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The Halloween Dilemma: Will no one think of the children?

Posted Oct 06 2011 11:51pm

To see more strange children’s Halloween costumes, check out this HuffPo slideshow. If you go, let me know what you think of this one . I almost threw up. 

Leaves are falling, apples are everywhere, it’s a balmy 86 degrees here – all signs point to fall! (Ok, except the last one. We are having some freaky weather up here but I am definitely not complaining.) And fall means the return of the Halloween Grinch! Yay! As you may recall from my whining in years past, I really don’t like Halloween. It’s gross and I don’t do well with gross. I know that for tons of you Halloween is your favorite holiday and I’m totally cool with you liking it but please do not try to convert me to your brain-eating ways. I do not need a horror movie to make me pee my pants; after 5 children I do that just fine all on my own.

But as I explained in my post for Redbook , there is one part of Halloween I do love: teeny little children dressed in costumes going door-to-door holding out plastic pumpkins in their dimpled fists. I adore trick-or-treaters. I only have two trick-or-treat rules: they can’t be old enough to grow real stubble for their hobo costumes and, also, they have to have a costume. As long as the children meet those two criteria, I will pour sugared confections into their buckets all night long while cooing mom-isms like, “Aren’t you the prettiest little princess ever?”

Last year, as you may recall, I had a crisis of conscience. With the obesity crisis growing (or at least the reporting of it growing) and a child culture already inundated with treat-giving occasions, is it truly in the little Tinkerbells’ and pirates’ best interests to hand out Pixi Stix which, if you think about it, are simply straight sugar packed into a tube so you don’t have to even bother chewing it? (And I’ll be honest, I don’t want bags of Halloween candy sitting around my house singing their siren call of sugar come 4 0′clock every afternoon.)

What are the options? If you’ve been in a grocery store lately, you will note that alongside the 5,000 different bags of candy lining the shelves, there are a few non-food items, like really expensive stuffed animals, marginally expensive Play-Doh tubs, and cheap pencil erasers. But what child wants a pencil eraser for Halloween? They don’t even erase! They just crumble!

So last Halloween, I went online to one of those cheap party sites and ordered dozens of plastic rings, glow-in-the-dark bouncy balls, and glittery tattoos. I threw one bag of sugar-free bubblegum in the bowl for variety’s sake. When the trick-or-treaters came knocking Halloween night, it was unmitigated disaster. The bubblegum was gone in 10 minutes, and I had to endure children whining, “No candy left?” for the rest of the evening. Eventually, I just locked the front door and left the bowl on the front porch. Come morning, it was still three-fourths full. All of which leaves me stymied as to what to do this year.

The commenters on my Redbook post made an interesting point that I hadn’t thought of before. Basically they asked why I felt like it was my responsibility to take care of other people’s kids. Shouldn’t their parents be policing their sugar intake? If they didn’t want their kids coming home with a 5-lb bag of sweet, sweet loot then wouldn’t they keep their little pirates home? Well, huh. I guess I do kind of feel responsible for other people’s kids. But is that a problem? Shouldn’t we all be looking out for the little guys? Does nixing the candy inherently mean I’m telling other adults that I don’t trust their parenting? I honestly don’t know.

Help me out – what do you do for Halloween? And do you think we should take a little responsibility for the health of children that are not our own? Or is that me being bossy again?

Not feeling Halloween-ish yet? (Costco already has all their Christmas stuff out!) Check out my other posts this week:

Ten Weird Things Toddlers Get Attached To (Writing this and reading all the comments has had me grinning all day. When adults chase you down just so they can sniff your socks it’s freaky but when a baby does it it’s a-d-o-r-b-s? Yes.)

Mom Teaches Child to Beer Funnel: When do parents cross the line? (Is it fair to judge a person’s parenting skills based solely on a 30-second YouTube clip? And yet… it’s a beer funnel.)

Did You Have a Celebrity Pregnancy Buddy? (Mine was Heidi Klum – I still feel strangely bonded to her.)


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