You can’t blog about kids and food and not address the looming question that comes around every year at this time: what to do about all that candy?
First, I justified (shakily) my own practice of giving out candy on Halloween (and took a reader poll to find out what treats you pass out), and then I talked about my own childhood in which I was given free rein with my Halloween candy, able to keep the stash in my bedroom for weeks on end with no parental oversight. (My own mom chimed in on the comments section of that post to address my questions about this rather shocking practice!)
So what’s new this year?
Well, for all the reasons explained in the first post cited above, I would still be OK with giving out candy as our treat. Not thrilled, mind you, but OK with it. But a week or so ago I was driving with both kids in the back seat and I thought, what the heck – let’s give it a try and see what happens. Here’s a fairly accurate paraphrasing of our conversation:
Me: So, um . . . what would you think if this year we gave out something different on Halloweeen?
Extremely wary nine-year-old son, narrowed eyes visible in my rear view mirror: Like what?
Me: I don’t know . . . what if we had something better than candy, like toys or something like that?
Preteen daughter: You mean, like those fake fingers we got last year? Those were pretty cool. But still, how can you not give out candy? That’s so weird.
Me, sensing an opening: Yeah, like those fingers! And we could get other stuff, like tattoos and yo-yos. I mean, everyone’s going to give away candy . Maybe we’d be the house everyone wants to go to for something different.
Savvy preteen daughter: Oh my god, Mom. Is this about obesity?
Ha! That’s what I get for taking the indirect approach. At any rate, we talked the whole thing through and for whatever reason – maybe just the sheer novelty of it – my kids are totally on board with giving out something other than candy this year. (I’m shocked at this result, by the way.) So here’s what you’ll get to choose from if you stop by the TLT house next Monday:
I can only imagine the conditions in the Chinese factories that produced these cheap trinkets and I pray there’s no lead or melamine involved. But a blogger can only tackle so many social issues at once and this year, at least, my family won’t be adding to your child’s Halloween sugar and chemical glut.
When it comes to the consuming side of things, though, I felt quite reflective after re-reading the post about my own childhood. I’ve often argued here on TLT that treats in 2011 can’t be viewed as they were in back in the 70s (or earlier) when our entire food environment was markedly different. And there’s even some scientific evidence that kids don’t self-regulate as well as they used to when it comes to overeating. But, at the same time, I’ve seen with my own children that putting too tight a lock on sweets can easily backfire, leading kids to hoard, hide and binge when they get the chance.
So this year I’m going to play the whole thing by ear, erring as much as I can on the side of giving my children more freedom, and therefore more responsibility, when it comes to managing their own Halloween loot.
I’ll let you know how that pans out.
What are your thoughts on all this?
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