Halloween excites me. Even though I was the youngest of three children, I took on the task each year of decorating for Halloween. I strung orange lights, fashioned life-size ghosts, begged mom to buy paper skeletons. Every few years I staged elaborate haunted houses in the basement on the ping-pong table.
The spookiness wasn’t the only attraction. I was a bonafide sugar freak who made mouse holes in the Halloween candy bags mom had purchased weeks ahead of time and slipped out pieces one by one to satisfy my never-ending jones.
I outgrew this addiction (whew). But as an adult and parent my mind would spin at how many American holidays center around giving children candy. Candy canes, candy hearts, candy easter eggs, candy corn – seemingly requirements of a happy childhood. Nevertheless giving a child a large bag and cheerfully encouraging them to go foraging to collect as much candy as possible seems peculiar. Particularly if, as a parent, you don’t really want them to eat all the candy.
So how do we handle this? One strategy offered to me was to allow the child to choose the number of pieces of candy that totalled their number of years on the earth. Three for the three-year-old, fifteen for the teenager. Another loving parent told me about the Pumpkin Man. If one leaves a bag of candy out for the Pumpkin Man, it will be transformed into a present the child longs for. I always volunteered to have a big group of trick or treaters come to our home for a pre-game meal and gave them hearty fare to fill them up. Have you guys found a way to manage the Halloween sugar fest for your kids? Let’s swap ideas.