It’s that time of year again. Halloween! I enjoy Halloween as much as the next person, but from a health standpoint this holiday is a nightmare!
Parents often say to me,”It’s just once a year. It won’t hurt them.” While this is true, the candy that children accumulate during Halloween can last months. I know when I was a child I used to come home with pillow cases full of candy. Everything from Snickers to Smarties and everything in between! Months of eating candy is not good for a child.
Today, I am going to give you some helpful hints on how you can control your child’s candy intake at Halloween.
First and foremost, remember that your child likes Halloween because they get to dress up and go from door to door in the neighborhood with their friends. It really isn’t about the candy. Yes, the candy is a bonus and they will enjoy the candy given the chance, but ask them whether they’d rather get candy or dress up and trick or treat? All of them will choose trick or treating over simply getting candy.
Secondly, be in control of the candy. When your child returns from trick or treating they will want to dump out their candy and see what they got. This is totally ok. When they go to put it away ask them to select a couple of pieces that they’d like to keep in an easily accessible spot like the refrigerator. All the other candy goes somewhere that is not easily accessible to them like on top of the refrigerator or a cabinet above the sink. If they have an inordinately large amount of candy, throw small handfuls away from time to time. It’s a little white lie, but it’s better than letting your children eat too much candy. If you feel uncomfortable with this, tell your children the Candy Witch gets half of all kid’s candy at Halloween and ask them to donate it. They usually don’t want to make the “Candy Witch” mad.
If you have children that are older you will have to be a little more upfront. Try the honest approach and that you simply do not want them eating that much sugary candy. Some teens are completely ok with this and won’t fight back. If you suspect that will be a bit of a fight, tell them you need the candy for co-workers at work and ask them if you can have some of it. If you want, bring it to work for others to share or throw it out. Whatever floats your boat!
Thirdly, ration the candy. If they want to have a piece from time to time, don’t be a miser. The quickest way for them to build up excitement for the candy if for you to not allow them to have it. Let them have a piece after dinner at night. Don’t let them snack on it mindlessly. This just leads to belly aches and poor behavior.
Lastly, have fun with it! A little candy here and there isn’t going to kill anyone. Just don’t go overboard with it. If you don’t make a big deal about it they won’t either. If you already live a healthy lifestyle they are unlikely to be difficult with this process anyway. Plus, they will likely lose interest in the candy after a few weeks. Enjoy the trick or treating!