Now that it’s actually October I will finally start talking about Halloween. (Even though the stores have been marketing it for much longer.) I love October. I love the weather. I love the food. And I love celebrating my anniversary (coming up on five years!). But truthfully, I’m not a huge fan of Halloween. I mean, sure, I like dressing up as much as anyone (or more), but I’m not a huge fan of “scary” things. And I’m definitely not a fan of the candy hoarding that goes on.
I mean, don’t get wrong, there’s nothing wrong with having some candy now and then… although I MUCH rather have something warm, baked, and full of good FAT instead. Give me crème brûlée over candy ANY. DAY.
The problem with Halloween is that there is SO much candy in such a small time for such small, growing bodies that need nourishment, not junk. Sure, like most kids, when I was young I loved seeing how much candy I could pile into my pillowcase (PILLOWCASE!?) each year. It was fun. And I ate a ton of the sweet stuff… and I usually felt sick afterward.
Halloween Candy: What to do
This will be the first year that my little girl “gets” Halloween. Last year she dressed up and we went to our local “Trunk or Treat,” but she didn’t care one bit that she wasn’t putting candy in her pumpkin.
But I’ve been mentally preparing myself for the coming years as she becomes more independent, more concerned with “fitting in,” and all that jazz. And I truly don’t believe in a “No Candy Ever!” mentality… especially because that usually backfires as soon as kids get old enough to do things on their own. No, she will eat some candy in her life. But I DO believe that education and creativity can go a long way in helping kids make good decisions in what they put in their body.
So here are 5 ways to help you handle the candy situation… to help you teach your kids about real food, let them have fun, and empower them for future candy-overload holidays.
5 Real Food Approaches to Halloween Candy
1. Teach them about real food
The time to start helping your kids make wise decisions for the holiday season is long before the holiday season begins. I truly believe there is power in educating young minds about real vs. fake food. Time and time again I hear motivating stories (from YOU) about your children refusing stuff that they know their body won’t recognize as food.
Even if you are new to the idea of real food, it’s never too late to start. “Baby steps.” “Progress not perfection.” These are some of the mantras here at Thank Your Body. Don’t be overwhelmed and feel like you have to make every change now. But do start somewhere and DO get your kids on board at the get go. (Not sure where to start? Check out my ebook Processed Free to get you going.)
2. Candy Experiments
Don’t want your kid to be the only one NOT going trick-or-treating? No worries. Let them go, have fun, and indulge in a few of their favorite pieces. And then consider all the fun things you can do with that left-over candy that doesn’t involve eating it. In fact, there’s a whole book devoted to fun experiments that will get your kids excited. They’ll love it, and so will you.
3. Cash for Candy
Another option for remaining candy is to get paid for it. Say what!? Yep. There are dentists who have chosen to “Buy” back Halloween candy from neighborhood kids, then send it to the troops overseas! It’s a great way to brighten the day of an American Hero. Learn more about it here.
4. Celebrate another way
My husband and I have talked about other ways we can celebrate the holiday that doesn’t involve fear, buckets of candy, and the like. We plan on starting a new tradition that celebrates the harvest instead of the witches and demons. A harvest dinner with lots of yummy real food (including real food desserts that would put any candy to shame), games for the kids, and a tradition that will beat out any Halloween party any day.
Of course, you don’t have to completely avoid Halloween… but making a magical tradition will definitely overshadow a night of door-to-door candy begging, right? And if you LOVE Halloween, choose to throw an amazing Halloween party instead of trick-or-treating. This will help you have more control over the food and still have a haunting good time.
5. Start your own real food trunk or treat
Get your neighbors, friends, and/or family to do their own trunk-or-treat and offer your kids real food alternatives to the GMO-laden, artificially colored, HFCS junk that will be handed out at most houses.
Not sure what kind of real food treats would work? Come back next week where I’ll provide you with oodles and oodles of awesome Halloween Real Food treat ideas.
There you go. Five ways to help combat sugar-overload and help your kids eat more real, nourishing real food… even on Halloween.
Tell me: How do you handle Halloween candy at your house? Do you worry about it or just let it go?