visit from the Halloween Fairy. Allow your children to pick ten pieces of candy from their haul and place the rest on a table for the Halloween Fairy. When the children awake on November 1st, they find that the Fairy has left a small gift in exchange for the candy. Good luck with that plan. It would have never worked when my kids were young. First of all, my daughter stopped believing in Santa at age 4, so something tells me the idea of a Halloween Fairy who confiscates her candy would never have taken off. Secondly, as the person most likely to play the role of the Halloween Fairy, I can assure you that the candy would be safer with my kids. And last, but not least, why do today's parents feel the need to control every aspect of their children's lives? It's Halloween, for crying out loud, let the kids enjoy the day.

When I was a kid, handing out apples was frowned upon by parents and children alike. Everybody knew the story of the psychopath who hid razor blades in apples and passed them out to unsuspecting children on Halloween. Dozens of children cut their mouths when they bit into the forbidden fruit. Clearly this was an urban legend as most children would not voluntarily choose to bite into healthy apples over delicious candy on Halloween night.

Now go buy some Hershey bars before they disappear from the shelves.


Cheri said...

Having consumed about 12 mini Twixes today, I'm entirely down with your thoughts -- and shared them on Twitter -- but couldn't find you there! Who are you?

Anonymous said...

LOL! tell the old grannies (who pass out Play Dough) that i want candy! Thank you very much

Anonymous said...

You are so funny and spot on. So nice to read a real perspective on this. You start off great with "when did Halloween get so complicated that we need...... to manage the day"

Please get this blog into the hands of all of those uber-controlling, fun-sucking, hyper-competitive wannabes, and let children have a childhood.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm all about letting my kids enjoy the candy. Problem is, I enjoy it way too much and regularly OD on it. Naps in the middle of the day occur. Weight gain ensues. And my kids repeatedly rebuke me: "Mommy, did you eat my last Mounds???" It's really humiliating for my kids to see what a weak human being I am in the face of candy. Halloween just starts an eating binge for me that lasts until New Years. Any advice???