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Bah, Humbug, Halloween

Next weekend we will don our costumes (Big Girl will be a unicorn and Little Girl will be a dragonfly) and hit the streets for Trick or Treat. And at the end of the night I will be what many people out there might call a mean mommy. Again.

The type of mom who, in past years, went through her child’s bag and deemed about three-quarters of it “crap.” The kind that re-gifted her kid’s stash if we ran out of the “good” stuff I buy. (Is there an official word for giving out the Halloween loot your kids bring home?) The one who goes through the candy with the equivalent of a red pencil (my writer friends should get that analogy), all the while calling out, “This has nuts. This has more artificial dye than should be legally allowed. This one is made in China. Out, out, out.” (My BIGGEST pet peeve is people who spend $1 at Dollar Tree on candy that’s all made in China. That stuff, FWIW, will never get re-treated. It goes right in the garbage where it belongs.)

You can probably picture it in your head. We’re there, all dressed up, and Big Girl’s original stash gets smaller and smaller until all that’s left is pencils, dimes, pretzels, chips, Sour Patch Kids, stickers, Play-Doh, and Twizzlers.

I don’t think I am mean, though. Especially given the fact that, once we prune down the stash, I hand it over without a single rule. Big Girl can eat the entire bag in a single night or keep it in her room for a month. It’s her stuff, and she can do with it as she wishes. (She’s a saver, so I usually toss the last of it after Christmas.) But I digress as always…

From the beginning we discussed why we were doing what we were doing. We talked about what constitutes healthy food, and why artificial colors and preservatives are bad for our bodies. We talk about why certain candy coughmadeinChinacough is so cheap and why we pay $5.99 for a pack of organic candy. And then we’d talk about how the Halloween witch was going to stop by and get rid of all the garbage. You know, the one who comes and swaps out bad Halloween treats for good ones? (My friend Christina over at Spoonfed Blog has a longer explanation in her Halloween post.)

Our Halloween witch came in the middle of the night and, for example, left American Girl Bitty Baby dresses in place of the garbage. We did that two years in a row until I decided it was just plain crazy — and Big Girl was old enough to read the packages. Now, she reads everything herself. She’s got it down: The more ingredients you have, the higher the probability that it’s not real food. The longer and more complicated the words, the farther removed you become from pure, healthy food. Garbage food in the garbage pile. Good stuff in the eat at will pile.

This year is going to be interesting, though. I think we’ve got to go back to idea of the Halloween witch since we’ve got Little Girl to contend with. Resourceful, headstrong, pushy Little Girl. The child who drags Little Tikes chairs around my house so she can grab things off of counters and tabletops. The same one who is also allergic to chocolate. I’m planning on having a bag full of Little Girl-friendly treats waiting for us when we get home: Z Bars, Pirates Booty, stickers, pretzels, Cheddar Bunnies, organic lollipops, raisins. I will hand her that bag and go off and hide the real one until after she goes to sleep. And I’ll ask Big Girl to refrain from looking in her bag until after the little one is in her crib.

I’m sure many people think I am crazy. (Although I personally think it’s crazier to let your kids eat treats that come from China.) But I don’t. This works for our family. My kid gets plenty of candy, plenty of cookies. She’s not deprived. And the little one will, too, this year. It’s just our kind of junk food. Nothing scary about that!

This post is how I am participating this week in Real Food Wednesdays and Fight Back Fridays — two awesome campaigns to get people eating real food again.

3 Responses to “Bah, Humbug, Halloween”

  1. I applaud what you’re doing, but I don’t do the same. I don’ t buy junk food. Only on a rare, rare occasion. I’ll make homemade cakes and cookies and even candies on occasion, but for the most part, we’re a treat free home. I don’t buy organic sweets or whatever. So when my kids are going to grandmas or friends or whatnot, I don’t want to deprive them. If they feel deprived, they’ll likely rebel from what I’m doing and defy me intentionally. When out and about or when getting treats from others, I acquiesce, even if it isn’t something I’d chose to feed my kids.
    Though if it’s something like fake sugar, then I will absolutely draw the line and even pour out the cup of chemicals that someone poured my son to drink. That’s the one battle I feel most strongly about that I’m willing to fight. All others, I let slide. I figure that at least my son will be better off than the vast majority. And hopefully, when he’s older, he’ll decide to stick to just the healthier stuff. They taste better than all that chemical crap anyhow!

  2. Kate says:

    We avoid the issue by dressing up and going to a party, or to our local Whole Foods “Trick or treat” night (they still have lots of stuff wrapped in plastic, but at least it’s real food). We find somewhere fun to wear our costumes. Last year we dressed E. up as r2d2 and went to a jazz club and listened to our favorite trio play and didn’t miss trick or treating at all.
    I feel like it’s not really fair to go and ask everyone else for candy and let her fill up her bag knowing I will not let her eat most of it. But that’s just me. It sounds like you process it pretty well with Big Girl so if that works for you then well done.

  3. susandelg says:

    I too go through the bag o’ loot and toss a good deal of it in the trash. The cheap gum is my pet peeve, but anything else that is questionable will get dumped. I don’t mind the snickers or hershey bars, and I embrace the Baby Ruth. J’s stash from last year still sits in the cabinet. She can have a small treat each night, but sometime this week I will be tossing what is in the cabinet still from last Halloween and making room for the new crap that will enter the house on Sunday.

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