But turning a blind eye, making the excuse that “It is only once a year…”…and being apathetic towards the high fructose festivities is so much easier than dealing with the guilt of setting a better example to our kids…of denying them their absolute birthright to participate in this most favorite annual event. What kind of mean Mommy would not let their kids enjoy Halloween?
It is such a tough call. Not only do I not want my kids to get punch drunk on all that sugar…but I want to take care of myself too. Having that “crack” in the house is enough to send me right over the edge! It would be like having an “All Alcoholics Eve” and handing out those cute little mini bottles of Baily's or Peppermint Schnapps to recovering alcoholics…What harm could it do? It is only once a year? It is just a little treat? Look how cute the little bottles are? LOL!
Don’t get me wrong…I love Halloween. It is fun to get creative with costumes and play act. There are so many ways to celebrate Halloween that do not promote sugar comas, rotting teeth, diabetes, and weight gain. I love the idea of parties and dances. I just hate the idea of my kids (and ME) consuming 20 pounds of sugar in 7 days. The only ones who win are the candy manufacturers and department stores; and I will let you in on a little secret…they could care less if their products will eventually make us fat and sick. To be honest, the more I learn about processed junk food and the adverse effects, the more I dig my heels in.
In my quest for a better way…I found a “happy” solution a few years ago; (when I was in the very early stages of managing my addiction to food). I sat down with my kids to ask them what their favorite part of Halloween was. They loved the dressing up; the time with their friends, the celebration and fun; …and of course the candy. So my next question was this, “If there was little or no candy on Halloween, would it still be fun?” And to my surprise, their answer was “Yes”.
So that year; and each year since, the kids have enjoyed the celebration and fun of the evening and when they got home, they did what all kids do…dump their stash on the kitchen table to sort through. We agreed that they could each choose 20 pieces of their absolute favorite candy and then the rest would just “disappear”. (Sent off to Daddy’s work…). The first year their resistance was strong, and compromise was required…so it was bumped up to 25 pieces, and they got to keep all the pencils, erasers, tattoos and non-edible trinkets (but threw away the McDonald's "french fries" advertisements...I mean...vouchers...)
I, of course, had to deal with the guilt of being the meanest mommy on the planet; they had to deal with the disappointment…but it was OK. The sky didn’t fall and the planet didn’t flip on its axis. The funny thing was that once the candy was shipped off and out of sight…it was not really an issue anymore. Out of sight, out of mind.
The following year it was the KIDS who reminded ME that they were allowed 25 pieces of candy… and so began a new culture in our home. So the lesson for me was this; It is OK to do things differently than they have always been done; guilt is sometimes just an excuse to avoid dealing with the hard stuff; change is never easy…but sometimes it is; and finally, children will almost always follow our example and adopt the culture we create for them. They are more adaptable than we are which makes it easier to introduce a culture of health and wellness while they are most open to it.
Happy Halloween! Eat an apple...there is no poison in it if it comes from your own fridge.