My children love Halloween. Not for the dressing up, although each year that decision seems to gain importance, nor for the scary movies or even the haunted houses: my children love Halloween because of the candy. As a nutritionist, and a dad, I repeatedly get asked this time of year if I let my children eat candy on Halloween. And my reply is always the same, “Why wouldn’t I let them eat candy? It’s Halloween!” And other than the great Halloween Candy Blowout of 2011, we haven’t had many problems. Let’s just say my sons learned what happens when you eat too much candy at one time!
I’ve worked with too many parents over the years that treat candy eating as taboo and forbidden all year long, even on All Hallow’s Eve, only to later discover hoards of candy in their children’s sock drawer, a secret stash in their backpack, and squandered allowance buying those cheap, chocolate fund-raiser candy bars (I will get on my soapbox about junk food and school fund raising another time). As a parent, if you establish a candy embargo in your house, you only elevate the significance of it to your child. If mom and dad outlaw candy, it must be really awesome! So awesome that your child must sneak it in the house and hide it! Parents, allow your child to be a kid not only on Halloween, but all year long. A little candy here and there won’t kill them, make them fat, or rot their teeth. This takes away the allure and devalues it in your child’s eyes. While I’m not advocating eating it everyday, simply use it as a tool to teach moderation.
Assuming you and your children don’t go crazy and eat all the candy at once, what to do with all that leftover candy? Here is a novel idea besides just throwing it away, saving it for yourself (your kids know you do this; don’t think they aren’t aware of your candy sneaking too!), or binging on it until Thanksgiving: sell it! Yes, I said sell it. A fantastic idea that started just a few years ago, called Halloween Candy Buyback, involves dentists buying leftover Halloween candy and then donating it to an organization called Operation Gratitude, which in turn sends it in care packages to US troops overseas, of course with a new toothbrush too! Check out this video for more information:[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuLhmdJ7bmk[/youtube]
Some dentists will pay cash for candy, while others give prizes or games. As long as your ghosts and goblins don’t spend any money they gain on more candy, it’s a great way to reduce the post-Halloween candy surplus. For more on this great cause, check out this recent story on NPR:
Safe to say we will be going to the dentist this year after Halloween, but this time for a good reason!
eat right. be fit. live well.