Before we get into what to do with the mounds of candy kids collect on Halloween each year, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves if our kids seem ready to Trick-or-Treat, or if my child is too old to Trick-or Treat? If your child shows reluctance to participate in Halloween, listen to them. You must respect your child’s scary feelings as they are REAL in their experience. Do not expose your kids to what they perceive as ‘real threats’. Just wait until the next year when they are ready and your whole family holiday experience will be all smiles.
As for older kids, make sure you give safety tips, like don’t eat anything you received trick or treating until you get home where your parents can check it out. As a teenager, if you are not willing to ‘dress up’ you are too old to trick-or-treat.
So lets get back to the age old question…What to do with the candy?
My first suggestion is to introduce the “Candy Fairy”, it worked wonders with my kids when they were young and with countless numbers of my clients that I’ve shared this technique with over the last 35 years. Tell your kids that there are kids who don’t get candy on Halloween (which is the truth) & your family believes “it is more blessed to give than to receive”, so we are going to put most of our candy in a bag for the “candy fairy”. Then, the “candy fairy” will take it to the kids who didn’t get to go trick-or-treating. But before they put their candy it the bag, tell them to “take out a few of their favorite pieces, then fill up that candy bag for the fairy to take to other kids”!
My second suggestion is to help your kids make the connection between what they put into their bodies and how that makes them FEEL. Candy is fun, but empty calories and sugar which can change their behavior and not always for the best. So make sure your kids exercise to burn off energy for better behavior and to get rid of those extra calories. If they want to run from house to house, let them go for it and definitely plan on a family walk the next day!
Denise Webster, Dr. Wm. Sears Family Wellness Educator at firstname.lastname@example.org is a great resource for fun ways your family can eat healthy http://www.fuelingbrainsandbodies.com/
Have a healthy, fun Halloween, Dr. Ann