Creative ways to prevent post-Halloween over-indulgence

Guest post by SaraBeth

Photo by ninahale, used under Creative Commons license.
A little while ago I found out about significant trickery surrounding my childhood Halloweens. Each and every year my mother would feed us a good, hot stick to your bones meal (think beef stew or chili) to make sure we’d have a solid meal before our journey into Candy Land. We would go off, get a crap load of candy, eat a ton of candy on Halloween night and then surrender our goods to the giant bowls of candy that would sit in the centre of our family dining room table. As we ran lower on candy, bowls would shrink until we were out of treats.

What I didn’t know, until very recently, was that my mother was secretly, gradually throwing a significant portion of our candy into the garbage to make sure that we weren’t indulging too much for too long. Generally all Halloween goods were gone well before Christmas season. As a trusting and obedient child I never suspected a thing. When we got older my mother began to throw out candy in front of my brother insisting that it had “gone bad.”

This isn’t an issue that we have to deal with this year, as my children will be visiting a total of five houses (two sets of grandparents and three neighbours mainly to show off their costumes), but it’s something to consider for the future. When I complained to my partner Chris about my mother’s confection deception he shrugged and told me that growing up he ate a lot of candy that he didn’t even like after Halloween simply because it was there.

So what can you do to limit the amount of candy you (I know how much candy I eat on Halloween night when I give out treats and can only imagine the candicopia headed our way) and your child consume following Halloween? Here are some solutions I found/worked out which will lead to a healthier November for kids and parents beyond my own mother’s tough love method to healthy eating.

The Halloween Witch

The Halloween Witch is a household tradition for Baby Gourmet found Jennifer Carlson and her children Eamon and Findlay. Trick-or-treating is an experience that children love and Jen knew it would be very difficult (and disappointing for the kids!) to convince them not to participate – yet she was concerned about them eating big bags of candy. Eamon and Findlay have fun picking out their 10-15 favourite treats to keep and then they leave the rest of their candy next to the fireplace. The Halloween Witch visits their home each year and takes away the candy in exchange for a new present. Jen’s children enjoy the whole of experience of Halloween without the lingering damage to their nutritional plan.

The Cons:

  • You’re lying to your kid.
  • You need to go out and purchase replacement treats and create yet another hallmark holiday.

The Switch Witch

This is an online version I found that is a bit different then the one above. The Switch Witch is coined as an eco-fairy who comes on November 1st and takes away the most-offensive candy and replaces them with healthier surprises.

The Cons:

  • You’re still lying to your kid.
  • You need to go out and purchase replacement treats.

Candy Creations

Encourage your children to play with their food by letting them do experiments to turn their candy into science projects, art work or jewellery.

The Cons:

  • Some candy will get consumed in the making of the crafts.
  • It encourages wasting and playing with food.
  • Your kids could burn down your house creating a candy experiment or try to eat a varnish covered candy off of their bracelet.

Sharing is Caring

Why not encourage your kids to select some treats for mom and dad to bring into work and share with coworkers, give a goodie bag to the bus driver, postal worker, hair dresser, barber and the grandparents. Check and see if your local food bank will accept donations of wrapped candies.

The Cons

  • You have to negotiate with a child caught midst a CANDY CANDY CANDY state of mind with no pay off but kindness. Think negotiating with Cookie Monster at the Christie factory outlet.

I’m open for other suggestions and comments and will probably entertain a combination of a few of the above methods. At least I have another few years to prepare for Candygeddon.

Comments on Creative ways to prevent post-Halloween over-indulgence

  1. You know, maybe I only remember from when I was older (8 and up at least), but I rationed out my candy like it was gold. Usually there were still a few pieces in my bag when I went to grab it for next year. As I remember, my mother just didn’t buy candy. So what you got on Halloween, plus your Christmas stocking, was it for the year. You want a Reese’s in March? Better hope you saved one. I still eat my “special treats” this way. My goal with girl scout cookies every year is to have them last until the next cookie season.

  2. My parents would pick a few things out from the trick or treating haul, but would always ask. I never felt the need to decline though since they were my parents. And then my parents would also be given the stuff we didn’t want, especially whoppers. My dad likes whoppers….I despise the things so all the whoppers went straight to my dad and it was all good for me. We were then left with all the candy we hauled individually. We sometimes traded candy. For me it was hoarding candy and making it last as long as possible. I never felt like I ever over did it on candy as I loved being able to still find some when it was near Easter time.

    I also don’t see how 1 night of binging is going to give everyone diabetes. I learned moderation from having my own candy in my room. I also was competitive as anything so I also liked bragging that I made my candy last longer than my siblings.

  3. It’s interesting, my cousins on my mother’s side are MUCH younger than me, and they came over to our house for Halloween this year (we do a halloween dinner every year at our house). The did a little trick-or-treating around our neighborhood, and when they came back it was so interesting, instead of hoarding their own pails of candy (like I did when I was little) they consolidated it all into one big pail to share! Without being asked! And then, when we ran out of candy for the trick-or-treaters outside, they gave up handfuls of their own candy, again without being asked. They just really wanted to share! Now, this was their first time ever trick-or-treating (they’re 6, 5 and 3 years old), so maybe the candy hoarding and high sugar consumption for Halloween is something that kids learn to do the more they do it, and if that’s the case, maybe if we teach our kids to share on Halloween, that kind of attitude will spread? I don’t know. But it was really heartening to see them want to share their candy with others, without being asked to, just because they wanted to.

    • This reminds me of my friend’s daughter (2y) trunk-or-treating at her daycare – she would give people candy in exchange for putting candy in her bag! Her favorite part was just putting stuff in the bag.

  4. My parents did a similar thing to the trading away, but no lies. There was a bakery near my house that sold absolutely giant and delicious pieces of cake that I LOVED, and my parents would offer me a trade: most of my Halloween haul for one piece of Honey Bear cake. (I usually got to keep about ten or so of my favorite candies, plus whatever I ate that night). The day after Halloween they’d toss all the rest and then take me to the bakery for a piece of cake– which was about the size of my head and lasted me about three or four days, honestly. I still ate a bunch of sugar, but it was local organic cake sugar, which made everybody a little happier. 🙂 (& was SO MUCH more delicious, omg.)

    I like the idea of bartering it away for a release from chores, too– I think that would have worked well on me.

  5. This really isn’t a major issue for us… we pretty much have some sort of candy around all the time, so it’s not this huge “thing” I guess. My daughter doesn’t care to binge eat the candy, so we allow her as much as she wants. BUT, we do make sure she eats a nice filling meal before trick-or-treating. The candy that’s around after Halloween night gets picked at by her, me and sometimes hubby… but she doesn’t go at it all day – usually she’ll ask for a piece or two after lunch and maybe after dinner. We do take away things we feel aren’t appropriate for her age like jawbreakers and warheads, plus anything she just doesn’t like – she’s cool with that. Our son is too young for candy right now, but hopefully he’ll go with the flow, too 😉

  6. One of my co-workers brings her kids into work to reverse trick or treat. They wear their costumes and go around giving everyone a piece of candy. They love sharing, and since it happens every year they’re used to it. The kids are pretty young now, but I imagine they’ll enjoy reverse trick or treating for quite a few more years. Plus I love seeing them come in with their cute costumes.

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