If you've read here long enough, you know my extended family thinks I am Captain of the Food Police. Quick refresher for any of you new to IW: I feed Isabella and the babies mostly organic food, sweets and treats are not an everyday thing but instead a once-and-awhile thing in my house, and healthy nutrition is a big deal to me. I am more concerned (those related to me would say obsessed) with what my kids eat than most people I know, but I am also completely unapologetic about it. I don't judge the way other people feed their kids, and I expect the same respect from them (of course, I receive nothing of the sort from my own family, but I digress).

So, it was interesting to read this article, which Sasha recently posted to FB. Sasha mentioned in an email to me that most of the people in her city (she lives in Boston) don't let their kids go trick-or-treating, and if they do, they abscond all but five pieces of their candy. I must admit that I laughed when I read her email, because honestly, I think I ought to live in Boston, because Bostonians sound like my kind of people.

Now, of course I am letting Isabella go trick-or-treating. I did last year (the first year she was old enough to really grasp the concept) and she had a blast. I would never deny her that experience. But I will also readily admit to giving away 95% of her candy to the hubs and his students. I let her have one piece of candy a day for a week or so, and then that was it. She didn't ask for it, and frankly, at barely two-years-old, she didn't even miss it when it was gone. I realize this may be an unpopular opinion, but I don't see any reason for a two-year-old to have more than one or two pieces of candy a day.

I realize I am not going to be able to get away with quite the same degree of subterfuge as I did last year. At three, she is very aware of the things I buy when I go food shopping, and our new house has many more kitchen cabinets than did our old house, so she knows where food is located now too. I know she will ask for her candy, and I know she will not always like my answer. But I plan on handling her Halloween booty the same way this year. She can have a piece a day for a week or so, and then the rest is being given away. If only people gave away cakes and muffins instead of candy. I don't like chocolate, so a bag of Halloween candy is virtually no temptation at all for me.

The Babble article offers a lot of great suggestions for dealing with Halloween candy in little-to-no-candy households, including talking about Halloween more in terms of costumes, parties, and pumpkins than in terms of candy, limiting trick-or-treating time, and educating your kids about why candy is not good for their bodies. Since Isabella is obsessed with her dentist, I plan on telling her that Dr. Kelly says that candy isn't healthy for her teeth.

Am I the Grinch of Halloween? Maybe. My family certainly thinks so. But I also want all three of my kids to grow up with healthy eating habits, something I did not, mainly because of my childhood illness and overall picky ways.

I'm curious. What is the Halloween candy policy in your house?

12 Responses to “Candyland”

  1. # Blogger Andrew

    Oh jeez relax.  

  2. # Blogger My Wombinations

    It is funny b/c in my neck of the woods, what you are mentioning is almost liberal. I have friends who will not let their kids have sugar. At all. Period. I look like the lenient one b/c I ascribe more to your philosophy. I certainly do not let my kids go hog wild, but I also let them enjoy treats. The thing is, I grew up in such a healthy home that having treats and cookies and candy in the house was so unusual that it really would be only on Halloween. That is basically the way I do it with my kids. Dessert is very unusual in my house. We have cake/cupcakes on birthdays and candy on halloween. Not a ton, but enough to make them smile. Beyond that, it is kind of just unspoken that it is not around. Besides, Mama has got to stay thin:)  

  3. # Blogger Sunny

    I totally agree with you -- a toddler/preschooler does not need to gorge on candy. Sadly, my son is just now discovering his sweet tooth. He's still young that we'll probably only go to a couple of houses anyway. But I do think teaching children moderation in all things -- candy, TV, video games -- is important. We had always treats and such available in our house growing up, but we were taught to eat them responsibly.

    (Okay, so now don't go read my recent post, because I'm totally going to disprove everything I just said about my own eating habits.) :)  

  4. # Blogger Debbie

    Last year was the first time our oldest went trick-or-treating, at the age of 3. He only went to maybe a dozen houses. That night he was allowed two pieces, and from then on 1 piece a night, only if he asked (I never offered), and only at least an hour before bedtime. After a couple weeks he kind of forgot about it. I made sure to keep it up high in the pantry, in an opaque container.  

  5. # Blogger Veronica

    You are not the candy police.

    My sister is raising a macro-baby (hey, in Boston!) and he's never really tasted sugar in his life.

    And he's 2 and half.

    You're doing fine by teaching them healthy habits. I wish I had learned those myself when I was a child. Since I didn't, I'm struggling to learn that as an adult and it's hard.

    Good job! I applaud your stance!  

  6. # Blogger Shannon

    Lore has a horrible sweet tooth... but she knows there are sweets in the house for daddy... she gets a piece maybe. twice a month... but we also still have candy from 2 years ago from halloween and easter lol... last year i gave out glow in the dark stickers and pencils... the kids love them...  

  7. # Anonymous home staging Toronto

    Hi. I absolutely agree with your policy. I think that the early age is time when we build up eating habits and when there are lots of candies we usually get used to eat all of them. That is why parents should be aware of what their children eat. Another problem in our family is grandma, she has always some cakes and sweets and try to feed with them everybody. This is a real problem when you want to be polite to her.

    Best regards,

  8. # Blogger Sugar and Ice

    I don't really have a Halloween candy policy. This will be LG's third time trick or treating. The first year she was only 18 months old or so, so she didn't get any candy, and she didn't really know any better since she'd never had candy. Last year, she was two and a half, and she definitely knew what it was. She probably had 2 or 3 pieces Halloween night. After that, I may have given her a piece here and there (remember, the twins were one month old at that time, so maybe I bribed her with it a few times), but I'm pretty sure I ate 95% of it. Keep in mind though that she didn't really get much candy to begin with. We hit a lot of houses, but the neighborhood we trick or treat in seems a little stingy with their candy.  

  9. # Anonymous Amy

    Ever heard of the Sugarplum Fairy? She comes on Halloween night. Kids pick some of their favorite candy to keep for themselves after trick-or-treating and then put the rest right by the front door. The Sugarplum Fairy comes at night, takes the candy, and leaves a present in return.

    Seriously. Saves kids' teeth and your sanity when trying to limit the treats. And the best part? They give the candy up WILLINGLY.

    My kids are too old for the Sugarplum Fairy to come anymore, but the same concept applies--now they just get to trade their candy for a present from me.  

  10. # Blogger Kristi

    Amy-I think I love you. You just solved my candy problem. Thanks!  

  11. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I buy candy. From my children. I let them pick their 7 favs and put those in a bowl. Then I purchase the rest for a nickel/candy. They then get to save some money for a rainy day. It works beautifully and we get a lesson in counting and money!  

  12. # Anonymous Amy

    Haha...just read your response. :)

    Another mom told me about the this when my 10 year-old was four. I've told every single parent I can ever since, it's so awesome. Anyway, glad you didn't have to resort to the sneaky tactics but hope it works for you in the future!  

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