Trick Or Treat

      122 Comments on Trick Or Treat

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.

 

Share

122 thoughts on “Trick Or Treat

  1. Kimji

    Awesome parenting…a fine line to walk with kids…modeling right living…protecting them from all the dangers of the big world….and still helping them learn to live in the world they live in…love it!

    It’s a compromise, but I don’t want to be the dad who didn’t let them enjoy Halloween.

    Reply
  2. Stacie

    We went trick-or-treating Friday night. (One of my pet peeves since moving to PA 24 years ago-Halloween has never been on Halloween, always the Friday night before. It was much better in New York, when trick-or-treat was actually on Halloween.) Anyway, my daughter had our friend’s two little girls with her and the woman said something to the effect of, “Children should be eating healthy things, like raisins, as she handed them candy. Umm, aren’t raisins loaded with sugar??

    Raisins are almost candy, as far as I’m concerned.

    Reply
  3. Underground

    “too much bacon” ??

    That’s just crazy talk now. Maybe next year one of them can go as a strip of bacon. And the other as eggs.

    I like it. As rambunctious as Sara is, she’d turn them into scrambled eggs.

    Reply
  4. Underground

    On another note, I’m amused by some of the ads that pop up on the ad rotator on this site. I just saw one for Buca di Beppo, which is synonymous with huge, overpriced bowls of pasta.

    Google places some strange ads in their spots.

    Reply
  5. Mark.

    Free rein. As far as I know, it’s not “reign,” although that would make some sense, or at least not be total nonsense. Pet peeve of mine that you are free to ignore.

    I just don’t like seeing people I respect getting things, even stock phrases, wrong. Great post otherwise.

    Should’ve caught that one myself. Fixed now.

    Reply
  6. Lori

    I give away loose change to trick-or-treaters. No, I don’t tell them to go buy a piece of fruit.

    My dental health has greatly improved on a low-carb diet.

    I had a few adult cavities even years after giving up sugar. Must’ve been the white flour.

    Reply
  7. Erica

    The limit on sugar does help with preventing cavities, Tom, but so does getting their teeth sealed at the dentist. My kids are carb addicts and have never had a cavity. They’re 20 and 22 years old now. May that continue for the rest of their lives!

    It’s not necessarily genetics, either. I had my 1st cavity at age 6 and have a mouthful now. My parents’ dental health was abysmal. Their dad has a few fillings, as well.

    I’ve heard about sealing, but haven’t really looked into it.

    Reply
  8. John

    It really is too bad you can’t hand out bacon on Halloween. I’d totally hit up that house.

    That two day rule is brilliant. I would have loved it as a kid, and I probably would have made myself sick too. Good memories and a good lesson as well.

    As it turned out, I had no trick-or-treaters. I’m kind of surprised, since there are lots of kids in the complex. I guess they didn’t want to walk up to the third floor.

    Reply
  9. Kimji

    Awesome parenting…a fine line to walk with kids…modeling right living…protecting them from all the dangers of the big world….and still helping them learn to live in the world they live in…love it!

    It’s a compromise, but I don’t want to be the dad who didn’t let them enjoy Halloween.

    Reply
  10. Stacie

    We went trick-or-treating Friday night. (One of my pet peeves since moving to PA 24 years ago-Halloween has never been on Halloween, always the Friday night before. It was much better in New York, when trick-or-treat was actually on Halloween.) Anyway, my daughter had our friend’s two little girls with her and the woman said something to the effect of, “Children should be eating healthy things, like raisins, as she handed them candy. Umm, aren’t raisins loaded with sugar??

    Raisins are almost candy, as far as I’m concerned.

    Reply
  11. Underground

    “too much bacon” ??

    That’s just crazy talk now. Maybe next year one of them can go as a strip of bacon. And the other as eggs.

    I like it. As rambunctious as Sara is, she’d turn them into scrambled eggs.

    Reply
  12. Underground

    On another note, I’m amused by some of the ads that pop up on the ad rotator on this site. I just saw one for Buca di Beppo, which is synonymous with huge, overpriced bowls of pasta.

    Google places some strange ads in their spots.

    Reply
  13. Mark.

    Free rein. As far as I know, it’s not “reign,” although that would make some sense, or at least not be total nonsense. Pet peeve of mine that you are free to ignore.

    I just don’t like seeing people I respect getting things, even stock phrases, wrong. Great post otherwise.

    Should’ve caught that one myself. Fixed now.

    Reply
  14. Lori

    I give away loose change to trick-or-treaters. No, I don’t tell them to go buy a piece of fruit.

    My dental health has greatly improved on a low-carb diet.

    I had a few adult cavities even years after giving up sugar. Must’ve been the white flour.

    Reply
  15. Erica

    The limit on sugar does help with preventing cavities, Tom, but so does getting their teeth sealed at the dentist. My kids are carb addicts and have never had a cavity. They’re 20 and 22 years old now. May that continue for the rest of their lives!

    It’s not necessarily genetics, either. I had my 1st cavity at age 6 and have a mouthful now. My parents’ dental health was abysmal. Their dad has a few fillings, as well.

    I’ve heard about sealing, but haven’t really looked into it.

    Reply
  16. John

    It really is too bad you can’t hand out bacon on Halloween. I’d totally hit up that house.

    That two day rule is brilliant. I would have loved it as a kid, and I probably would have made myself sick too. Good memories and a good lesson as well.

    As it turned out, I had no trick-or-treaters. I’m kind of surprised, since there are lots of kids in the complex. I guess they didn’t want to walk up to the third floor.

    Reply
  17. Galina L

    I also believe the Sonic toothbrush is a good investment toward dental health, especially for children. After we gave our son one, the dental hygienist said he noticed the difference. We didn’t buy it from doc’s office ( it was e-buy ) and I am not affiliated with the Sonicare company. Of course, the diet matters the most.

    They have electric-twirly toothbrushes, but I’m not sure the brand.

    Reply
  18. RJ

    I love the car fund idea. My father did that but used grades as incentive. Unfortunately I was the smart kid who aced tests, but never did homework- a large part of the grade. I hope they make it!

    We’re going with an idea we picked up from Dave Ramsey: whatever they save by age 16, I’ll double it for a car purchase. I hope that motivates them to keep saving instead of frittering away the money on junk.

    Reply
  19. Beowulf

    Good idea with the two-day rule. They get to enjoy Halloween without weeks of candy indulgence. And actually, eating a lot of candy in a small timeframe is less-bad for your teeth than eating the same amount over a longer timeframe. The continual bathing of the mouth in starch/sugar causes more cavities than a single high-dose instance.

    And those two are darn cute!

    That’s what we figure: you can only do so much damage in two days.

    Reply
  20. Dan

    I applaud your approach. Once in a while isn’t going to hurt. It’s the overall dietary pattern that matters. Sounds like your strategy was self-correcting, which is more effective.

    Bacon might be too messy to hand out on Halloween. How about boiled eggs? (Careful, you migh have the American Heart Association on your case.) 🙂

    I’m pretty sure if I handed out eggs on Halloween, my house would get egged.

    Reply
  21. Tessa Childs

    I had discussed getting sweets for trick or treaters with my colleagues, but none of them wanted me to bring in the left-overs to work today. I ended trying to explain to 4 6year olds that we were a low carb house and had to give them a few pennies instead. Saved me a fortune and no carbs to be tempted with either! Their little pots were loaded with sweets.

    The group of 14 year olds took a little more notice, but I don’t suppose it sunk in.

    Reply
  22. Tammy

    Well – I actually bought small packs of chips to give out instead of candy, but decided to just have the light off and not hand anything out – I know I’m a party pooper, but I just don’t want to contribute more to the problem.

    Reply
  23. Firebird

    My nephew is not a big candy eater. He especially does not like chocolate. There are a few things he might eat, like Skittles, but ever the capitalist, whatever he collects that he doesn’t like he resells to other kids to, in his words, “make a couple of bucks.”

    Sounds like a future Warren Buffett.

    Reply
  24. Monica

    Don’t plan on having kids for a while, but I feel like I just equipped myself with some solid parenting ideas. This was a neat post. Thanks!

    Reply
  25. Galina L

    I also believe the Sonic toothbrush is a good investment toward dental health, especially for children. After we gave our son one, the dental hygienist said he noticed the difference. We didn’t buy it from doc’s office ( it was e-buy ) and I am not affiliated with the Sonicare company. Of course, the diet matters the most.

    They have electric-twirly toothbrushes, but I’m not sure the brand.

    Reply
  26. Bullinachinashop

    My policy is that even though the kids go out to all stretches of the neighborhood and fill their sacks, but we limit the consumption and in a few weeks throw the rest out. The point is for them to dress-up and go out with their friends, not grocery shopping for crap.

    Exactly. The fun is in the dressing up.

    Reply
  27. damaged justice

    “It really is too bad you can’t hand out bacon on Halloween.”

    After wanting to for five years, I did, and will do so again next year.

    How did the little tykes react?

    Reply
  28. Nickie

    We do much the same thing. In fact, I had to give my oldest son some children’s maalox last night because his poor tummy hurt from too much candy. I hate the fact that I eat the candy too, though. Even though I usually am a low-carber, I am not good at resisting Reeces peanut butter cups. And Nerds. I am sending all the candy with my hubby to work tomorrow. Then the temptation will be gone!

    I looked at the bowl of Snickers and other candies we had sitting by the door last night and was pleased to find I wasn’t at all tempted.

    Reply
  29. RJ

    I love the car fund idea. My father did that but used grades as incentive. Unfortunately I was the smart kid who aced tests, but never did homework- a large part of the grade. I hope they make it!

    We’re going with an idea we picked up from Dave Ramsey: whatever they save by age 16, I’ll double it for a car purchase. I hope that motivates them to keep saving instead of frittering away the money on junk.

    Reply
  30. Beowulf

    Good idea with the two-day rule. They get to enjoy Halloween without weeks of candy indulgence. And actually, eating a lot of candy in a small timeframe is less-bad for your teeth than eating the same amount over a longer timeframe. The continual bathing of the mouth in starch/sugar causes more cavities than a single high-dose instance.

    And those two are darn cute!

    That’s what we figure: you can only do so much damage in two days.

    Reply
  31. Katy

    The military dentist advised us to seal my son’s teeth (back in 1985) because his molars had really deep crevices. He’s 34 now, and has never had a cavity.

    Sounds like we may want to look into that, although I’d probably wait until the girls have their adult teeth.

    Reply
  32. Dan

    I applaud your approach. Once in a while isn’t going to hurt. It’s the overall dietary pattern that matters. Sounds like your strategy was self-correcting, which is more effective.

    Bacon might be too messy to hand out on Halloween. How about boiled eggs? (Careful, you migh have the American Heart Association on your case.) 🙂

    I’m pretty sure if I handed out eggs on Halloween, my house would get egged.

    Reply
  33. JuneBug

    Reminds me of the old SNL Coneheads skit when they handed out beer and fried eggs to the kids on Halloween. OK, you wouldn’t want to hand out beer.

    I think you are on the right track. Making candy forbidden only makes kids want it more (because it must be soooo goooood!). Once a year isn’t so bad.

    I think we should institute an adults-only Halloween where people are expected to hand out beer.

    Reply
  34. Tessa Childs

    I had discussed getting sweets for trick or treaters with my colleagues, but none of them wanted me to bring in the left-overs to work today. I ended trying to explain to 4 6year olds that we were a low carb house and had to give them a few pennies instead. Saved me a fortune and no carbs to be tempted with either! Their little pots were loaded with sweets.

    The group of 14 year olds took a little more notice, but I don’t suppose it sunk in.

    Reply
  35. CeeBee

    My son is 13 and although we had talked a bit about his going out to trick-or-treat, discussing costume options, etc., but he decided not to go out. That made me a little sad, actually, because I remember having a lot of fun with him on Halloween when he was little. On the other hand, he was the one in charge of handing out the candy at the door this year, so I ended up having a very relaxing Halloween night for the first time in years.

    We had quite a bit of candy left over. Halloween is BIG in our small town, but I think that it being a Monday night made a difference with the crowd. My son took some of it to eat, but most of it he plans to sell to other kids. He and Firebird’s nephew should go into business together.

    I sense a future empire … something besides the candy biz, I hope.

    Reply
  36. Gladys

    Spectacular win-win parenting solution. Did you come up with that or was it your wife?
    Not wanting to give sugar in any form, we gave out small toys this year. Luckily the stores are now carrying bags of Halloween-themed toys like bouncy balls, mazes, parachute men, etc. A little more expensive but we don’t get many kids down in the holler. It got to be fun – some of the kids get confused looks on their faces when they don’t see candy come out of a candy bowl (Heeeheee) I had to be stopped from dropping plastic skulls in the bags.
    Thank you so much for your blog. It’s helping both of us stick to the locarb life.

    I can’t remember which of us first suggested the two-day limit.

    Reply
  37. Tammy

    Well – I actually bought small packs of chips to give out instead of candy, but decided to just have the light off and not hand anything out – I know I’m a party pooper, but I just don’t want to contribute more to the problem.

    Reply
  38. Firebird

    My nephew is not a big candy eater. He especially does not like chocolate. There are a few things he might eat, like Skittles, but ever the capitalist, whatever he collects that he doesn’t like he resells to other kids to, in his words, “make a couple of bucks.”

    Sounds like a future Warren Buffett.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.