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Dressing up and scaring people is great fun, isn't it? But for most kids, nothing beats collecting and eating lots of candy. A bit of candy here and there doesn't do much harm, but the enormous quantities of sugar-filled, cavity-filling snacks your average child accumulates during Halloween will last far beyond the holiday itself! How can you keep Halloween healthy this year?
Trick Or Treat — Damage Control
Have you, as a parent, decided that you can't stop your child from going out trick or treating (with your supervision or that of another responsible adult, needless to say)? Your child(ren) will definitely come back home with an obscene amount of candy. Now, what can you do to limit the damage?
First off, make sure you check the candy stash your child received. Sometimes, candy will be wet and sticky or otherwise unusable. Home-made items or commercially produced products that have been opened are both potential hazards. Get rid of these, and keep in mind some stories about razor blades or drugs being hidden in Halloween candy are going around.
After that, there are many ways in which you can deal with the candy. Some moms and dads take a relaxed approach, knowing that the supply of candy will run out soon enough. If your kid eats bags and bags of candy, she'll probably have an upset stomach. Then, the candy will be gone. Your child may be a little hyperactive for a few days, and then the whole holiday will be forgotten for another year.
Other parents prefer to limit candy consumption to one or two a day, which makes the Halloween spirit last longer and means your child won't overdose on candy. This is a great approach for families who buy candy — it will save you money for a while, probably just about the same amount of money you spent on Halloween treats for other kids.
Offering to trade the candy your child got in for a toy or pocket money (that can't be used to buy candy) is yet another idea. This idea is based on the idea that the child has some ownership over the candy since it was given to him, but beware — if you offer this possibility to your child, he may just say he prefers the candy.
Finally, doing Halloween crafting during the lead-up to the holiday can be great fun for the whole family. We get inspiration from the internet, and use sites like Flickr and Pinterest (we're not that creative!). Crafting together is also a wonderful opportunity to discuss Halloween and the sugary snacks that usually accompany the day with your children.
Discuss why candy tastes great, but can be damaging to our health in many ways. Share your own philosophy. In our house, this is that unhealthy things like candy (for kids) and beer (for adults) can be enjoyed in moderation. We talk about self-control, as well as more serious issues like obesity and dental decay. Your approach may be different, but making sure your children know what to expect before they get their hands on bags full of candy will make a huge difference.