I love Halloween and no matter how old I get I will dress up as some kind of creature come October 31. In my book, one is never too old to enjoy the pleasure of dressing up as your alter ego or favorite make believe character. How many other times of the year can you get away with not being yourself? It’s a blast.
So, I am the first one not to want to take the fun out of Halloween. However, I am having an ethical dilemma about the need to make it a sugar fest. Yes, as a child I went out to as many houses as I could to gather as much candy as possible. But, I also rarely had store bought candy and in today’s world that is just simply not the case with most children.
I’d been teaching mindful eating for a few years when I was struck by the irony of me giving out full size, sugary candy bars to innocent children as they paraded up to my door on Halloween. While I never tell people not to eat candy, I don’t expect children to necessarily have the cognitive and emotional skills to mindfully eat their Halloween booty. I was also struck by the irony the next day of starting to sack up the left-over candy to work to perpetrate the sugary treats on my innocent co-workers. I can’t tell you how many times I’d talked about the toxic food environment caused by doing bringing our worst food to work. And, here I was, thinking about doing just that. (By the way, I threw all of the candy in the trash instead.)
So, I talked this over with a friend of mine and she said that she never gives out candy at Halloween. She gives out other kinds of treats like toys or balloons or bubbles. What a concept! Halloween without the sugar rush. I liked the idea so I began to research it a little bit and found a wonderful article from Clemson that gives you lots of information about making Halloween just a little bit healthier without taking the fun out of it.
The article will help you think outside the box when choosing treats such as giving the small “bite size” candies instead of the full size. It also gives you lots of suggestions for non-food items to give like coins, whistles, crayons, small stuffed animals, stickers, tattoos, jump ropes, and hacky sacks. Read up other ideas including how to prepare your children for going out trick-or-treating and what to do when they come home with a bag full of treats.
Of course, when I floated these ideas past a number of other people, I had a lot of negative reactions—“What’s Halloween without candy?” But, I will remain brave and put out the gentle suggestion that you might discover there are new ways of doing things that might be even more fun for you and the kids. Let me know what you think? Post the alternative Halloween ideas you have below.