The girls seemed unusually excited to see me when I arrived home from work tonight.  Before I had a chance to get feeling all warm and fuzzy about their enthusiastic greeting, I learned that they’d been waiting anxiously for me to get home so they could go trick-or-treating with their mom.  I’m in the apartment, in charge of handing out little sugar-bombs to any other kids in the complex who show up at our door.

Alana decided weeks ago she was going trick-or-treating as a Cheetah.  Sara planned to go as Medusa, but reconsidered early this evening when she realized she didn’t want to wear snakes on her head.  Her explanation of her costume then changed faster and more often than politician’s answer to “Who was that young woman with you in this picture?”  Over the course of 15 minutes, her official identity went from Witch Who Wears Bright Clothes to Just Some Weird Person to the final choice, Fortune Teller.

To prove my own prowess as a fortune teller, I examined her palm and announced her future:  You are going to collect a bucketful of candy.  But in two days, the bucket will be empty and the candy will be all gone.

That’s how we handle the sugar-fest of Halloween.  We want the girls to enjoy the occasion, but we don’t want them stuffing their little faces with sugar for days on end.  So a couple of years ago, we established a rule:  You have free rein to enjoy the fruits of your trick-or-treating for two days.  After that, the candy goes away.

Yes, this prompts them to make the most of the two days.  On the other hand, even kids hit their physical limit when indulging in sugar.  Last year, Sara tried to down all the remaining candy as the second-day window was closing, made herself sick, and gave up.

“When you eat a bunch of candy and you get sick, what does that tell you about candy?” I asked.

“It tells me that candy isn’t good for me,” she replied.

“Have you ever gotten sick from eating too much bacon?”

“No, Daddy, of course not.”

Yeah, she gets it.

Yesterday was Sugar Addiction Awareness Day. The organizers created some posters to promote a sugar-free Halloween.  Interesting idea, but I don’t think it’s sugar on Halloween that causes kids problems.  It’s sugar year-round (you know, like that low-fat chocolate milk the USDA thinks is fine for schoolkids, while whole milk was ordered off the menu) with sugar-fests like Halloween piled on top.

I read recently that around 50% of kids have at least one cavity by the age of 10.  Sara turns 8 next week and hasn’t had one yet.  Neither has Alana.  Both girls have been informed that if they make it to age 16 without a cavity, Daddy will contribute $1,000 towards their “I want my own car” funds.  (They both have savings accounts with that goal in mind.)

I fully expect to pony up the $1,000.  They eat candy for two days after Halloween, they get to indulge in cake and ice cream when they go to birthday parties, and they can have cookies on Christmas.  But for most days of the year, their diets are sugar-free.

That’s what makes the difference.

 

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61 Responses to “Trick Or Treat”
  1. Amy Dungan says:

    Oh my gosh. They are so cute! I can just see Sara telling fortunes.

    She’s already predicting great things for her future.

  2. Peggy Cihocki says:

    That’s an adorable picture. I especially like the expression on the little one’s face! Your girls are beautiful–even dressed up for Halloween.

    Thank you.

  3. Becky says:

    It’s actually quite brilliant. When I have major cheat days (Thanksgiving, Christmas, occasional fun days), there is a limit to the carbs that I can actually eat. I start the day with a laundry list of junk that I want to consume and usually have about half of it left over at the end of the day because I get so sick from the roller coaster ride my blood sugar takes. You’ve got a good plan there, my friend. Would that possibly have something to do with your functioning brain??

    We figured — correctly, as it turned out — that even given permission to eat all the candy they wanted, they’d only eat so much before their digestive systems protested. They didn’t even complain when the two-day window was over and they had to give up the remaining candy. I think they were over it.

  4. Galina L. says:

    I wonder what girls next Halloween going look like. No more running around apartment buildings.

    We’ll probably take them to a nearby subdivision. I don’t thinking walking along the highway to reach the next farmhouse would be a good idea.

  5. Julia says:

    It’s strange. Our neighborhood hardly had any trick-or-treaters either. The number seems to dwindle every year. I don’t know if its the exercise, dislike of candy (highly doubtful), or all the old men that give out pennies. The two we got actually had their parents driving them down the block, rather than walking with them.

    This is good for your daughters. It’s a nice balance. They won’t be saying “Our dad never let us go trick-or-treating or eat any candy when we were kids!” when they grow up. And they won’t be like me; just had 2 root canals, and lost count of all my cavities. Got my first one at 10. Forget the $1000, I’d just love the gift of healthy teeth :)

    We hope we’re striking the right balance.

  6. Bridget says:

    Wow! Sara looks so much like her mom! I think that’s a good idea doing the two day rule. Kids can get the candy they want without feeling restricted, but then there is a limit that they can understand (especially after getting sick from getting too much candy). I think I’ll apply that rule when I have my own children someday. Thanks for the idea.

    Sara was fortunate to inherit (mostly) her mom’s looks.

  7. Dan says:

    I didn’t take the kids out this year (both ill), but in past years I found the candy they do bring home gets left in a large tin for months on end untouched before being thrown away.. They much prefer some pork scratchings or nuts and so do I.

  8. Bev says:

    Next Hallloween you guys will be far enough into the middle of nowhere to give them the option my daughter chose. Backyard bonfire costume party! They get to dress up and have fun with their friends and you get to feed everybody bacon. And, while I would never suggest a totally candy-free halloween, there are lots of things you can make yourself to avoid the worst of the dyes and preservatives that saturate commercial varieties. Caramel apples and pumpkin pie > skittles.

    Great idea.

  9. Kyle says:

    Are you not embarrassed over the “Kettle Brand Potato Chip” advertisement in the top left corner of your website?

    Being so passionate about healthy eating, one would assume you’d forbid such ads from appearing on your site. Whatever pays though, right?

    We have spots reserved for Google and have no control over what they put there. They do make some strange choices.

  10. Jenna says:

    I did an experiment this year. I put both candy and toys (silly bands, stretchy frogs, spider and bat rings, halloween pencils and erasers, etc) in the trick or treat bowl. The toys were much more popular than the candy! Especially the silly band bracelets. Next year I am planning on throwing some stickers and temporary tattoos in as well. My dentist says she gives away play dough (not sure if it is homemade or store bought). However, I was appalled when I was buying halloween loot and found the section labeled ‘candy alternatives’–they had bags of chips. *Sigh*

    If the kids were grabbing the toys instead of the candy, that’s good news. I may try that next year.

  11. Bradlee C. says:

    Sounds like a great plan. I discussed it with the wife and we were in quick agreement that’s the way we’ll go this year as well. We’ve previously gone with the giant bowl of “forbidden fruit” that usual lingers and eventually mixes with Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter candy…only to be thrown out by May.

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