Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

The Halloween Candy Problem

Every October 31st there comes that moment when your darling child, with cheeks pink from excitement, plops their costumed self down in the hallway and gleefully peers into that sugary, preservative- and food dye-laden sack of Sweet Tarts, M&Ms, and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. And every year, it’s me who feels like passing out. Hey holistic parents, what do you have planned this year for the Halloween Candy Problem? What do you do to prevent your child from going into sugar shock?

Many wise people make arrangements in advance with their children, and trade the sack for a really good present. Other parents let the kids pig out the first night, and then place the bag on a high kitchen shelf that within a day gets lower, and lower, until it mysteriously reaches the level of the garbage can. And then, of course, there’s always UNICEF, but my kids always manage to convince neighbors to contribute generously–in money and Mars bars.


I must admit with great sadness–and I do mean great–that I’ve pretty much let my kids have their way these past two years–that is, I let them eat their candy over time, not all at once. For one thing, they seem to tolerate candy better, and not get as hyper, now that they’re ten and twelve. And they are discouraged from ever eating candy on an empty stomach. A little something ingested beforehand, with protein in it if possible, seems to keep them from swinging on the chandelier. If I put too much energy into forbiding obnoxious substances, it creates a creepy cathexis, and the kids want whatever I ban all the more.

One thing I have noticed is that the makers of natural candies don’t put a lot of effort into packaging their products for this harvest holiday. I guess it would be prohibitively expensive to stock only natural treats like Sun Drops.


I know there are numerous parents out there still towing the natural line, and I admire them hugely. Plus, the parents of children with active allergies must forbid candy consumption; there is no other option. Give us ideas, you guys! I’d love to hear from you!

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posted October 14, 2006 at 5:33 pm

I, too, do not permit my children to have food dye as a general rule. On Halloween, we do a combination of keeping, imbibing, and trading. I let them eat anything the first night, keep all those candies with no food dye (i.e. snickers, reeses, etc.) for later consumption, and “trade up” the remaining dyed sweets for an acceptable small treat (ice cream, hot wheel).

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posted October 16, 2006 at 2:22 pm

We provide a halloween treat bag with cheese cracker/pretzels and grab bag toys for fun ie stickers,buttons,plastic assorted bugs etc. The kids have fun and I feel good giving something NOT sugary. xxoo

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posted October 16, 2006 at 5:29 pm

My kids, thank God, are not big candy eaters. So, we put everything in a big bowl. They’re allowed what they want that evening, then we all nibble from the bowl for a few days after that. Finally, after about 4 days the girls will go through and take out what they REALLY like, then we’ll toss the rest. Then, about a month after that, I usually end up tossing most of what they thought they really wanted after I run across it in the back of the fridge.

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shari English

posted October 16, 2006 at 8:59 pm

If you know how to send this back to “chattering mind”, you might pass it along.”Chattering Mind”,I’m a dental hygienist and for years I have made posters to display in the office with “treat” alternatives at Halloween. There are stores that carry hundreds of bulk “prize” items for school fairs and carnivals that have items ranging from 10 cents to $5.00 . Halloween pencils, animal shaped erasers, stickers, washable tatoos, whistles, magnifying glasses, funny noses, super balls, rings, bracelets, riddle booklets, and the list goes on and on. I also gave out toothbrushes, floss and sometimes toothpaste donated from companies like crest or colgate. Granted, the older kids learned to “skip” my house because other than the toothbrushes, the toys were a little too “young” for them. However, I feel Halloween is for the very young and after about 12 years old, they have more potential for getting into mischief. So, when my children turned 12, they no longer went out on that night–they handed out the goodies and I usually had pizza and cupcakes, or ice cream for dessert!! Shari English

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Barbara Lavell

posted October 17, 2006 at 3:08 pm

My children are now all grown, however, I always found that, when left to their own devices, after the first night of Halloween, they lost interest in their candy and usually disposed of it themselves. My oldest always put hers in the freezer and we’d find it there a year later. My middle child just didn’t want it after Halloween night and my youngest (the one with the occasional tooth decay)lost interest in a day or two. I never made a big deal about it and they never ate all of the candy they collected. Actually, their favorite treats were the stickers, pencils, coins, etc. that thoughtful people would put in their bags.

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posted October 18, 2006 at 1:21 am

When I was little, I wasn’t a big candy eater. I had braces on my teeth from age 8 to age 25.It was a pain to floss and “no popcorn” was the rule my dentist inforced. So for all those years my Mom and Grandma and I drooled for popcorn. I love eating it today with nuts or chocolate chips mixed in with honey and peanut butter. We always gave out pencils to the kids and one small piece of candy. The kids would come every year before the 31 and NOv. 1st just to get unsharpened pencils. We let older children chose erasers instead of candy…this was a bit hit too. Stickers and those plastic stencil rules were popular too. There are all types of things you can give instead of candy, but I found out if you don’t get candy…you find your car keyed, or even all flattened tires. Out annetnia was even cut-off the car one year too. So please give a little candy, to avoid distructive damage. But offer a chose it always gets ‘thank yous’.

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posted October 18, 2006 at 6:12 am

We’ve been on the gluten free diet for the past four months due to wheat allergy and I’m amazed at what level of sugars are in many gluten free foods. We are still searching for alternatives to gluten that involve healthy products and would enjoy seeing more on this subject in your columns.

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posted October 18, 2006 at 6:50 pm

I read a suggestions years ago when my oldest was little – The Pumpkin Witch. Every Halloween night I would have her pick out the number of candies she wanted according to her age – 5 years old got 5 peices. Then we left the remaining candy out for the Pumpkin witch. That night she would come and take the candy and bring a gift – usually a book or video, etc. That way we didn’t have the candy battles for weeks afterward!

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posted October 19, 2006 at 10:44 pm

I still have my candy binges and I am closer to 77 than 76 years of age. I am now looking forward to taking my four grandsons out for begger’s night(s). As usual grandpa gets his share from most of the households that we visit.

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posted October 20, 2006 at 1:25 am

Try passing out small treats instead of candy, and subsequently trading you children’s candy for various small treats. We go to for great deals on pencils, stickers, erasers, and other Halloween themed items. When your children come home, allow them to choose some favorite candy and to trade some for small prizes. That way they don’t have so much candy to tempt them. Alternatively, have a Halloween party. Decorate the house in Halloween theme, have some nice treats handy that they can eat during the party like deviled eggs with an olive in the center to look like an eyeball, etc. Have fun games like wrapping a parent up in TP like a mummy, pin the bolts on Frankenstein, etc. Decorate some party bags with fun Halloween stickers and drawings, then finish the party with a big pinata like a spider or a pumpkin. If your pinata is filled with raisins, fruit leather, small toys, etc then you can’t lose! Invite a bunch of children over, and make sure to have some festivities for the parents as well!

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Judith Anne Cooper

posted October 20, 2006 at 6:47 pm

This may sound unreal but when my 3 children were small they would bring home their bags and maybe eat a piece or two and then it was completely forgotten. At young ages, 10 or so they wouldn’t even go. They would put on some kind of homemade costume and very happily hand out the candy. I must add that at Easter we would buy our children something special. They didn’t like Easter candy either. It has actually been a benefit. My children are 23, 21, and 17 and between the 3 of them there are only 2 cavities.

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posted October 23, 2006 at 4:55 am

Our local dentist has a candy buy-back for two days after Halloween. Payment is $1/pound plus a matched donation of $1 to a local charity. As for what to give to trick or treaters, I believe it all depends upon your neighborhood and your inclination. I prefer giving out non-sugary treats, but when we last did this, our gardens were trampled and sidewalks egged. So we’re back to full size candy bars. Pathetic, I know, but I think there’s some official Leeway Law on H’ween, isn’t there?

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posted October 31, 2006 at 12:36 am

hello my name is maddy i am 9 and i 100% do not agree with banning candy on halloween and who are you to take that tradition kids love halloween and the candy you have kids you should know so for those resons i ask you not ban candy on halloween.

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