When our kids were young, Halloween was a super special holiday. I had this stuffed bear that I dressed up in the theme from whatever event or holiday was coming up next. When the boys saw the pumpkin teddy bear costume, the excitement could not be contained. Because I was a thrifty mom, our boys created their costumes from scratch; looking back on Halloween now, our boys always had the most creative and off-the-wall costumes. Some costumes were even interactive. One year, our oldest son, Drew, went as a soda machine that dispensed soda when a quarter was deposited into the money slot. This ingenious costume proved also to put money in his pocket. This money making opportunity was not lost on our middle child, Chris, as the next year he made a popcorn vending machine that did the exact same thing.
On Halloween night, our house was filled with “loot”. Bags and bags of candy would be tossed out on the living room floor and the trading would begin. My sons would even line up all the candy to see whose line was longest and who got the best goodies. I allowed them to eat whatever they wanted that night and to choose 5 items they wanted to keep for later. They put all the rest in bowls to sacrifice to the “Candy Fairy”. While they slept, the Candy Fairy paid our house a visit, replacing the candy with a toy.
I know what you are wondering: What did I (the Candy Fairy) do with the candy? Well, I mentioned earlier that I was a very thrifty mom. I separated all the candy into zip lock bags and used what I could for Christmas Candy Houses. Smart, right?
As the years passed and our kids grew older, I found it harder and harder to partake in the candy giving ritual. I know that it is only once a year, and I know that it is “tradition.” But I look at it this way: I wouldn’t wear my seat belt only some of the time. Every time matters. My message doesn’t change just because everyone else following a tradition. Childhood obesity is rising at an alarming rate and we CAN do something about it. It starts with providing healthy options and turning away from disease-promoting foods.
In our Tabata Bootcamp and One Day to Wellness programs, we speak about the studies that have been conducted on sugar consumption. Bruce wrote about the lies from the sugar industry in his blog “Finding My Purpose at Age 56”. I cannot give children an abundance of food-like products that could cause such bad repercussions. As Bruce likes to say, “Is this food disease-promoting or health-promoting?” I can’t in good conscience give a child a disease-promoting food. Will I participate in Halloween? Of course! But I will do it in a manner that I feel is appropriate.
This year, we have joined the TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT. There will be a teal pumpkin outside our front door letting everyone know that non-food items will be offered. I have purchased glow sticks and super cute rubber duckies. I also have kids fitness workout DVDs for the families.
We have the ability to create change and to support health. We can start this Halloween. Will you join us?