Pretty sure the first two words in my title don’t belong together. Warning: I am about to vent. This is not my normal “cupcakes and rainbows self” as my dear friend likes to describe me. I really loathe Halloween. As a matter of fact I may dislike the last week of October as much as the month of January. It is everything I don’t stand for: pretending to be something you are not, creepy things, and candy loaded with dyes, chemicals, and high fructose corn syrup. Let me say Trunk or treat where I spend money on crap to decorate a trunk so my kids can collect candy that goes in the trash will never be on my list of things that don’t suck. I don’t remember Halloween being anything more than a costume and a lap around my grand mom’s block when I was little. Why are we doing all this?
In all honesty, I had THREE costumes this year. Three costumes for a holiday I would prefer not to celebrate. My youngest had two. My husband had two. This is insanity. When they were little I let my oldest pick our costumes, and we all just went with his pick. We were firemen, Eagles football, Mario Brothers, Star Wars. Cute stuff.
Now the youngest has an opinion so it is all over. My youngest insisted I match him, so we had spiderman costumes.
Trunk or Treat was the oldest’s pick, so we were family themed Minecraft.
Then there was a Halloween Party, so my husband and I were skeletons.
All of this centered around creepy stuff and candy.
I do my very best to try to minimize the exposure of candy and creepy things my kids encounter. Mind I am well aware that despite me spending a small fortune at Whole Foods for legitimate candy without chemicals, my oldest can surely be found running around looking like Alvin, Simon, or Theodore with lord knows what in his cheeks. That doesn’t stop me though.
I consistently preach to my kids about the difference between good food and chemicals. They know there are alternatives and they are ok with them nine times out of ten. (I probably cheat more than they do, my husband catches me EVERYTIME.) I don’t condone eating crappy cheap candy that creates havoc on their immune systems because I never want my kids to think it is ok. Our doctor told me at a well visit the busiest weeks at the office are the two weeks following Halloween. It doesn’t take a doctor to figure out why.
Chemicals, dyes, glyphosate, and high fructose corn syrup are poison. It is a crying shame that big business and the government are in bed together flushing America’s health down the toilet. I won’t buy the junk because MY DOLLAR IS MY VOTE. I will spend the extra money for real candy for my kids, not only for health reasons but to support companies doing it right. I send decent food and organic lollipops into school for the masses. I care about my kiddos’ classmates. I think of some of them as my own. The truth of the matter is sugar is sugar, and none is really good. But at least real sugar is the lesser of the two evils. I tell myself this so I can sleep at night.
My kids are unrecognizable when they eat crappy cheap candy, or gross grocery store cake for that matter. My son sounds stuffy for a day after he eats it half of the time too. Kid hangovers suck. They know it too, although they don’t always care. Both my boys were really awesome about staying away from the junk when they are little. The oldest has started to fall off the wagon, but I know eventually he will get back on. He is a kid, I am well aware he isn’t going to eat perfect. No one eats perfectly. I do know he knows the right way to eat. He will eventually return to his roots. Almost everyone does. My mom was way ahead of her time when it came to food. She was preaching about trans fats when I was 15. She always went to health food stores and bought the best quality food she could. I ate ramen noodles in college, mixed with sour cream and peas (man that was good)…BUT THAT was short lived. I was shopping at Whole Foods even when I was broke by my junior year. I returned to my roots. Just like my kids eventually will.
Some of my favorite stories are those of my boys telling grown ups how to eat, or trying to make good choices for themselves when I am not around. They do this a lot, so I know my efforts are not futile. My oldest knows how to read labels. He has told his grandparents they shouldn’t eat something because it has too many ingredients on the box. My youngest knows the green labels at Trader Joe’s means organic and that means no chemicals. He is the first to point out the organic junk food, but at least he knows not to eat the chemicals.
So now that I am done venting, here are my DESPERATE attempts at keeping Halloween a little healthier.
1. Stuff children at dinner with real food before Trick or Treating.
2. Make a healthy dessert or treat, so kids still feel indulged. My kids go nuts for zucchini bread, pumpkin bread, chocolate pudding made from avocados. Any WHOLE, unprocessed food is better than poison.
3. Buy real candy, and offer it in place of the poisonous kind. My kids will ALWAYS take an organic lollipop in place of the Dum Dum. They aren’t dum dums, they are SMARTIES!
4. Allow kids to keep as many pieces of candy as their age, and put the rest out for the Great Pumpkin, or Candy Witch, or Sugar Plum Fairy etc. Leave a GIFT in place of the candy. My kids never even want to keep a few pieces, they put it all out. They think the more candy they give the bigger the presents. We never force them to do this either, they actually want the Great Pumpkin to come! I told them last night, you guys can keep this candy if you want. My older son actually said, “This stuff is poison, if I eat it all I will be sick.” He is already getting it. I heard the Great Pumpkin is still making house calls the night after Halloween too, it isn’t too late.
5. Put the candy in a closet and forget it. MOST kids are intuitive and don’t even care or want the candy after the first day or two. I think 8 out of 10 moms can attest to that.
Please, share with me ways to deal with this hellish holiday of Halloween below. I could use the coping mechanisms. Don’t bother writing wine though, I have that one down pat. The most fun part of Halloween for me every year is the sweet people whom I am surrounded by in our neighborhood, who open their houses up to us all with delicious libations! That is the tradition of Halloween I can get behind!