It's Halloween time again. If you have been into the stores lately you would have thought Halloween was at least four weeks ago . . . I think shelves had Halloween candy and decorations out before we stopped wearing white shoes. But, that whole pushy marketing thing is for another day. I'm thinking of this holiday that makes us all feel entitled to scarf down pounds of sugar just because it is in an orange bucket and also makes us feel compelled to freely hand out the sugary, chocolately, mounds of goo to any little orange bucket that rings the bell. Don't get me wrong - I love Halloween! I love decorating with pumpkins, spiders, webs, skeletons (and what else do I have in my yard?) and I love dressing up every year. Yes, I DO dress up! Although I think my boys will soon become really embarrassed by that. I love thinking of the costumes, running around for the pieces and creating something fun. My favorite was when I dressed as Cher . . . and my children had NO idea who that is!
What makes me crazy is the amount of loot my boys come home with every year. It is insane! It is sinful! It is so wasteful! They don't need to be given THAT much candy! It's just too much. I think they must be given at least 5 pieces of candy per house. In one night they receive more candy than should be eaten in a year. And those folks that just leave a bucket out and a sign for the trick-or-treater to just take two. Who are they kidding? Handfuls are being taken out of that bucket!
I don't mean to sound so crazy, really I don't. I've got the biggest sweet tooth out there, but there is a limit to what one human should consume. I get that the candy is a treat. In fact, I think it WAS a treat when I was growing up. My candy would last forever because it was so precious. That was MY time to get candy and it didn't come around again for a very long time. I think those days are gone. Candy is given out at every turn . . . kindergarten classes, pediatrician's offices, stores, school and sporting events, you name it. It just doesn't seem to be much of a treat anymore and that is a shame.
I'm not even touching on the rise of childhood obesity and diabetes caused by the high sugar intake in this country. That's a very serious issue that distresses me enough. I think there's just got to be a limit to all the treats all the time.
So, for a holiday centered around giving candy, what are the options? Those cheap pencil erasers, rings, stickers? I hate that stuff coming in and cluttering up the house! I'm not trying to nix candy at Halloween. As my 9 year old, who was reading over my shoulder, just stated, "but it's Halloween. That's what you do at Halloween." I know it's what you do at Halloween, but isn't there a limit?
We do have one gentleman in our neighborhood who gives a dollar bill to each trick-or-treater who comes to his door. My boys love to go to his house! With the price of candy these days, that might actually be cheaper. I'm not sure why I am worrying so much about all those children out there who are getting too much candy and eating junk. Why should I feel like it is my responsibility to take care of other people’s kids and worry about what they are eating? Shouldn’t their parents be policing their sugar intake? If they didn’t want their kids bringing all that loot into the house shouldn't they just find their own way to handle the problem? Well, sure. In a perfect world that would work just fine. If that worked then we wouldn't have obesity campaigns going on, state funds being spent on obesity issues, health issues in kids that are weight related, and the list goes on. Guess I do feel a bit responsible.
In our house, at the end of trick-or-treating we let the boys spread out all their loot and divide it. They keep one fourth of the pile and we find other ways to use the rest of the candy. Last year I boxed it up and sent it to an organization that sent it to the troops overseas. Other times I have donated it to charitable organizations that can use it for real "treats" for kids. I feel better with options like those. We get plenty in our house (I even make sure there are some of my favorites I can snatch out of their piles) and we don't have to waste it by throwing it out and, hopefully, others are being "treated" by some of the candy.
So, what do you do for Halloween? Am I micromanaging too much? Or do you also think it can be just too much?