As you know, I can rant endlessly about what a toxic, obesogenic environment we live in. Everywhere you go, there is encouragement to eat and to eat crap. This is especially true for kids. I am not exaggerating when I say not a day goes by where my children are not fed garbage food by people outside our home: almost all the school teachers reward with candy (I've finally taken this up with the principal), daycare (snacks are not always that healthy and crafts often involve crap (marshmallows, Froot loops, etc.) which they shovel into their mouths ASAP, samples at Costco, grandparents, birthday parties, Hebrew School, extracurricular activities, it goes on and on. Each person doling it out reasons that its just an occasional treat, but obviously its not when its done regularly and done by practically everyone children come into contact with!
So when every day is bad enough, what do you do about Halloween?
Every year Adam and I have adopted a different rule: as much as you want on the night of, and then the rest is given away; 10 treats over the first week after, no more; 1 piece a day until its gone, etc. But I never really know which is the best strategy.
After all, my preference would be to change Halloween so school supplies, instead of candy is given out. Yes, I know, I will never be well liked by kids!
So this year I am going to follow obesity expert, Yoni Freedhoff's strategy with his own kids, which involves letting his kids have several treats the night of Halloween (though his kids self regulate to 3 treats and mine, will not, so we might have to impose a 3 treat max.), and then 1 treat a day until its gone (with secret goblins paring down the amount each night...).
Its such a hard balance between being too restrictive and too lenient. My parents had no restrictions for us on Halloween, but getting candy like that was a once a year event (we almost never got candy or treats from teachers) and we had the sense to let it last (I distinctly remember chucking the end of my candy months later, when the good stuff was gone and the rest had gone stale). Oh, and one of my favorite treats as a kid was always the tiny bags of salted peanuts! I know that's now verboten due to allergies, but just pointing out that a relatively healthy snack was a winner for me!
By the way, if you are looking for ways to entice your kids to eat healthy snacks this time of year, the Internet is full of cute ideas that uses the Halloween theme to dress up nutritious foods. Here are some to check out.
What strategy do you use to minimize the damage of Halloween for your kids (or yourself!)?
Hope you have a Happy, Healthy Halloween and safe Trick-or-treating tonight!!