Advice about Halloween
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Advice about Halloween
i love halloween and want to take my 11 month old to some kind of costume parade
or baby friendly activity. anybody have any ideas for halloween type activities
for an 11 month old, preferably in the day time????
Hopefully, you will receive many recommendations on charming, age-appropriate daytime
activities for 11-month old babes and parents. My daughter is much older and I'm not
up on the activities for wee ones. I do have a bit of (hard-earned) advice, which you
no doubt may already have a sense of:
Halloween for your child's age group is more for the parents (and the photo album)
than for the children.
It's true that there is nothing sweeter than donning your year- old in a ladybug,
tiger, bunny costume and having her/him walk to the 3-4 neighborhood houses for a 5:00
PM trick or treat fest--after tons of photos are taken. Or going to a farm or pumpkin
patch (such as the lovely Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont www.ardenwoodaffairs.com
- (510) 797-5621)and enjoying the colors and bounty and harvest of the season. And no
doubt, any/all experiences for any/all age groups is registered in their minds as
''experience'' from which to grow/learn/enjoy.
All that being said, please avoid my early mistake: don't take your little one to
places that are favored by older kids. I made the mistake of taking my 4 year-old
toddler to Russell Street in Berkeley and I think she'll be in therapy for years
because of it (we were there @4 minutes and fled with my little one in tears at the
first mummy that jumped out of the ground up at her--oye vey). From your email
request, you are no doubt smarter than I was. But this stands out in my ''bad mommy''
repetoire and I wanted to share it.
Also, in costume choice: prepare for both very hot and very cold weather in your
choice of costume. How many years my daughter sweated or froze her way through
Halloween; it can be
95 or 55 degrees on October 31 (usually has been hot).
How much fun for you to begin the wonderful customs we enjoy with our children at this
rich time of year!
Halloween is coming and I am wondering what other parents do with
all the candy their kids bring home. I have a three year old who
gets the occasional treat. (Like at a birthday party, grandma's,
a friend house) She is so looking forward to halloween and the
candy this year, but I just can't imagine letting her eat all of
what she collects. I don't have a problem with a few pieces
Halloween night but what do parents do with it after that? I like
Halloween and don't want to be a scrooge but I also don't want a
sugar deranged child.
Let her eat as much as she wants on Halloween night, then put
the bag in the pantry and let her raid it for maybe a week
thereafter -- subject to reasonable rules about having candy
only AFTER a healthy snack or meal. Then quietly get rid of
whatever is left after she's more or less forgotten about it.
Kids who are allowed to control their own candy consumption tend
to self-limit much more than those for whom candy is
a ''forbidden pleasure.'' And gorging on the stuff in a short
period of time is actually better for their teeth than eating
one or two pieces at a time over a longer period.
I am a kindergarden teacher (currently caring for my own baby).
Many of the parents in my class invite the ''Sugar Fairy'' to their
house after Halloween. You see, she only eats sugar, so by
leaving the candy you collect out for her, you are helping to
take care of her and she will certainly leave you a special gift
as a thank you.
If you are not opposed to your little one having some candy, the
Sugar Fairy could leave a few pieces behind along with the
non-eatable gift. Going trick-or-treating becomes an act of
helping and caring for the Sugar Fairy instead of a mad rush of
consumption and greed.
We've always allowed our kids to have all the candy they want
for a week. They quickly get sick of it and the rest gets thrown
out. Our dentist suggested that rather than stringing all that
sugar on their teeth out over months.
I steal it. I eat what I want and throw the rest away.
Well, sort of...I make it very clear before we go out
trick-or-treating that I need to go through their basket before
they eat anything. I immediately take out anything that is a
choking hazard and throw it away. I let them pick a few pieces
in which to indulge that night. After they go to bed, I throw
away more and eat some. Hey, who doesn't like free
mini-snickers? I stretch this out over the course of the week
(though I have usually stopped indulging my own need for
mini-twix bars by the second or third night). They get to
'finish' it, so they don't go to bed with some in their basket
and wake up with it all gone in the morning. I would hate to be
fingered by my children as a candy thief. After a week, we can
usually transition into full bore 'lets get ready for
Thanksgiving' mode and Halloween is forgotten until the following
August when costumes start showing up in stores.
Oh, NEVER, EVER, EVER, suggest that you 'count' the pieces of
candy. You'll get caught.
Our dentist will buy the candy for $1.00 a pound (or such.) You can also do the
''switch witch'' and let your daughter keep a few pieces of candy and switch the rest for
a special treat or a small toy. Our daughter always knew the switch witch was me, and
she was happy to switch for a toy starting at age 3.
I read about this in a magazine and developed my own version.
You let them eat what they want after Trick or Treat, then you
have them leave the candy outside for the Switch Witch. The
Switch Witch leaves them a gift in exchange for the candy. I
made up this poem for my girls to read when they left out the
Switch Witch Poem
Oh wise Switch Witch,
Take away this bag.
Switch it with fun,
Please be a good hag.
We had lots of fun,
On our Trick or Treat night.
So now do your trick,
Take our treats out of sight.
We enjoyed eating the sweets,
Our Halloween is complete.
Thank you oh Switch Witch,
We are ready for the new treat.
Last year, when my son was 3 1/2, we introduced the ''Halloween
Fairy''. The concept is, you pick some candy from your bag and
leave it for the Halloween Fairy, who will leave you a present
in exchange for the candy. The more/better the candy, the
better your chances of getting a cool present from her. My son
left half his candy out for her and ''the fairy'' left him a nice
gift and a thank you note. He's already excited for her to
come this year. Finding someone else to dump the candy on is
another story...putting it out at someone's office usually
works. Good luck!
Return it. The big chocolate companies buy from the Ivory Coast who use CHILD
SLAVES to harvest their chocolate. Send the candy back the manufacturer with a
letter that states your feelings on child slavery. Here's a good article by John
Here are their addresses:
Hershey Foods Corp. can be reached at 100 Crystal A Drive, Hershey, PA 17033;
(717) 534-6799. Mars, Inc. can be reached at 6885 Elm Street, McLean, VA 22101;
(703) 821-4900. Tell them that you expect something to be done immediately to
ensure that cocoa imported into the U.S. is not harvested by enslaved children.
My son went trick or treating for the first time last year at 2
yrs of age and even though we only went to about 7 houses in
our neighborhood, he got half a bucket of candy. He didn't get
to eat any of his candy because we wanted to delay chocolates
and other sugary ''treats'' for as long as we could, and some of
the candies were choking hazards. Instead, I threw 2 boxes of
raisins into his bucket, and allowed him to pick 2 things from
his bucket to have (one treat for each hand). He at first went
for a snickers bar because it had flashy wrapping and I made a
yuck face so he put it back in his bucket and since he
recognized what the raisin boxes were, he picked the raisins
for his treat. We put cool stickers on the boxes and
prominently displayed the boxes in our kitchen, next to the
basket with ''approved'' snacks. I ended up taking the rest of
the candy to work so that my husband and I didn't end up eating
the candy ourselves.
I think I'll utilize the same ''trick'' this year, but allow him
to pick out a few more items...(almost) anything he can put
into a snack-size zip lock baggie, dress up the baggie and
place it next to the snack basket in our kitchen. He still has
to ask permission to take a piece of candy for snack time.
We have a very simple approach. Trick or treating is an end in
itself and is very fun just for saying the words trick or treat
and seeing what you get. We let our daughter do full trick or
treating and when we get home we sort it out and make an event
of seeing what she got. She is allowed to keep 5 pieces of
candy after having one or two that night. The next day she will
usually ask for one, and after that I say maybe later that week
and it generally sits in a cupboard and we eventually throw it
away. I should say that we don't have desserts every day and
candy very rarely, so it really is a treat to get the candy.
We use the ''magic pumpkin'' approach. It goes like this: On
Halloween night my son is allowed to eat some reasonable amount
of candy. The rest is put on the front porch for the magic
pumpkin, who comes, takes the candy, and leaves a toy. (The
candy then goes to mom's office to get it out of the house). It
has worked since he was two years old, and though he is now 6 and
beginning to suspect that mom is behind this, he is still happy
to do the exchange. I've also heard this called the ''Switch
Witch''. Good luck!
No Cavities yet!
When I was a kid, my dad had a rule that my sister and I could
pick out ten pieces of candy from the trick-or-treat bag and
the rest went to charity. We dutifully complied -- whether the
candy actually was donated I don't know. In any event, I
instituted that rule for my son, who is now 8, and he, like me,
has dutifully complied. This works in part because he knows
that candy is not grow food and is bad for teeth and body.
Not a Rebel
The Great Pumpkin (kind of like Santa Claus in reverse) comes to
our house a day or two after Halloween. The kids get to eat all
they want that night, then they leave the rest on the porch for
the Great Pumpkin. The candy disappears and is replaced by a
cool new book. Very exciting...
My friend swears by the ''Switch Witch''. The kids can keep 4 or 5 of their favorite
treats, or you can let them eat what they want for a day or two, but then, at night, they
leave their Halloween goody bag at the foot of their bed at night, and the Switch Witch
brings them a toy that they've really wanted, in exchange. You could also leave money,
I guess, but the toy is an instant disctraction from the candy, which disappears.
Heidi, mom of 3
I too have this issue, but I decided in the end that a bunch of
candy isn't going to hurt the kid a couple times a year
(halloween and easter.) I remember how happy I was that my
parents never limited the candy after halloween. I could eat as
much as I wanted. I could make myself sick if I wanted (never
did-although I should have with all I ate!) I would eat tons of
it and was fine the next day. (Theres acually a bunch of
studies that show it isnt' the sugar the riles kids up but the
excitement of the event where they get it.) So I just let my
daughter eat 5-10 pieces then go to bed that night. I just
don't let her have it for breakfast or before meals.
If you really want to limit it but not be a scrooge, just let
them eat x number of pieces that night, and say they can have x
number every day. And after they go to bed, take a few pieces
out and throw them away, and do this every night. After a few
days, it will all be gone!
We let our kids gorge for Halloween night and the next day. We
figure this is worthwhile suffering, because we value sharing in
the childhood traditions, and we value our own memories of
swimming in the forbidden fruit. (We don't let them eat
unlimited amounts, just a whole lot.) Then we ask them to choose
a non-food treat that would be reasonable to trade for the rest
of their candy, and buy it for them. This is maybe at $15 item
for the five- and seven- year olds. We do this along with
explaining how we share their love of candy, and how it's simply
not healthy to fill a week or a month with it.
When they were smaller, we pulled out a handful of candy for each
of the two days, instead of letting them choose.
I'm not big on materialism, but the pain of forgoing a long
tradition that all surrounding kids are enjoying is a real pain
for the kids, and I feel fine giving a gift as consolation.
Also, Halloween is our only big candy holiday. At Easter, for
instance, their baskets are filled with small toys (like
Christmas stockings are), and they know ahead of time that sugary
gifts from others will mostly not be eaten.
I'd love to find some (organic? eco?) alternative to all the
junky candy that is given out on Halloween. Last year we went
trick or treating early with the kids, and got back home around
7ish. We let them keep a small percentage of the candy, but had
more than enough leftover to give out to trick or treaters that
showed up later that evening!
If your kid is 3, you'll probably be able to sneak the candy away
and throw it in the trash... or to be nicer you could have your
child trade it in exchange for a decent toy or something better -
then throw all the crappy candy away!
(ok I do actually like the almond joys)
The best ideas I know of are buying the candy from your kid then
bringing it to work-it will be eaten and probably appreciated
there! At 3, your daughter won't even notice most of it missing,
and she'll forget a lot of it. My 5 yr old even forgets still.
(I've been known to skim the good stuff for myself...) Give her a
treat or two now and then, only after she finishes a really good
dinner or lunch, of course. And ask if she wants to sell it for a
favorite item (which maybe you would have gotten her anyway). The
other thing I've done is hand non-candy treats to the neighbors
we visit for trick or treat, so she gets mostly what I actually
give her. (and at 3, it won't even seem strange to her that you
hand things to people right after they open the door)
When my kids were in preschool, a parent picked up all the
candy parents brought in and donated it to a shelter. The kids
there don't get to trick or treat, and really enjoyed it.
Don't recall which shelter, but I believe many of them will
take any wrapped candy.
We let our kids collect as much as they do and then go through it
all at once after the evening is over. We read ingredients
together. Vanillin, an artificial vanilla flavoring, is a
petroleum byproduct. High-fructose corn syrup is nasty stuff,
and partially hydrogenated oils are also horrible for children's
bodies. So are artificial colorings. Sorry, but just because we
ate them as children doesn't mean they were good for us. We let
them pick a good amount of the candies that aren't filled with
the above nasties and then they get to trade in the worst ones
for candy and treats at the natural foods store where we shop.
Organic, fair trade chocolate (no child slave labor involved),
real licorice, flame raisins, sesame chocolate bars, etc. They
actually prefer the taste of the ''cleaner'' candies anyway, but of
course it's fun to open and eat from the Halloween cache once a
year. After a few days of it, they forget that they even have
candy around and then it just ''disappears'' (I'm always amazed at
how quickly it all goes when we leave it out for adults at work).
I can imagine the comments that my posting might draw, but this
is how our family does it, and our kids enjoy the process. It's
fun to watch them throw the really nasty ones into the Nasty Pile
with a grimace: ''EW! This one has high fructose corn syrup AND
vanillin AND chemical colorings!'' We eat healthy meals and try to
model good food choices for them every other day of the year, why
should it be different on Halloween? I want them to be able to
feel like they have the information they need to make better
choices and this is a good time for that since they don't even
see those kinds of products otherwise.
Halloween can be fun and healthy at the same time.
A couple of years ago someone gave me this great suggestion for
dealing with the candy issue AND the ''not in the spirit of the
thing'' Trick or Treaters:
A few days after Halloween she puts the remaining candy away in a
forgotten cupboard somewhere...then the FOLLOWING Halloween she
has two bowls of candy -- one fresh, for children in costume, and
one of year-old candy for the large number of high school
students who wander our neighborhood without even dressing up.
Chances are the kids don't even notice if the candy's stale, but
it takes care of the surplus treats problem, AND she gets to play
an coy little prank on the people who would otherwise annoy her.
Trick with Treats
I was intrigued by the post suggesting to send the candy back to the manufacturer.
I would like to investigate that further. In the meantime I throw it in the garbage, vs
taking it in to work. This country produces more food than we need, I think there
are 3000-3500 calories per person produced, and many of us only need half of
those calories. Food manufacturers are trying to sell as much as possible, we don't
have to cooperate with their marketing by eating it!
Just a comment on all the replies to what to do with Halloween candy.
Our kids get to have a some candy every day for a week. They know
that at the end of that week, it all goes back to our elementary school.
From there it goes to a local homeless shelter. My comment has to do
with the concept of the giving the child a gift in return for giving up
candy. We have never subscribed to this practice as I felt it rewarded
the child yet more for already having received something free - usually
in great amounts. It is important that children accept limits without
rewards. And Halloween itself is one big reward!
My two cents
I've got an idea! Why don't we give away stickers this year,
instead of candy? Many of you recommend throwing the candy away,
and that seems like such a waste of money. I also only give away
one piece of candy, not an entire handful.
hate to waste
I was not going to respond, but then I heard about the tricks to
get kids to give away their candy.
I believe the same as Holly, kids who are able to regulate their
sugar intake regulate themselves more than if an adult does it
for them. Since my daughter has been younger than 2 she has had
her own ''snack cabinet.'' There is - dare I say - Zero Regulation
by adults. When we're ready to go grocery shopping we ask her if
she needs anything for her snack cabinet, she usually wants
Trader Joe's trail mix and she likes us to mix in about B< cup of
semi-sweet chocolate chips. She has asked that candy be bought
for her occasionally, we buy it, she stores it, sometimes eats
it, sometimes not. For Halloween she keeps all the candy and
treats she receives and eats them as she wants.
Here's the rub, we do ask her (ask her, not demand of her) that
she empties out the previous Halloween candy before putting this
year's candy in the cabinet. She usually has 7/8 (thatbSESutherland151@pol.net
all of it not 7 or 8 pieces) of it left over from the previous
What I do know is that her two best friends make a bee-line for
the cabinet every time they come over. The end result is my
daughter has excellent eating habits, is a proportionate weight
for her height, zero cavities at 8 years old and one friend has
poor eating habits and 5 cavities and the other has mediocre
eating habits with 7 cavities. Both have trouble regulating
their own sugar intake.
Trusting My Daughter's Ability to Regulate Herself
I don't know why, but your question bugged me. Really just let you kid be a kid for one
night and eat the candy that she wants! What is so wrong with just letting our kids go
for it every once in a while. Come on don't you remember how fun it was to get all that
candy and what an accomplishment it was to pour it all out when you got home and
look at ALL that candy and know that you pounded the pavement for every little piece.
Well do ya? It was great! Let your kid be a kid. It a simple pleasure once a year! They
will have fond memories of the one night Mom let me just eat all that candy I wanted.
Signed a Mom who still remembers!
One way to keep the amount of candy to a minimum (allowing you to
feel better about letting them have as much as they want) is to
take them to just a few houses. When they are very little, they
have no concept yet of the expectation to hit every house in the
neighborhood. Also - you can remind them to take ''just one'' at
each place. I always include some non-candy items (little tops,
stickers, etc.) in the bowl for trick-or-treaters, and many of
the younger kids opt for those.
Whatever you decide to do with your halloween candy, do NOT
take it to the homeless shelter. Sometimes people are so
arrogant: ''I don't let my child have any refined sugar, so
I'll give it to some poor homeless child and then pat myself on
the back for doing a good deed.''
The ''Switch Witch''...let your child pick a few pieces to keep
(you decide quantity) and explain that on Halloween night the
Switch Witch will come and take away the surplus and leave good
boys and ghouls a specical spooky toy (again you decide what is
We don't pass out candy anymore. We pass out Hotwheels,
stickers, pencils and all the cheap toys we have accumulated
over the year from birthday party goodie bags. I have never
heard a complaint, even from the older kids who believe it or
not still like Hotwheels and pencils apparently.
Please people, don't bring the candy to work. I will eat it
because I have no will and I am already busting out of my size
14's. I beg of you on behalf of my thighs, no candy at work!
spooky and chunky mama
Without getting into a long, unconstructive thread about this,
I am the person who posted about donating Halloween candy to a
shelter - not out of arrogance and because I don't let my
children have refined sugar, but because the shelter director
mentioned to me that the children don't usually have the
experience of going out for Halloween, get very little candy
and it is actually a treat for them. I would not dream of just
dumping unwanted candy on them and was assured that it was
My son's dentist recently handed out the following
information regarding the "Three Day Rule" on
Halloween candy. I thought that parents who had
not seen this might find it helpful.
The objective of this rule is to allow your child
to join in the merriment of Halloween without
causing a lot of dental problems. The worst thing a
can do with his or her Halloween candy is to save it
and eat small portions each day for several weeks or
months. This daily dose of sugar will raise the
bacteria count in the mouth tremendously. The
bacteria that cause dental decay are nourished by
whatever we eat. Their digestive systems are not
sophisticated, so they depend on our salivary
enzymes to turn the food we eat into simple sugars
they can ingest it. If we eat unsweetened food, the
bacteria have to wait before they can begin their
meal. This is a good thing because it gives us
time to swallow the food we put in our mouth and
hopefully go and brush our teeth to remove most of the
remaining food. However, when we eat a food that
is a simple sugar, the bacteria do not need to wait
for our salivary enzymes to convert anything. The
can immediately start their own feeding
When one eats candy, the bacteria in your mouth are
given a dose of nourishment which sets off a round of
cell diversion, multiplying the numbers of bacteria.
If one eats candy every day this quickly gets out of
hand, and it's no wonder that decay occurs.
So, when the kids return with their candy they
can eat as much as they like before bed that night,
as much as they like for two days after Halloween.
Then before bed on that third day the children must
hand over any remaining candy for discarding. There
is rarely any left! Why is this good?
1. The bacteria count has been raised for a
short time - not long enough for a cavity to form.
After three days it can slide back to normal.
2. You have avoided the stigma of prohibition.
3. You have allowed the child to experience
overindulgence and the discomfort or even
revulsion that accompanies it.
4. You have avoided all that nagging, and those
self doubts about the quality of your parenthood.
Good luck and happy halloween!
A neighbor of mine did not give her son (age 2-6 when
we lived near them) any refined sugar in his diet, but
wanted him to be able to enjoy the whole
trick-or-treating thing with his friends. So she used
to "buy" the pieces of candy from him after he
collected it (he usually was allowed to eat 1 or 2,
but wasn't really into it--called chocolate "a wierd
brown thing that tasted kinda interesting"). Then she
would take him to a toystore where he could pick out a
toy to buy with his money. He loved it.
I'd love some advice on how to navigate Halloween with our two-
year old son who has food allergies. Since he has a peanut and
milk allergy (so nothing made with milk, cream or butter ... so
most candy is out) his choices are limited and I'm not sure how
to handle trick-or-treating. When he is older I will send him
with a Unicef box and he will know what he can and can't
eat ... but in these early years when he is interested in going
to a few houses in his costume I'm not sure what to do. Since
we try to limit sugary stuff I know it will be novel for him to
have access to candy, and I'm not sure how to approach it
without making him feel deprived and frustrated. Do you just
politely decline when you see what each house is offering if
it's not safe for him? Do you skip trick-or-treating
completely? I was wondering about maybe trading his candy for
a small toy or books ... any thoughts?
Maybe it's too early, but I have a friend whose daughter leaves the things she
can't eat for the Halloween Fairy who then leaves a great toy in exchange. Still
works at age 5
I give the kids party favor type toys that I put into a basket.
Whistles are especially popular as are individual stickers, New Year's noise
makers, fun pencils, little containers of bubbles, etc. Most items are non gender
specific. I can hear the kids squealing with delight as they come up to the front
door that 'this is the house that gives the toys'. I provide an assortment, they
get to choose one, most everything is too large for a young child to swallow. The
price is a bit more than bags of candy, but I go to party supply stores, $
stores, Michael's, find stuff on sale, etc. to buy in packages/bulk. I think the
noisemakers not only provide a way to let off excess energy and excitement, they
help keep the kids safe crossing streets.
No Guilt About The Refined Junk
The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN)has in the past had articles about
handling Halloween in its newsletter. So I would check its website. How we've
handled trick-or-treating for our son who is severely allergic to peanuts (but
doesn't have dairy allergy): Our basic ground rule is that he is not allowed to
eat any of the treats while trick or treating. When we get home, mom or dad
takes his bag and clears out all the unsafe treats (about 75%-80% of them, since
chocolate carries too much risk of cross-contamination). What he's left with are
basically some hard candies and fruity-type candies (believe me, candywise this
is plenty!). If a person is handing out something that obviously has peanuts
(e.g. Snickers or Reeses), he won't take it and will explain that he has peanut
allergy (he loves telling people about his allergy). For class parties, etc. we
make sure he has his own treats, so that he can avoid baked goods. Of course, we
always make sure to have an Epi-Pen and backup on hand, and keep a close eye on
him. He loves Halloween and has a great time
Most of the fun for kids is in collecting the candy, so I say to let you child
trick-or-treat. Don't decline to take the candy or try to explain food allergies
at every house. Just take it all home, and edit it for the bad stuff when you
get home (just like you would go through it for open wrappers, etc). Perhaps, as
you mentioned, trade the items your child cannot have for a book or toy. Or just
throw it out. Chances are that a 2-year-old will not miss it
We dealt with this last year for the first time (peanut allergy). I let my
daughter accept anything that was given to her (although if she was asked to
choose from a bowl, I helped her pick something without peanuts). Once we got
home, I sorted all the candy and gave away (to my brother) all the peanut
candies. I would have loved to keep them for myself, but we're a peanut-free
home and I don't need the calories anyway! That left a small selection of things
that felt safe for her.
This year, I am more concerned about cross-contamination, so I will probably go
to the store and buy candy that is nut free and not made on shared equipment with
peanuts or tree nuts so that I have the benefit of all food labeling. I may also
make some treats, like rice krispie treats, etc. Then, I will make a halloween
bag for her and trade candy bags when the night is over. Not a secret trade - I
will explain why she can't have the candy from trick-or-treating and why she can
have this candy anon
Seed your neighborhood. Candy/treats that he can eat, and some small toys. Go to
your neighbors 30 minutes before you trick-or- treat and ask them to give him the
treats you provide. You probably can do this through 4 years old, by which time
he will already be VERY aware that he can't eat what others can happy halloween!
My 4 yo son has multiple allergies as well (dairy, egg, beef, nuts, fish and
until 1 year ago, wheat). I've always let him trick or treat, but he trades
candy with his older sisters--things he can eat for things he can't eat. When he
was smaller and couldn't eat wheat (which restricted many, many things because of
modified food starch), I just went through his bag of treats and replaced stuff
he couldn't eat with stuff that he could (not one-to-one, because the little ones
simply don't need to eat many sweets, IMO). We have a firm rule that no candy is
eaten while we are out trick or treating. We also just have the kids the candy
for a few days (as much as they want after lunch and dinner) and then I ship it
all off to Daddy's office.
Personally, I'm not a fan of the idea of having kids go out and ask folks for
candy and throwing it all out and giving them a book or toy. Seems like a waste
of other people's money to me.
If that's what people want for their kids, just go buy your child a book or toy
and leave the candy at your neighbors house for other people to enjoy.
Hope this helps. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions. Halloween
has never been a big, tramatic event for my son. He understands now that he
feels bad when he eats things he is allergic too and when he was too young to
understand that, he simply didn't know what he was missing!
I had a neighbor child with multiple food allergies. His parents traded some
with him for small toys/games and some he traded with other neighbor kids for
what few things he could eat
-- halloween fun
I don't think a 2 year old will really be able to keep track of what candy he is
getting at each house, but he will probably enjoy going house to house and
getting something at every house. He probably won't be able or want to go to more
than a dozen houses or so. Why not buy a small assortment of candy he can have
and other treats like small toys ahead of time? Then after trick or treating you
can replace the candy he can't have with stuff he can. (Our kids don't have
allergies, but we don't let them have all the candy they collect either.) --Have
a Happy Halloween!
My sister's son has many severe allergies. So what she has done for Halloween is
to go to a few neighbors she is friendly with and give them treats that are safe
for her son to eat ahead of time. THen when he goes to their door, they have
something to give him.
Your idea about trading candy for toys reminded me of another idea though. What
we have done with our chidren (since we try to keep candy out of their diet
altogether) is tell them they can leave their Halloween candy for the ''switch
witch'' (I don't remember who I got the idea form originally). The Switch Witch
loves candy if they leave their Halloween candy outside their bedroom door for
her as an offering she will ''switch'' with them and will leave them a wonderful
surprise (i.e. a fun toy we bought at a garage sale) in place of the candy. Our
children have been very happy with this and even have mentioned to others they
see with candy, ''You know, if you leave that outside your door for the switch
I have a 6 year old child with food allergies and we've always handled the candy
thing this way...when he was 2 he didn't really get the whole candy thing so we
just took it away and gave him a lolly pop. beginning when he was 3 i ordered
candy from a nut free website, and he collected candy with every one else, and
then we swapped it for his collected candy, which i made my husband take to work
and give away. he does not want a recurrence of his horrible reaction, so he's
very compliant. there are organizations that fund raise and educate around this
issue, in lieu of candy. i don't have the specifics, but google around and they
no nuts for we
My son has a metabolic disorder and I belong to a listserv and one of the
suggestions for Halloween is to go around to the neighbors the night before and
leave with them some candy (or non candy items, stickers, pencils) that your
child both likes and can have. Another idea is to trade candy..have a container
at home with various treats your child can have and he or she can trade the
halloween candy they get for treats in the container one-for one, gives them some
choice and control also the amount they come home with is what they end up with.
My son (now in high school) is allergic to nuts and peanuts, and we've handled
Halloween with ''tradeouts.'' First, be sure that whatever you give out for
trick-or- treats is something your son loves. When going door to door I don't
think you should refuse things your child is allergic to. That would be awkward
and take away the most fun part of trick-or-treating. Make sure your son
understands that he can't eat anything until you get home. When you get home,
spread everything out on a table and explain to him that some candy can make him
sick (which I'm sure he already knows.) Tell him you'll take the ''bad candy''
away and give him something in its place. (You might want to think about doing
the trades one piece at a time so your child knows he's not getting ripped off -
2 year olds can get testy when you take their stuff.) Then trade out each
allergen containing candy and give him something from your stash of safe stuff.
Then run to your basket and take the candy you just took out of your son's pile
and give those things to the next trick or treaters that come to your door. Any
left over contraband goes out the door the next day with whoever's going to work.
That way, nothing gets wasted and you don't have any unsafe candy in the house.
If you decide to try this, you might want to start explaining tradeouts a few
days in advance. I know this could be a little tricky with a 2 year old, but
that's the age we started doing this with my child. If you start now, as he
grows up he'll understand that this is what makes trick-or-treating safe and fun
From the mom of my allergic neice:
www.foodallergy.org has tons of helpful ideas. A few thoughts:
1.FAAN has its own box to collect money for FAAN instead of UNICEF. Her
child might understand that enough next year to want to help others like
2. At that age, I was gave out safe candy to houses belonging to
friends or neighbors that knew my daughter. We only went to those
houses. When they answered the door, they handed her treats that I had
3.As she got older, that didn't fly anymore. She wanted to go to houses
of people I didn't know. We let her collect all the candy she wants,
then bring it home and sift through. Anything safe for her she can eat.
All other candy is traded to us for either safe candy or trinkets.
Other friends have had success picking out a ''real'' present in advance
with the child and telling the child they can trade their candy in for
that present at the end of the night.
4.As of last year, we don't even really need to worry about it much. My
neighborhood started a great event to take the focus off of candy.
Instead we have a parade/party/costume contest.
We enlist ''judges'' in advance all over the neighborhood willing to
judge the costume contest. We give them tickets before Halloween. On
Halloween, all the judges have flags in front of their houses so the
kids know where to go. All the kids march around the neighborhood in a
big parade. Then, while trick or treating, whenever you stop at a
judge's house you get tickets (the better the costume, the more tickets
you get). At the end of the night, you all meet at a designated spot
for a big party (we even had a DJ) and the kids trade their tickets for
prizes (cheap trinkets purchased online but you'd be amazed how the kids
love 'em). By the middle of the evening, my kids were yelling ''forget
trick-or-treating at that house, there's no judge there!!'' They had
forgotten all about the candy and instead wanted just to get lots of
tickets for prizes. The plan worked brilliantly but took a lot of
effort on the part of the organizers. I just found out today that my
neighborhood is doing it again this year, yay!
Am I the only person who HATES halloween? I hate everything
about it but find it hard to protect my children from it. I
would like some help and advice on how to go about it short of
locking everyone up in the house! I hate the fact that it is the
second biggest holiday marketing ploy. I hate the fact that kids
at an early age are exposed to masks of melting faces or blood
gushing out of their eyes or worm crawling out of their
brains/ears. I hate that my kid's very PC elementary school will
set up a haunted house in which to scare little kids out of
their skulls and in a school led camping trip, will incorporate
spooky stories around the campfire. I think our movies and music
get more and more violent each year because people get
sensetized to more and more at an earlier age. I have no idea
what socially or morally redeemabe value comes out of scaring
kids. Even in early elementary school, some kids can have a hard
time differentiating between reality and fantasy and even as
adults how many of us have been spooked for a while after seeing
a scary movie? If there are other parents or parents of
sensetive children - out there, I would love your help in
figuring out how to deal with a tradition that is here to stay.
spooked by halloween as a child
Yes, I also HATE halloween. I agree with you on every count.
If one more person asks me what my kids are going to be for
halloween, I'll scream! I am not sure what good advice I have
to offer. We always go out to dinner and then come home and
leave the lights off. Keep fighting the masses, is what I say!
Clearly you don't like Halloween, but I'm not clear whether
your child is scared of it or you just think that's possible.
It's of course fine to dislike Halloween, but it might change
your mind to think of Halloween as a ritual of inversion, when
the world and rules are turned upside down. Kids get to go to
out at night, to strangers' houses, and ask for candy! The
scary is no longer scary (at least in theory!). These rituals
actually serve to resolidify the ''real'' rules of society.
That said, if your kid is scared or you are opposed it's fine
to turn off all the lights in the house (so the trick or
treaters don't know you're home) and hide with a non-scary
video. You don't have to go to the haunted house, parade,
Your child might enjoy being involved in a way that feels safe.
Passing out treats (doesn't have to be candy--stickers, bouncy
balls) at the front door can be fun.
I think every family should do each holiday in a way that works
for them, but I'm a Halloween fan (could you tell?) and think
you should give it a chance!
Call up East Bay Waldorf School and sign up for the Wanderer's
Way. This is an event they hold on Halloween Night, where you
pay a negligible fee and are led by an angel through the school
grounds, with your way lit by jack-o-lanterns, stopping at
different locations where fairy tale scenes and vignettes are
acted out. At the end you get a hot drink and cookies. It is
really quite magical and lovely, you get some ''Halloween''
through the pumpkins, the crisp fall evening, and the dressing
up, but none of the scary stuff. It is a drive though, since the
school is in El Sobrante, but it is worth exploring as an
alternative Halloween tradition.
The world is full of many dangerous and frightening things as
well as many safe and beautiful. It may be that ritualising the
frightening, the terrifying, may give us some means of handling
the fear, of controlling it. Children are aware of terror in
the world - it comes to them in their dreams, not just on
television or through exposure to violent images. However safe,
wonderful and protected their lives, fear is there - if only
the fear of losing their safety, their parents...And the fact
of being alive, and being human and conscious, exposes us to
the threat of loss, death, terror, horror...
My daughter is today reading some Grimms' fairy tales, and I
am reminded of just how gruesome and frightening they are!
Play has many functions - assimilation, understanding,
integration are certainly there. There are real dangers to
children in this world.
I saw Anne Rice on television saying she'd show the
movie ''Interview with a Vampire'' to a child, and was shocked -
then I remembered how she lost a daughter to leukaemia,
wondered how that must have shaped her writing - and what it
must mean for a child to face death, to go through that.
So perhaps the Mexican Day of Death, Halloween, Grimm's tales
all have some sort of positive function...not that terror can
be tamed, but maybe some sort of map can be made, a potential
map that could help if (heaven forbid) a child must meet real
terror? A map of potential actions to avoid danger, or of the
internal stucture of psyche, of ways to control fear, and act
effectively in the face of the unthinkable?
The commercialism of Halloween is another matter - but then
that is a problem with Christmas too...
I have always adored Halloween and here is why. I think it is a
time to be creative! I always figured out a costume from what
we had around the house as a child. My mom sewed as well and
would help me out. Carving pumpkins was also creative and
cheap. I have always had a sweet tooth and found it a fun time
to indulge. As the parents of small children (three and five),
we are now doing these things. One of my children hates ''scary''
things including even clowns and dogs. I know to avoid big kid
activities. What we always do each year is my friends and I
have a party where we bring the kids (all tots) all dressed up
to one of our houses. We always have so much fun and it is so
darn cute. Try to avoid the scary stuff (for now anyway). Don't
feel like you must consume as the media tries to get you to do
to have fun. And with any holiday, only celebrate if you want
to. Your kids are probably young eneough where you can still
get away with it!
The East Bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante has the best Halloween
night. Groups of children and parents are met by someone dressed
as an angel, and taken around to various stations which are
enactments of special, meaningful, and sometimes very funny
stories by one or two people. At each station each child gets a
special small gift that relates to the story. At the end
there is a table with apple cider and treats. You have to sign
up for a time slot, and there is a fee that as I remember is not
that much. The first few timeslots are not completely in the
dark. El Sobrante is no more than 15 or 20 minutes away if it's
not commute time. The phone number is 510-223-3570.
Well, I am one of those people who LOVE Halloween, but you do make
some good points. Yes, it is a big marketing ploy for retailers and can
introduce grotesque and frightening images to young children, but I
don't think it needs to be dreaded. I really believe it is all in the
I have a 3 1/2 yo and I have also been thinking about how I will explain
some things to her that were easily glossed over last year. Things like
ghosts, witches, etc. My daughter is very open to the power of
suggestion. If I say that something is scary, she gets scared. If I say the
same thing is silly or bizarre, she follows that train of thought. If I
you, I would try to approach the gross masks and things like this.
Also, I think it might help to look at how the holiday came to be and has
evolved. I'm not sure how old your kids are, but my daughter is
unfortunately very familiar with death. We also celebrate Dia de los
Muertos which is akin to the true Halloween holiday, and I will be using
this years celebration to talk about some of the potentially scary images
(ie. skulls and skeletons are very commonplace in DdlM imagery) and
how it relates to death (but is truly a celebration).
The haunted house and scary stories seem like a different issue, and I
would address them with your school. If things aren't too scary, they can
be a way for children to learn about dealing with fear. If they are too
scary, it is probably not appropriate, and this should be discussed with
teachers, administrators, etc.
Hope you can make it a good holiday this year!
The values you want to impart to your children is clearly
important to you so you should dictate how Halloween is spent in
your household. Let your kids know how you feel about Halloween
and the reasons behind it and they will probably be more
understanding than you think. Maybe you could have something
like a 'Fall Celebration' on Oct. 31st and stay home, bake and
do some special activities the kids would enjoy that aren't
materialistic. Leave a note in your front yard letting trick-or-
treaters know that you don't celebrate this holiday. The same
goes for the school. If they would like you to volunteer for
Halloween activities, let them know you do not celebrate and
offer to help in some other fund raising campaign.
In light of the fact that it may be unrealistic to shelter kids from
Hallowe'en, perhaps you can change perspective on it and turn it into a
more positive experience. There are certainly many non-ghoulish
aspects, and you might consider focusing your kids on the more lighter
aspects of it. For instance, it's a great time to collect for UNICEF if
go trick-or-treating; Make it a role-playing day -- a day to dress up and
act out fantasies of being something or someone grown up, too: a
cowboy or a fire fighter or royalty. Perhaps have a ''no monsters''
hallowe'en event with your children and their friends where you bob for
apples and carve pumpkins and make roasted pumkin seeds with the
innards. We have a party each year (no haunted house) and everyone
from babies to pre-teens comes and has a great time in their constumes,
carving pumpkins and decorating cupcakes with orange and black
decorations. I confess to not sharing your feelings about Hallowe'en,
but then I was never taught nor did I ever focus on the more scary
aspects of the day. If none of this seems like a good option for you, you
might look in to faith-based organizations, which often provide
alternatives. Not sure how to combat the influence of school
celebrations of the day. Best of luck.
SOunds like your son has what is a very common childhood phobia.
I recently found out that 70% of all children have some sort of
phobia (also considered anxiety disorder) to some extent but ony
30% of those phobias are ever identified and worked with.
There is help!!! (see Anxiety Class at Kaiser for the rest of this review)
Healthy Halloween Treats
This is a response to Nils Ohlson who would like some ideas on healthy
trick or treats. I have seen snack sizes of something like trail mix. It
comes in a large bag with several smaller cellophane packages--about the
size you would put in a lunch box. If I remember correctly, the packets
contain sunflower seeds with raisins and carob chips. I don't remember
the brand name--but you should find it alongside other snack items such as
Cheese 'N Crackers, etc. Liz
One friend of mine has handed out school supplies alongside of some very
minor candies. So for instance, one year she had a supply of erasers, and
also some small hardcandies. The kids could choose a combination as
directed at the door. Other things she has handed out were pencils and
Have you considered just handing out quarters? I think the older kids
might really like it. You could have a few treats for the
This is a message to the person who asked for ideas about non-surgary items
to give out at Halloween which were packaged and therefore "safe" as
opposed to raisins. I don't know of an item to suggest, but I would like
to suggest that Price/Costco would certainly be a place to check. They
have LARGE amounts of things at LOW prices. They, of course, have an aisle
of standard packaged Halloween candy in large bags at the best prices
around, but they also have lots of other items which could include types of
granola bars (they may have chocolate chips, but they're packaged, would be
an improvement over straight-up candy, and many kids like them). I'll bet
you could get them for under $.50 each, as you were wanting. Good luck.
Write back about what you find/decide to do. I'm always looking for new
ideas about Halloween alternatives.
Regarding Holloween Treats, have you heard of the Oriental Trading Company?
They put out a great catalog of gifts and gadgets at VERY reasonable
prices. The inventory is similar to that of a party supply outlet. We've
ordered a gross of pencils, rubber spiders, ect. for less than $20. The
catalog is seasonal and includes most holidays.
Oriental Trading Company, Inc.: 1-800-228-2269
We are very concerned with the treats given on Halloween but we
do love the holiday. What we have done in the last few years is
to give out $0.25 wrapped in saran wrap and tied with an orange
bow. We get about 100-- and although the kids probably spend
the $ on candy--my hope is that this way the parents have some
control. We spend about $25
I share your concern about handing out sugary treats. I've tried different
approaches in different years.
One year I ran out of candy, and in desperation I handed out apples that I
happened to have on hand. I was amazed at a bunch of kids who were really
excited to get them!
The last few years I've been handing out a combination of a very small piece
of candy (because my husband thinks it's necessary), such as the tiny
Reese's cups, combined with some non-candy treat such as a single sticker, a
tiny inexpensive plasic toy, a tiny pad of paper, or a colorful-looking
pencil. Cute, cheap doodads can be gotten at places like Paper Plus on San
Pablo Avenue a couple blocks north of University.
The kids have been enthusiastic about the non-edible treats. Maybe their
parents are like I am, and let them have all of the toys that they collect,
but only a fraction of the candy. In any case, the kids don't seem to mind.
I just got my issue of Nutrition Action News today and here's the
Tip of the Month:
This Halloween, consider giving pogs, wiggly worms, or other tiny
toys. If you're stuck on candy, skip the chocolates.
Lollipops, licorice, and similar candies are full of sugar, but
at least they're not fatty.
I am planning a birthday party for my 4 year old which will have
a halloween/autumn theme to it. I thought it would be fun to do
sugar skulls and decorate pumpkins. I'd love to hear more
creative ideas. Also, I'm not sure of the best way to do sugar
Thanks for any contributions.
Hi. My October-born daughter had a halloween themed party when
she turned 7. That's a little older than your's, but I think
one fun activity would work with that age, too. Invite kids to
come in costume (have a few dress-ups available in case someone
arrives without). As soon as each child arrives, take his/her
photo. With very little effort, I rigged up a Halloween
backdrop for the photos, using a folding screen, tissue paper,
and that gauzy spider webby stuff. Then, get the pictures made
up quickly, so they are ready before the end of the party -
either send someone out to a one-hour developing place, have
someone print them out at home if you are so equipped, or use
Polaroids. Meanwhile, have kids decorate frames as a party
activity. We used CHEAP clear acrylic frames (I added a
colored paper ''mat'' to help define where to decorate), but
simple wooden or cardboard frames would work too. We did very
simple decorations - little stickers (including some Halloween
themed ones), and various beads/jewels/plastic thingies that
will stick well with just a blob of Elmers (use the colored
kind for variety). When the frames are dry and the photos are
ready, just stick them in. Voila! It's a party favor too!
We had a great halloween party last year doing two things:
I made plain cookines in advance (storebought dough that you slice)
and had the kids decorate with orange, black and white frosting and
various sprinkles. They loved it!
I bought small pumpkins (though not the tiny ones as they have such
bumpy ridges) and the kids painted them with acrylic paints. You can get
cheap paint sets at Michaels.
We were also going to do face-painting but had too much fun with the
other stuff and ran out of time.
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