trick or treat…

Photo by Liz West

Halloween is almost here, and the hot discussion among parents is how to deal with the anticipated candy from Halloween night. Is it better to let their kids pick out a few pieces and make the rest magically disappear, either by buying it from them or having a mythical Halloween goblin? Would it be better to get it over with all at once with a one night sugar rush? What should parents do with their children’s Halloween cache? I’ll leave the irony of that question where it is.

This wasn’t on our minds, as parents, until a couple of years ago. It wasn’t until then that we had kids old enough who really cared if there was candy in the house. However, that year, our oldest was almost six years old and candy had some appeal that it previously hadn’t.

Having embraced the fact that children are actually quite capable of regulating their own food  and our semi-radical unschooling beliefs, I decided to sit back and let my children prove my theory correct. We wouldn’t do anything about our children’s consumption of their own candy.

Day 1 of the candy came and went with sugar-laden laughter. Day 2 followed, and I have to admit that on day 3, I was beginning to waiver – just a bit, but I kept my mouth shut, accepting the offers of candy that they freely shared with us. Day 4 came and the kids each had one piece of candy. They were back to themselves, regulating their own food consumption.

That first year was the only year of true mass candy consumption. Last year came and went with just slightly increased consumption the days following Halloween. I need to remind my daughter that she may want to toss her remaining stash before we head out trick-or-treating this weekend (sometimes she really is like me).

When things are rare or forbidden, it tends to make them more appealing. Even by just saying that candy is bad for you gives an impression that we disapprove if our children make the choice to eat their Halloween candy, while we may be secretly scarfing down Twix’s and Kit-Kats from their stash when they aren’t looking. It would be more accurate that candy isn’t as nutritious for our bodies as other types of foods. The same can be said about other things, such as that wonderful homemade panini I would love to eat but choose not to because it has items that make me feel worse. It’s all a spectrum. Our view of it, and how we convey those beliefs,  greatly affects our reactions to it.

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