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Halloween Candy Is Not Special

For those of you following the Whole30® program, certain upcoming holidays may prove a test of willpower. Halloween candy is everywhere, calling out to you from perky colored wrappers in perfectly portioned bite-sized pieces. So, if you’re stocking up for trick-or-treaters, or dealing with an influx of candy in your child’s own bag o’ booty, we are here to remind you of one simple fact.

You can have candy any time you want.

You’re a grown-up. You earn your own money. And if you wanted a Snickers, a Kit-Kat, or a bag of Peanut M&Ms, you can walk right into any grocery store, gas station or convenience mart and buy one.

Halloween candy is not special. It’s not unique. It’s not homemade, or a once-a-year treat, and we’re pretty sure it doesn’t invoke fond childhood memories of sitting around the dining room table while Mom pulls things out of the oven.

Which means, Whole30′ers… you will NOT be taken out by a bag of peanut M&Ms. Not this time around. No slips, no cheats, no excuses.

You’re in this to slay your Sugar Dragons once and for all, and you are tougher than any Halloween candy.

candy-ratiionale

CREATE YOUR OWN HALLOWEEN TRADITION

For those of you who still want to celebrate the holiday without succumbing to the sugar-fest that is traditional Halloween, here are some alternative ideas from Whole9 readers:

  • Have a cookout with your friends and children’s friends. The kids can dress up and you can control the meal. Also, the Following My Nose blog has some creative dishes like Creepy Creature of the Sea Soup and Sweet Potato Bugs. Most importantly, eat before going out trick or treating then you will not be tempted by the sugar demons.
  • On Halloween night, the kids (we have 5) pick out 5-10 pieces of candy to keep, and put the rest of their candy in a big pile. We ring a special bell before the kids go to bed and that night the “Switch Witch” comes and exchanges it for a cool group gift. This year it’s a tetherball set!
  • Though I do not have children, my Halloween will involve being stuffed at a Brazillian Rodizio before going to a Halloween party so that I am too full off of meats that I could not possibly have anything else.
  • This year I simply explained that I feel all the candy is crap and they deserve better than that… I did say that if they agree to handover all their candy we will all go bowling tomorrow night and bring along any friends who want to do the same. We have the neighbor-kid onboard!! I count this as a win!
  • Our gym is offering a Halloween Candy Buy Back for all of our community. We are giving an incentive of $2.00/lb of candy, a prize for the most candy returned, as well as a free gym class.
  • Right now, with our one child only 11 months old, it’s easy enough – we’re just not going trick-or-treating. If we get any kiddos at our door, they’re getting raisins (yeah, we’re *that* house. I’m over it.).
  • As a college student, the pull isn’t as bad because of no kids, but at my job my boss has been passing the candy like crazy! I keep having to explain why I don’t want any. I have been using the Whole30 elevator speech though! I finally feel like I have a grip on my sugar demons, and I finally feel good and happy in my decision to say no.
  • I work at a school and you can imagine how crazy this day was! I told the parents I would take care of the treats in the room. We had raisins, carrot sticks, orange slices, and apples for snacks. The parents thought I was crazy! I had the last laugh as the kiddos LOVED the healthy snacks and ate ALL of it! I even had some parents come up and apologize for badmouthing my choices. It just goes to prove that kids do know how to eat healthy foods if they are given a chance.
  • I would provide an equally tantalizing option the weekend before Halloween to allow them costume time and something to look forward to. They can invite friends and we would play various “games”: ie. bob for  pples, break a pinata filled with non-edible treats, make a craft, have a scavenger hunt, etc. For food, I would play into the fall/Halloween theme offering guts (spaghetti squash and tomato sauce), edible eye balls (hard boiled eggs, black olives), spiders (fudge babies), there are a variety of easily adaptable recipes on familyfun.go.com under Halloween treats.
  • My husband and I took our kids trick or treating with their friends/family. When we got home, they dumped out all their candy and we gave them a choice-do you want to eat these or would you like to trade all your candy for money so that you can purchase or save up for something to buy at the toy store? They chose the money!! My kids are 5 and 7 and are committed to eating well.
  • I have 4 year old twins and a 6 year old. They love trick-or-treating and get a lot of candy. The night of, they get one piece and then they trade it in to the Great Pumpkin who brings them 2 books each. My children were thrilled to get their books. I wanted to bring the candy to work and my husband insisted on throwing it in the garbage.

halloween-pie-chart

So, Whole9 readers… what are you going to do with all of your children’s candy? How will you balance the tradition of Halloween with the health concerns of all that sugar? Share your creative and healthy ideas in comments… And happy Halloween to all!

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Comments

  1. Linda Sand says

    For trick-or-treaters we throw a bunch of coins in a bowl and each kid gets to grab a handful. They love it and we don’t have sweet temptations left over.

  2. Katy says

    My kids are 10, 12 and 14. They haven’t been trick-or-treating in 5 or 6 years now. Our tradition for Halloween night is to have chocolate fondue. I make it with dark chocolate (at least 75%- usually 85%) and grassfed heavy cream. For dipping, we have mostly fruit and nuts.

  3. Alyssa Sorenson says

    We will take kids (4 & 6) trick or treating & will let them keep a few pieces. The rest is going to the dentist who is donating the candy to the deployed troops.

  4. Liz says

    We buy the candy back from our kids at the end of the night for cash they can take to the store the next day to buy something they want, at a fixed exchange rate. The rate is really good on Halloween night, but half the next day, and pittance by the third day. Since they earn the cash by the piece, they’re more motivated to give us back more pieces of candy. Sometimes we do a ‘blue light special’ and offer a super good exchange rate right before they go to bed. In previous years, we upped the rate in steps before they went to bed to get them to part with as much as possible, but this year that wasn’t necessary. They’re on board with the idea of not keeping much, if any. Personally, I like the piece by piece exchange policy because then they voluntarily make the choice over and over again that they prioritize something else above the taste of the candy. It’s not an external limit imposed. Also, they can fully participate in the social aspect of getting dressed up and getting together and running around with friends. They end up concluding that the actual eating of the candy just isn’t that special. Last year, they ended up trading in every single piece of candy except for what they’d already eaten. This year, one child kept 3 pieces and one child kept 6. They enjoy the sorting, counting and trading in for money ritual in itself. The store they choose to go to the next day is something along the lines of the bookstore, the toy store, or the craft store for beads or for discounted Halloween decorations for next year! They get pretty excited about making plans for the trip to the store, and the candy ends up undesirable and forgotten.

  5. Jenny says

    With regard to candy, my kids get to eat what they want that evening – they are small and not used to a ton of sugary cr@p so it is maybe 2-3 peieces each. The rest we take away. They are just never allowed to keep candy – what is given is eaten after dinner that day, then it is finito, toothbrushing and back to normal.

    We also only allow candy on Saturdays (as is the tradition here in Sweden) and the same goes then. We serve it as dessert after a homecooked meal, they get to eat a reasonable/small amount. What is not eaten is taken away until next week or thrown out. The kids have never questioned this tradition.

  6. Sue says

    I dunno, call me crazy but instead of collecting ALL that candy and then coming home and throwing it in the garbage why not just go to fewer homes trick or treating? That way the kids get to enjoy trick or treating, get to have a bit of candy and then there is less product going in the garbage. It’s good to think of the environment too!

  7. says

    My daughter gets a small snack size Baggie to save 3-4 pieces in. Then I “buy” her candy & the next day/weekend day we go to whatever store she wants to spend it – toys, crafts, books, whatever. I used to send it to troops overseas, but they don’t need junk anymore than I or my daughter does, so it goes in compost.
    One poster suggested going to fewer houses which is something we’ve also done…we trick or treat with extended family & substituting instead fun with the family!

  8. Tracy says

    I am on day 81 of no sugar. My kids 13 & 16 are both over 5 weeks of no sugar. They did that on their own. We have been Paleo almost 4 years but sugar has always been a battle for everyone. We are doing great and staying strong through all holidays.

  9. says

    We will be giving out $1 bills this year. We only get about 15-20 trick or treaters, and I spend so much more on candy and up up getting stuck with it. And given my husband and I are on a whole 365 this year, we don’t need to have it sitting around the house!!

  10. Mia says

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s kind of wrong to tell children they cant have their candy because it’s “not healthy”? They’re children, they should get to enjoy the magic of Halloween. Yes, you can eat candy anytime, but it’s more festive and fun at this time of year. I did a whole30, I’m all for healthy choices, but I don’t think it’s right to encourage parent’s to change their family’s halloween candy festivities and take their children’s candy away.

    • Nancy says

      Yes and no. I agree with you, and I totally think that becoming the “sugar patrol” will backfire. Your kids are going to make their own decisions when they’re out with friends, at parties, ect. A “you can’t have that because sugar is evil” is only going to lead to more sugar binging in the long run.

      On the other hand? Kids that I grew up with who didn’t have soda in their houses don’t drink soda much as adults. Kids who didn’t have candy in their houses growing up don’t each much candy. Kids who didn’t have Little Debbies don’t feel the need to go buy them as adults.

      It looks like most of these parents are offering a voluntary “buy back” incentive for Halloween candy. I think it’s brilliant. After all, when was the last time a child put ANY kind of candy on their Christmas lists? Never. That’s the thing that I keep reminding myself. When someone asks me for what I want for Christmas, I NEVER put sugary treats on it. I bet my nieces would jump at this. They love candy, but it isn’t like there isn’t a ton of candy around, and even they can scratch up the dough to get a candy bar when they want it.

  11. Sam says

    I totally get the slaying the sugar dragon and how hard it is. My family has finished 2 whole30s and we don’t seem to go for dessert anymore. We have never made a big deal over NOT having candy or soda and now my 10 year old does not choose those items. She prefers water and only eats a few pieces of her Halloween candy. We end up taking it to work after New Years. The more you deny it, the more they want it.

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