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.

 

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122 thoughts on “Trick Or Treat

  1. Charles

    Sugar (alone) is not the cause of cavities.

    I was a sugar-aholic growing up. I used to eat sugar by the spoonful. Lots of other carbs, too. I was overweight, depressed, ADD, but I never had one cavity until I was in my 20s.

    I’m pretty sure that’s because I drank lots and lots of milk as a kid. A half-gallon a day during some periods. And lots of meat, good meat of all kinds. Eggs, bacon, etc. Plenty of fat and protein.

    When did I start to get cavities? After going on a macrobiotic and then mostly vegetarian diet! I don’t think that was a coincidence…

    Reply
  2. Jared

    Great idea. Our kids got 5 pieces of candy, and they gave the rest away, which they had no problem with. We agreed for the next few days they can have sugar free candy. We just always limit that to just a couple pieces a day too, if you know what I mean when you consume too many sugar alcohols. 🙂

    I know indeed.

    Reply
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. Gilana

    That look on your older daughter’s face (Sara?) is priceless. “I see almond-flour biscuits and roasted leeks in cream in your future.”

    I believe that was Sara’s attempt at a fortune-teller expression.

    Reply
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. Erica

    Yes, Tom, the dentist sealed my kids’ molars as they came in. I don’t know how long it lasts. Insurance paid for it, too, I think. If not, it wasn’t all that expensive. Your kids aren’t going to be eating junk like my kids did, but it can’t hurt. Wish that had been available when I was a kid.

    Oh, and talk about bad examples? Mother had a lot of dental work done when I was a kid. The dentist’s receptionist used to take me to the bakery to get gingerbread men while babysitting me. Later, that was my treat after my own dentist appointment: 3 gingerbread men. Took me years to not want to get them after I grew up. No wonder I had so many cavities!

    We saw an even worse example: there was a neighborhood fair sponsored by a dentist, with free candy for the kids. Talk about drumming up business.

    Reply
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. Charles

    Sugar (alone) is not the cause of cavities.

    I was a sugar-aholic growing up. I used to eat sugar by the spoonful. Lots of other carbs, too. I was overweight, depressed, ADD, but I never had one cavity until I was in my 20s.

    I’m pretty sure that’s because I drank lots and lots of milk as a kid. A half-gallon a day during some periods. And lots of meat, good meat of all kinds. Eggs, bacon, etc. Plenty of fat and protein.

    When did I start to get cavities? After going on a macrobiotic and then mostly vegetarian diet! I don’t think that was a coincidence…

    Reply
  13. Jared

    Great idea. Our kids got 5 pieces of candy, and they gave the rest away, which they had no problem with. We agreed for the next few days they can have sugar free candy. We just always limit that to just a couple pieces a day too, if you know what I mean when you consume too many sugar alcohols. 🙂

    I know indeed.

    Reply
  14. marilynb

    By the time I was an adult, nearly every tooth in my mouth had a filling in it. Thanks, Mom & Dad…

    Reply
  15. Gilana

    That look on your older daughter’s face (Sara?) is priceless. “I see almond-flour biscuits and roasted leeks in cream in your future.”

    I believe that was Sara’s attempt at a fortune-teller expression.

    Reply
  16. Erica

    Yes, Tom, the dentist sealed my kids’ molars as they came in. I don’t know how long it lasts. Insurance paid for it, too, I think. If not, it wasn’t all that expensive. Your kids aren’t going to be eating junk like my kids did, but it can’t hurt. Wish that had been available when I was a kid.

    Oh, and talk about bad examples? Mother had a lot of dental work done when I was a kid. The dentist’s receptionist used to take me to the bakery to get gingerbread men while babysitting me. Later, that was my treat after my own dentist appointment: 3 gingerbread men. Took me years to not want to get them after I grew up. No wonder I had so many cavities!

    We saw an even worse example: there was a neighborhood fair sponsored by a dentist, with free candy for the kids. Talk about drumming up business.

    Reply
  17. damaged justice

    I set up a grill in the driveway with cast iron pan and a perimeter to prevent overly inquisitive little fingers from getting burned, with one lovely assistant to hand out strips wrapped in paper towel. Honestly I was more concerned about poison paranoia and such than being lynched by a lipophobic parent, so I made sure to frequently nibble in full view of onlookers. Maybe it’s just being in the Midwest, but I didn’t have a single instance of veg’n outrage; the kids were wide-eyed and oohing in fascination as if entranced by a fireworks display, and more than one adult expressed envy at their offspring’s good fortune. Went through two pounds of thick cut from the good local butcher in just under two hours, and if word gets out in the neighborhood I might need to double that for next year…

    Never would’ve suspected the kids would like bacon strips for treats on Halloween. That’s good news.

    Reply
  18. Jim T.

    You are very wise with the system you set up for your children and their Halloween candy.

    I love candy, and ate a candy bar every day for years and years. Now I have decided to treat it like champagne: something for a very few special occasions a year (Easter, my birthday, Halloween, and Christmas), and never to swinish excess.

    John Mortimer said (correctly I think), “There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward.” But there are some that are worth forgoing 99% of the time for an extra ten years (or more) outside the geriatric ward.

    I big believer in letting your hair down for special occasions — as long as you keep a fairly strict definition of “special.”

    Reply
  19. damaged justice

    I set up a grill in the driveway with cast iron pan and a perimeter to prevent overly inquisitive little fingers from getting burned, with one lovely assistant to hand out strips wrapped in paper towel. Honestly I was more concerned about poison paranoia and such than being lynched by a lipophobic parent, so I made sure to frequently nibble in full view of onlookers. Maybe it’s just being in the Midwest, but I didn’t have a single instance of veg’n outrage; the kids were wide-eyed and oohing in fascination as if entranced by a fireworks display, and more than one adult expressed envy at their offspring’s good fortune. Went through two pounds of thick cut from the good local butcher in just under two hours, and if word gets out in the neighborhood I might need to double that for next year…

    Never would’ve suspected the kids would like bacon strips for treats on Halloween. That’s good news.

    Reply
  20. Jim T.

    You are very wise with the system you set up for your children and their Halloween candy.

    I love candy, and ate a candy bar every day for years and years. Now I have decided to treat it like champagne: something for a very few special occasions a year (Easter, my birthday, Halloween, and Christmas), and never to swinish excess.

    John Mortimer said (correctly I think), “There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward.” But there are some that are worth forgoing 99% of the time for an extra ten years (or more) outside the geriatric ward.

    I big believer in letting your hair down for special occasions — as long as you keep a fairly strict definition of “special.”

    Reply
  21. Ed Terry

    As a kid, I could never make my candy last two days. It was always gone in one.

    You must’ve passed out afterwards.

    Reply
  22. Mitch

    going sugar free?? Does that mean they eat that Toxic substance called Sucralose & Aspartame?? I would rather eat natural sugars (cane or stevia) rather than putting something toxic into my body.

    Google Aspartame poisoning… Sucralose might be made from sugar, but when you refine sugar even farther, it might be a type of sugar, but in no way is it good for you any more than eating rat killer is healthy..

    No, it doesn’t mean they consume aspartame. It means they don’t eat sugar.

    Reply
  23. Carole M.

    Michael’s Craft Store sells tubes with 15 glow stick bracelets for $1.00. For the past few years I have bought a bunch of these and I give out one bracelet per child. Many kids seem happy to get them, and a few mothers also praised the no-sugar aspect. I’m pretty sure this is at least as cheap as the cheapest candy(under .7 per piece).

    Good idea.

    Reply
  24. eddie watts

    the fortune teller expression is a really effective one!
    as an aside i had a query about visceral fat stored around organs.
    a fitness instructor and powerlifter i listen to for advise posted up your clip from fathead about saturated fats not increasing cholesterol and causing heart disease, but he does advocate a low saturated fat intake due to it being stored around organs as visceral fat.

    i believe this is probably just another strand of CW getting tied to sat fat, what seems to cause visceral fat do you know?
    eddie

    The fat stored around your organs is largely saturated, but that doesn’t mean saturated fat is the cause. You want to create a fatty liver, you feed the victim sugar — or in the case of animals, force-feed them corn.

    Reply
  25. Ed Terry

    As a kid, I could never make my candy last two days. It was always gone in one.

    You must’ve passed out afterwards.

    Reply
  26. Nickie

    @Charles, it’s funny that you should mention milk.

    When I was in 5th grade I did my science fair project on teeth, and tried to determine which liquid would rot the tooth fastest: milk, water, grape soda, or juice. Sad to say, it wasn’t the best experiment–I forgot about controls, and soaking teeth for weeks doesn’t really reproduce the effect of simply drinking the liquids. My dentist gave me several wisdom teeth that he had pulled, and I soaked the teeth for several weeks in the liquids. Except for the water, all of the liquids had done serious damage to the teeth. I seem to remember milk being the worst of all, but that may be because it smelled the worst.

    As a sidenote, when I was a kid, if we were good at our appointment with the dentist, they used to give out vouchers for free McDonalds hamburgers.

    Reply
  27. Mitch

    going sugar free?? Does that mean they eat that Toxic substance called Sucralose & Aspartame?? I would rather eat natural sugars (cane or stevia) rather than putting something toxic into my body.

    Google Aspartame poisoning… Sucralose might be made from sugar, but when you refine sugar even farther, it might be a type of sugar, but in no way is it good for you any more than eating rat killer is healthy..

    No, it doesn’t mean they consume aspartame. It means they don’t eat sugar.

    Reply
  28. Becky

    They definitely shoud go as artery-clogging saturated fat. That would scare quite a few houses handing out AHA-approved Cocoa Puffs.

    Love it.

    Reply
  29. Joyfulbaby

    My first husband used to work at the plant that made Slim Jims. One year he brought home a box of the two inch long Slim Jims and we gave them out at Halloween. The kids LOVED it.

    Reply
  30. Gal @ 60 in 3

    My wife and I are now talking about having kids. I worry because it seems like there are so many places in which my future children can make mistakes which I can’t control. What if they go to a friend’s house and eat junk? What if they go to school and are given pizza for lunch?

    I realize I’m over stressing about this and I’m guessing prospective parents have stressed over these things for as long as human history, but how do you handle it? How do teach your kids to make the right choices (about food specifically but about everything else too) when you’re not around?

    No need to stress over it. A little junk now and then isn’t going to hurt them. It’s the constant dietary insults to our bodies that cause the damage, not the special-occasion indulgences. We teach the girls what various foods do to them, we serve nutritious meals at home, pack them a lunch for school.

    Reply
  31. Nowhereman

    “We saw an even worse example: there was a neighborhood fair sponsored by a dentist, with free candy for the kids. Talk about drumming up business.”

    Sheesh, now that’s a Broken Window practitioner, if ever I saw one.

    Reply
  32. Carole M.

    Michael’s Craft Store sells tubes with 15 glow stick bracelets for $1.00. For the past few years I have bought a bunch of these and I give out one bracelet per child. Many kids seem happy to get them, and a few mothers also praised the no-sugar aspect. I’m pretty sure this is at least as cheap as the cheapest candy(under .7 per piece).

    Good idea.

    Reply
  33. eddie watts

    the fortune teller expression is a really effective one!
    as an aside i had a query about visceral fat stored around organs.
    a fitness instructor and powerlifter i listen to for advise posted up your clip from fathead about saturated fats not increasing cholesterol and causing heart disease, but he does advocate a low saturated fat intake due to it being stored around organs as visceral fat.

    i believe this is probably just another strand of CW getting tied to sat fat, what seems to cause visceral fat do you know?
    eddie

    The fat stored around your organs is largely saturated, but that doesn’t mean saturated fat is the cause. You want to create a fatty liver, you feed the victim sugar — or in the case of animals, force-feed them corn.

    Reply
  34. lisa h.

    Candy Fairy: Comes on the second night after Halloween and takes the candy, leaving a couple of bucks in return (about which my 6-year-old said “OH! I can BUY more candy!”). We love the Candy Fairy, and my daughters think they are in heaven on Halloween and the following day, stuffing their ever-loving faces after each (low-carb, of course) meal. And then they just get excited about a fairy allegedly being in the house and, since they’ve already high-graded their favorite candy, don’t really miss the rest of it.

    That’s a great idea.

    Reply
  35. Nickie

    @Charles, it’s funny that you should mention milk.

    When I was in 5th grade I did my science fair project on teeth, and tried to determine which liquid would rot the tooth fastest: milk, water, grape soda, or juice. Sad to say, it wasn’t the best experiment–I forgot about controls, and soaking teeth for weeks doesn’t really reproduce the effect of simply drinking the liquids. My dentist gave me several wisdom teeth that he had pulled, and I soaked the teeth for several weeks in the liquids. Except for the water, all of the liquids had done serious damage to the teeth. I seem to remember milk being the worst of all, but that may be because it smelled the worst.

    As a sidenote, when I was a kid, if we were good at our appointment with the dentist, they used to give out vouchers for free McDonalds hamburgers.

    Reply
  36. Becky

    They definitely shoud go as artery-clogging saturated fat. That would scare quite a few houses handing out AHA-approved Cocoa Puffs.

    Love it.

    Reply
  37. Joyfulbaby

    My first husband used to work at the plant that made Slim Jims. One year he brought home a box of the two inch long Slim Jims and we gave them out at Halloween. The kids LOVED it.

    Reply
  38. Gal @ 60 in 3

    My wife and I are now talking about having kids. I worry because it seems like there are so many places in which my future children can make mistakes which I can’t control. What if they go to a friend’s house and eat junk? What if they go to school and are given pizza for lunch?

    I realize I’m over stressing about this and I’m guessing prospective parents have stressed over these things for as long as human history, but how do you handle it? How do teach your kids to make the right choices (about food specifically but about everything else too) when you’re not around?

    No need to stress over it. A little junk now and then isn’t going to hurt them. It’s the constant dietary insults to our bodies that cause the damage, not the special-occasion indulgences. We teach the girls what various foods do to them, we serve nutritious meals at home, pack them a lunch for school.

    Reply
  39. Nowhereman

    “We saw an even worse example: there was a neighborhood fair sponsored by a dentist, with free candy for the kids. Talk about drumming up business.”

    Sheesh, now that’s a Broken Window practitioner, if ever I saw one.

    Reply
  40. Peggy Holloway

    I had 3 cavities when I was 10; none since
    I have 3 step-grandkids who are the only children who come to our house on Hallowe’en. We live in a townhome association where everyone is single or over 55! We enjoy seeing those 3 cute little guys in their costumes, but don’t want to contribute to the candy fest, especially since, unfortunately, their mother doesn’t get the carb thing and feeds them what she thinks is a healthy, low-fat diet. So, I bought some Hallowe’en pencils, individually wrapped 88% dark chocolate squares, and snack packs of “organic” cheddar cheese fish crackers (not perfect, but better than any of the alternatives). They put our treats in their treat bags and think nothing of the fact that they are not conventional treats. I always buy some extra dark chocolate so if we do get some random visits from other kids, I will be giving them something that won’t make me feel guilty. (And there are usually a few left for me!)

    Sounds like a good plan.

    Reply
  41. lisa h.

    Candy Fairy: Comes on the second night after Halloween and takes the candy, leaving a couple of bucks in return (about which my 6-year-old said “OH! I can BUY more candy!”). We love the Candy Fairy, and my daughters think they are in heaven on Halloween and the following day, stuffing their ever-loving faces after each (low-carb, of course) meal. And then they just get excited about a fairy allegedly being in the house and, since they’ve already high-graded their favorite candy, don’t really miss the rest of it.

    That’s a great idea.

    Reply
  42. kat

    you can donate it to ww.halloweencandybuyback.com or just let them eat only 3 pieces a day ( only the samll fun-size candy though) until it is gone but dont thorw out the whole thing that they worked for. thats just mean

    Eating three pieces per day for the next couple of weeks is exactly what I don’t want them to do. Their two-day window ended tonight. They knew it was coming, and they were fine with it.

    Reply
  43. Peggy Holloway

    I had 3 cavities when I was 10; none since
    I have 3 step-grandkids who are the only children who come to our house on Hallowe’en. We live in a townhome association where everyone is single or over 55! We enjoy seeing those 3 cute little guys in their costumes, but don’t want to contribute to the candy fest, especially since, unfortunately, their mother doesn’t get the carb thing and feeds them what she thinks is a healthy, low-fat diet. So, I bought some Hallowe’en pencils, individually wrapped 88% dark chocolate squares, and snack packs of “organic” cheddar cheese fish crackers (not perfect, but better than any of the alternatives). They put our treats in their treat bags and think nothing of the fact that they are not conventional treats. I always buy some extra dark chocolate so if we do get some random visits from other kids, I will be giving them something that won’t make me feel guilty. (And there are usually a few left for me!)

    Sounds like a good plan.

    Reply

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