Halloween: What’s Your Family Strategy?

The most spooktactular time of the year is upon us!  If your family is made up of young children, tweens and teens- I send you nothing but good thoughts and good luck!  I remember when our sons fell in the categories above-I would start planning the strategy for how much candy they will eat, when they will be allowed to eat the candies and what to do with the large pillow cases of candy they would bring home as they got older.

First, pre-school age up to say grade 7, the Halloween strategy above worked well.  I would sort the loot after the hunt- we got rid of the ones they clearly have no interest in eating.  Sort the ones they loved to eat in a separate bag from the ones they will eat out of boredom if available.  The boys would comply with  1-2 small candies per day after supper. No problem.  I would hide the rest and put out a few over the upcoming weeks, with each week, I put fewer and fewer until they don’t ask and I don’t put out.  I then throw out the remainder (usually a lot!)

From grade 8 up to well now! Grade 11 I thought the early training for managing their sweet intake would stick- not all!  I am still taking candy and hiding the bulk. The grade 11 son now sorts them outside the home and brings home 1 bag (he thinks I just fell off the cabbage cart!) while he hides his loot!  I still find them and I still remove the bulk and get rid of most them.

What’s my message here? Keep laying the foundation early on for healthy and balanced attitudes toward food and eating. I am pleased to say our older son now in his 20s doesn’t even go trick or treating. Will eat a few candies and is done. So, the lesson does get learned- we just need to be patient.

Happy Halloween!

Phyllis Reid-Jarvis, Mph, RD, PCC

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