Halloween is upon us, and as a parent who prefers that her children eat healthy and unprocessed food as much as possible, I am always looking for ways to make it through the most sugared up holiday of the year.
Warning…this post didn’t start off as a rant but kind of turned into one…sorry in advance 🙂
Don’t get me wrong, I allow my children to have goodies from time to time, but not the junk from the supermarket. We bake our own homemade cookies and brownies using organic and high quality ingredients, or we have a square or two of high quality, organic dark chocolate (72% cacao or higher). I know, I sound like such a mean mommy don’t I? But my kids don’t seem to mind at all, and I feel they are learning to appreciate quality foods.
I know I can’t control what they eat all the time, especially on holidays. My kids have classroom parties where they get all hopped up on sugar and artificial sweeteners, colors, and other additives, and then they get sent home all wound up and bouncing off the walls. Then they crash from the drop in blood sugar and become whiny and cranky. Maybe this is why many of the classrooms send home treat bags: you know, give the kids their sugar fix once they crash so that Mommy can get through the rest of the day without blowing a gasket.
I grew up in a household with occasional homemade sweets and never even ate a Twinkie until I was at a friend’s house and was offered one by her mom. I took one bite and was completely nauseated. I had no idea why so many kids loved these. That’s before I knew how unhealthy they are and that they could probably survive a nuclear attack.
Even in those days I never understood why so much candy was given at school Halloween parties and then sent home…especially since we all went trick-or-treating later on and came home at night with pillow cases stuffed with crap (sorry, but that’s what it was) that we didn’t even like.
|I’d better start a trick-or-treater fund now…|
You had to love those little old ladies who gave us pennies so they wouldn’t contribute to the madness. I bet I will be one of those little old ladies someday except that I will have to give out tens or twenties by then to account for inflation.
Anyway, this year I am not contributing to the madness at all. My kids have already been told what kinds of candy they can and can’t eat by me as well as their dentist. I allow chocolates but nothing sticky or gummy. The pediatric dentists told me and my kids that sticky, gummy candy, snacks, and even vitamins are the worst possible things for a child’s teeth. Luckily, my kids love the dentist and listen to them so if they bring home gummy candy or snacks all I have to do is remind them that Dr. Angel and Dr. Cate said no way. Believe it or not, it works.
So I am only contributing non-candy items to the school parties/treat bags this year: pencils, plastic spider rings, Halloween-themed notepads, etc. that is easy to find at a party store or even a dollar store. My older daughter is allowed to share some organic chocolates with her friends when they come to visit but that is it.
You may be wondering if I will let my kids go trick-or-treating, and the answer is of course I will. Really, I am not a mean mommy. The kids will be allowed to choose a few chocolates to have over the next week and they will have the option to either sell us the candy for piggy bank money or to donate it to the troops (which I will do anyway with the candy that they sell back). Not that the troops need sugar and artificial ingredients, but they are out there serving our country…if they want to eat candy I am certainly not going to tell them they can’t!
I have complained about the amount of candy allowed in my kids’ schools before and have been met with eye rolls and “whatever”s. Yup, I’m THAT mom. But you know what? I don’t care. I should not ever have to defend my choice to prioritize health for myself or my children. I allow little treats here and there, but when I see the massive quantities of junk that come home on Halloween (and Valentine’s Day, Easter, even Christmas…which I was not even aware was a “candy holiday”), I get annoyed. Even though my kids go in with the best of intentions, it is very hard for them to say no to what they know they cannot have when they see their friends with blue tongues and sticky fingers. If parents want to give their kids that junk at home that’s their business, but I really wish more schools would give guidelines requiring better class party snack and treat bag options. And I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this.