According to research by the Indianapolis Sun that computed caloric values from individual candy information, the average child consumes approximately two pounds of candy on Halloween night, the equivalent of somewhere between 3,000 and 7,000 calories. It will effectively take a 100 pound child 44 hours to walk off the amount of sugar-induced calories consumed or 10 hours of a more physical activity such as playing soccer or basketball.
More than likely, you can personally witness the effects of their trick or treat expedition in the non-stop motion that resembles the Eveready Bunny from the time your own children get home until way past their normal bed-time.
So, what’s a health-conscious, caring parent to do? One of the best things involves more than a lesson in nutrition or calorie counting; it is one of proportion and budgeting. All it takes is reassurance and a box of little baggies. The baggies are used to portion out the candy into smaller amounts that your child can look forward to each day until the candy is used up.
With a bit of planning you can turn this into a ‘family activity that can be helpful and fun. When your child returns from Trick or Treating, you can go through their ‘stash’ with them. You section out the candy into portion-sizes that you approve of and they can select the candies they prefer for each bag. This way, your child will feel as if they still have a say and you will feel better knowing they won’t be overdosing on sweets.
You can even let them choose if they want to take the day’s baggie with them as a snack with lunch at school, or if they prefer to keep it at home for after school or dinner. The more involved in the choices your child has, the more likely they are to remain happy about the process.
And you will be teaching your child that it is important not to overdo things, even things we may feel are good. By teaching them to ration it this way, they will be able to see the benefit of making something last longer than using it up quickly and then having no more for later.
Once upon a time, this was known as temperance, a value that we used to see in society all the time. However, as America became more of the world’s leader and people began to live ‘the good life’ the value of temperance, doing without, slipped further and further into our past.
Maybe it’s time we think about bringing it back and Trick or Treat can provide us with a wonderful place to start.