Thoughts on Candy and Halloween

This year was the first year my 22 month old son went Trick or Treating. He dressed up like a skunk, which he picked out himself thinking it was a “moo-cow” and went door to door going MOO…It was pretty cute.

The morning of Halloween, it dawned on me that he was going to be getting lots of candy and I didn’t have anything for him to carry it in. I ran to CVS and got him one of those plastic pumpkin totes. I think he was more excited about the pumpkin then about anything else. He was banging on it like a drum all day.

I was also worried about what to do with all the candy. My toddler has never had any candy because he is as happy with some strawberries as he is with ice cream (strange I know). At the same time I want him to grow up with healthy eating habits and candy is out there and it isn’t evil in moderation, right?

I consulted two friends of mine, a dentist and a nutritionist, about what to do with all the candy. There answer was the same , but for different reasons. My friend the dentist, said to let my son have a few pieces the night of Halloween, and throw the rest away, or give it away. His rational is, it is better for kids to eat a lot of candy in the day or so, instead of eating one piece every day for several weeks. This is because all the sticky food accumulates and remains between the teeth for days on end–especially because kids don’t typically floss–and this is a set up for bacterial build up and eventual cavities.

My friend the nutritionist, had the same advice. Her reasoning is that it is better to let my son enjoy some candy on Halloween, and associate Halloween with candy and not as an everyday treat because that could be setting up bad habits and with childhood obesity on the rise, that is the last thing I want to do.

One last thought. I know I am safety obsessed, so when buying candy to give out to the kids in my neighborhood, I thought of which candy is safest, which is easy to choke on and which could cause allergic reactions. I was shocked at the number of people who gave out candy containing peanuts! Just an observation. Nowadays with pediatricians having parents wait till a child is 4 to expose them to peanuts, I think it is a poor choice for Halloween candy.