Yes, it’s upon us! The holiday I’m most frequently asked about. “Do your kids trick or treat?” “What do you do about school parties and activities?” “What do you tell your kids about candy and why people hand it out?” And on and on.
Yes, our kids trick or treat. And they participate in school related activities, etc. But since they’re used to forgoing processed foods, there’s no fussing or tantrums. And at this stage in our project, 361 days into our Year Without Sugar, the kids understand our reasoning and why we’re skipping the sweet stuff.
In years past, we’ve focused the fun of Halloween on decorating our house and yard, making the kids’ costumes and trick or treating with friends in the dark! We’ve come home and left our collected candy outside for others, or some years I’ve thrown in out. To be honest, the kids haven’t paid much attention to the fact that they don’t eat the candy they collect.
When we get home, our tradition is to make popcorn together (popped in coconut oil with salt, cinnamon & lightly drizzled maple syrup). The kids look forward to it each year.
I don’t think there’s any ‘perfect’ way to celebrate Halloween (does perfection even exist?) but for anyone looking to reduce their intake of sugar this year, I’ve share a few tips below that I’ve found helpful.
A few stats:
- Kids consume up to 7,000 calories on Halloween and the average trick-or-treater intakes about three cups of sugar.
- The average child would need to trick-or-treat for over 100 miles to burn off what they eat during Halloween.
- Lead by example. Instead of handing out candy this year, consider distributing stickers, chalk or animal shaped erasers, fruit or small bags of popcorn. Talk to your kids about why you’re doing so.
- Direct the focus. From a young age, make the excitement of Halloween about costumes, pumpkin carving, decorating and trick or treating after dark! There’s so much to this holiday that’s fun and exciting for little kids – far beyond the sugar high from candy. Play up the fun & creative side of Halloween and let the candy be a side note at most.
- Buy kids a small Halloween collection basket. Especially for little ones, a small container is all they can carry and limits the amount of junk food they’ll bring home.
- Introduce the Halloween Fairy. Quite a few friends employ this trick. Kids leave candy outside their bedroom door and the Halloween fairy leaves behind a small toy.
- As always, be honest with your kids, in age appropriate language. Talk about why a few treats are fine, but too many don’t help our bodies. Make it a positive and informed choice vs. depriving.
- Finally, acknowledge that it’s OK to say no! As parents, we aren’t being ‘mean’ by limiting the quantity of candy consumed. Go with your gut (literally in this case). Choose a healthy and happy kid over a crabby one, crashing from a sugar high and a stomachache.