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Monday, November 2, 2009

What happened to Halloween?

When I was a kid on Halloween we went trick-or-treating and we had candy for days. If we planned things right it would last us until Thanksgiving when we could gorge on pie and cake for a few days. Then Christmas rolled around quickly with lots of candy canes, chocolate covered cherries, cookies, pies and popcorn balls.

I mean, Halloween is supposed to mark the beginning of a holiday season and the candy is supposed to last. Right?

This weekend was Annika's first real Halloween. I mean, last year I dressed her up and took her around to some houses mostly so I could get the candy. She wasn't on solid foods yet.

But this year we got dressed up and she ran around with other kids for candy. We let her dig into it during the trick-or-treating and then brought it home with us so she could enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

But apparently this is not the standard any more. I guess now people just let their kids eat it on Halloween and that's that. No more until next Halloween.

It just seems kind of sad to me.

Don't get me wrong. I totally understand the logic behind this. You think your kids will just remember holidays where they get to binge as fun and wonderful because they get to eat all that candy for one day.

But they don't forget that they didn't get all of their candy. And I don't think most kids remember it the way their parents are hoping they will. They just remember the candy and wish they had more. And when they get more, they will eat as much of it as they can, even if they don't really want it. Because they have been denied. And because they are being controlled.

It seems so obvious to me that this attitude toward candy is just another driving force behind binging on the holidays and then denying ourselves the rest of the year. And does this really work?

Maybe it is only obvious to me because I have been reading and thinking so much about unfooding lately. You can read those posts here and here.

I also think it is sad because I have recently realized just how much control was exercised over me as a child and it continues to haunt me and define my behavior.

I know that I don't want to do this to Annika.

Some parents will probably say I am a horrible mother for allowing my child eat all of her Halloween stash.

I'm sure that plenty of mothers would be mortified to know that when Annika asked for candy this morning after breakfast I gave it to her.

But here's the thing. After trick-or-treating the other night, she only ate a couple of pieces of candy. Then we went home and went to bed. She ate a few more pieces the next day. And a few more pieces the next day.

She'll probably eat a few more pieces tomorrow. But will she have eaten any more than kids who get to binge on Halloween? Probably not much more. And it will have been spread out over several days.

So to me, that seems better. It seems more logical. And it seems much nicer to her.


  1. I call this "overparenting". I think parents are way too involved in the stuff that doesn't matter. So while little Jimmy will only get 5 pieces of candy that mom selects, he also is allowed to all the carrots he can eat and throws fits in the grocery store that we have to listen to because he wants a Hershey bar and he doesn't behave in a restaurant because mom and dad can't be bothered with THAT stuff, they are too worried about the crap that doesn't matter. I'm overweight. I have been for my whole life, but it's not the Halloween candy's fault. Ya know, kids are kids. This is what we do...

    The first night, they can eat as much as they want. I warn them to think about it and make sure they don't eat so much that they get a tummy ache, but it's their ultimate decision. Usually they eat 10 pieces or so. After that, it's "dessert" or a "treat" so they'll have 1 or 2 pieces a day for the next week or two... and then they pick at it. Heck, sometimes we still have it left at Christmas. *laugh*

    Am I doing it wrong? Ask me if I care.

  2. I think I am traumatized - taking away the candy! *wince*


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