Halloween is one of those times when everything is upside down. All the stuff parents tell their kids about not talking to strangers, not taking candy from strangers, not scaring other children, and, of course, eating healthily, goes right out the window.
When my kids were littler, I found the whole candy thing totally overwhelming. There was no way I’d let them eat the entire 10 lb bag of goodies they dragged home, but there was also no way I was going to stop them from going out. For one thing, I love dressing up, and wouldn’t miss out on seeing all the hilarious little dragons, Spidermen and zombies at our door. And for another, Halloween was one of my favourite times as a kid. I can’t imagine depriving my children of the fun. (As if I had a choice in the matter—there would be a family coup if I started making such arbitrary pronouncements!)
I’ve heard other parents come up with all sorts of contortions to get the candy away from their kids. The “Halloween fairy” visits a house down the street and replaces most of the loot (they get to keep a few chocolate bars) with a book or a toy. Others sneak it off to work or eat it themselves.
In our house, a sort of routine has developed. The kids come home and dump out their candy to sort through it (by name and variety), gorging themselves along the way. Whoever said “everything in moderation—including moderation” is my guru in this matter. By the end of the night they’re so sick of candy they don’t seem to mind when I ask them to chose a couple of pieces of each sort and donate the rest to their dad’s workplace.
It was harder to convince them when they were really little, but this year our 6-year-old did it without even being asked. He’s still got more candy than any child needs, but it’s manageable(ish). They’ll get a piece here and there over the next few weeks and then (hopefully) forget about it— just in time for the deluge of December treats.
UPDATE: The peace lasted for approximately 1 day. By the end of the day following Halloween the boys were asking why their father took the treats to work with him right away—they might have wanted to make trades or discuss quantities further. The young negotiators played all their cards (tears, recriminations, etc.) but the candy was gone. It may prove more challenging next year…