Friday, November 2, 2007

The Post Halloween Blues

They're here once again, The Post Halloween Blues. All that excitement, all those costumes, all that candy. As I write, Charley is curled up in my bed with a tummy ache. He's decided that today will be a "no candy" day. I really struggle with the junk food aspect of this holiday. I love the costumes and the parade downtown and the glowing pumpkins. Going door to door is so friendly and seems to bring out the sweetness in most people. But the mountains of crap that enters my home afterwards leaves me reeling.

For years, we lived out in the country and didn't really trick or treat. We'd dress up and visit friends or go to a party. Last year we moved to town and the onslaught began. I couldn't believe how much candy came back to our house. I'm sure it was no more than I had when I was a kid, but it felt like an assault of sorts. We eat well most of the time. Sugary treats are just that. A treat, and we tend to choose them carefully. So last year I struggled with how to unschool Halloween.

The girls are pretty even keeled about the whole thing. They seem to know when to say when and just don't care about junk food that much. Charley, age 6, is another story. He becomes obsessed. When a friend mentioned that the Halloween Witch visited their house on Halloween night and traded candy for a special toy each year, my ears perked up. The kids asked whether I thought that would work at our house. Who knows? I said. Can't hurt to try. So the kids sifted through their treat bags, choose a handful of their favorites to keep, and left the rest next to the door for the Halloween Witch. And she came!!! Last year she brought some cool art supplies, but this year she must have been in a rush because she brought cash. The kids were happy to pick out their own new toy at a store downtown the next day.

It's still hard to see the kids consuming that much sugar in a short amount of time, but I'm glad they've found a way to keep us all a bit more sane. Charley is learning the hard way that too much crap feels well, crappy. I could say no and insist that he stop eating all that sugar, spare him the discomfort and engage in a battle of the wills. But I believe it's important for kids (and adults)to learn for themselves. I'm glad it's him choosing a no candy day today.

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