As I write this, I am not sure what Halloween will look like. Will there be traditional trick or treating, or will families opt for different ways to allow their children to join in on the dress up fun? Regardless of how Halloween unfolds, one thing is certain and that is that there will be copious amounts of sugar up for grabs. My children have outgrown trick or treating and our current home is located too far away for little legs to easily get to, I do however, have a few tips and tricks to share with you that were helpful for our family over the years.
First of all, it might surprise you to know that I fully supported my children heading out and collecting candy. For me, Halloween isn’t really about the candy. I see at it as an opportunity to connect with our neighbours and build community. As I reflect on this past year and a half, I think we could all use a little extra face to face community. When it comes to the candy part, I have tried really hard to not make any food taboo with my children. The more we do this, typically the more appealing it becomes. Children need to learn to exercise self regulation in every area of life, eating sugary foods included.
In an effort to not over collect candy, we only used one bag per child and they had to carry it the whole way. The bag eventually got too heavy, which provided the perfect exit strategy to head home.
On the night of Halloween, the kids were allowed to sort their candy and enjoy a few treats. After that, they could take a treat in their lunch or enjoy one after school. After a few weeks of enjoying their loot, I provided them with a plastic zippered bag to keep their favourites. The rest was shared elsewhere.
I also made it a priority to provide alternatives to candy as we handed out treats. Some of our favourites with the best feedback were glow sticks that the kids could wear as they were trick or treating, play dough, juice boxes or water bottles and fruit leather strips. Other options include fancy pencils, erasers, note pads, crazy straws, stickers, bubbles, balls, trading cards, fancy hair elastics.
Where ever you find yourself, may you find joy in the excitement of a child.