Halloween: Less Candy, More Fun
We all know candy is not good for our kids. Sugar promotes tooth decay, contributes to obesity and fuels diabetes—-but is Halloween the right time to say no to sweets? How can you minimize the candy without minimizing the fun?
Here are a few ideas that can help make this year’s Halloween candy a little less tempting:
Offer a buy-out. Some parents make giving up candy a little sweeter by offering their children a replacement prize. Before trick-or-treating, you can set a list of prizes and “prices” for each item—10 pieces of candy might buy a small prize, 25 candy bars a bigger one. Or, you could offer cash money, like Wilson Kwong, a dentist in Vancouver, Canada, who offers $1 per pound of candy to kids.[i]
Give it away. You can teach your children generosity by having them pick 10 or 15 favorite pieces to keep, and then donating the rest. A local homeless shelter that houses kids might be a good option. Nancy Churnin of the Dallas Morning News suggests making a care package for soldiers through Operation Gratitude or Operation Shoebox.
Create something new. Julie Negrin, nutritionist and author of “Easy Meals to Cook with Kids,” suggests parents use candy to bake, and then give the treats away.[ii] Or, you could get creative with spray paint and a glue gun and use it to build a toy car—candy bars could be the car body, M&M’s the wheels. Make art projects with the candy.
Store temptation out of sight. If you are going to keep candy, don’t dump the Halloween goods into a bowl on the dining room table and let kids dig in whenever they want. As Brian Wansink’s studies show, people eat more junk when it’s in plain view. So store your kids’ booty safely out of sight—and preferably, also out of reach.
Divvy it up. Remember, as mom (or dad), you have the right to ration the candy however you please. Giving your children one sweet each night after dinner is a great way to stretch out the sugar and avoid overload. Kids can spend all day thinking about which piece of candy they want—as a plus, it teaches them to wait for rewards rather than expect instant gratification.
Kids deserve to enjoy the rituals of childhood. We don’t recommend taking the fun out of this October 31st—just some of the sugar.
October 28, 2011