My daughter is too young to eat candy this Halloween. I’m just hoping she’ll be able to handle wearing a costume and trick-or-treating.
Still, I am starting to think about how I’ll manage her Halloween treat consumption down the road, especially considering that kids like sugar more than adults, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.
So I’ve conducted a bit of research lately on the subject. To help other parents this Halloween, here are three of the most helpful hints I’ve come across for curtailing candy consumption.
1.) Limit how much candy your child can collect. I love this trick, which you would do by giving your child a small bag to collect candy in or limiting the number of houses he or she can visit. As eating right expert Dina Rose writes, “reduce the number of houses your kids can hit up, or make sure their Halloween bag is somewhat smaller than a suitcase.”
2.) Fill your kids up with food and water before, and during, trick-or-treating. The always-helpful Nurse Judy at my pediatrician’s office writes in a recent blog post on the topic, “a good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating may discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.” She also suggests bringing lots of water along when trick-o-treating, noting “just trust me on this one.”
3.) Limit how much candy your kid can eat in one sitting. As Nurse Judy writes, “it’s okay to be a little more liberal than usual for a day or two, but come to an agreement about a reasonable candy intake over the next few weeks.” When I was little, my mom would allow my siblings and me to eat as much candy as we could for an hour or so on Halloween (after she went through our candy bags to make sure the goodies were all safe, of course), and then she would limit us to a couple pieces a day. The first day is the most exciting,” my mom says, noting that eventually we lost interest in the candy and she trashed it.
If you like the idea of doling out the candy this way, there are tons of different distribution formulas you can follow. Heloise, for instance, recommends putting the extra candy in a jar labeled “Rainy Day Savings,” and then giving the candy as snacks when kids are cooped up during bad weather. You also could try approaches that involve trading some of the candy for toys, pumpkin fairies that replace candy with a gift, saving only the most special pieces, donating and selling excess candy (to the dentist or to the troops) or freezing most of the stash, saving it for future movie night consumption.
What are your hints for cutting down on the amount of candy your child eats on, and after, Halloween?