The Halloween season has officially arrived at the Rau house. Last night we pulled out our decorations and placed them in their traditional spots on mantels, shelves and steps. It’s funny to watch the kids place things “where they belong” simply because it’s where they went last year. And the year before that.
My little creatures of habit.
Halloween in the Rau house also means that it’s time to develop my strategic plan for class parties, candy and other Halloween treats. Having a child who cannot have artificial food dyes and most of the artificial preservatives in the majority of candy out there makes Halloween the most challenging of all holidays.
For over four years we’ve been offering a swap out of candy from trick or treating for candy without artificial ingredients, money or toys and my kids have never complained. Yes, I’m incredibly blessed with amazing children who just “understand”. I don’t know what I did to deserve that.
I’m also incredibly thankful for Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s for offering a good variety of options that are free of preservatives and artificial ingredients. They make it so easy for me to bring the kids in and let them choose anything they want. The trick to keeping the kids happy is to have the “safe” candy on hand Halloween night so they can experience the instant gratification of coming home with a sack full of candy and enjoying some that night.
I know some day my kids will outgrow trick or treating, or care less because they don’t get to keep anything. Each year we check in with them to make sure they still want to participate in the holiday festivities, and each year, including this one where my son is almost 9, they reply “yes of course!”
I’m glad they still enjoy Halloween festivities. I enjoy putting on my witch hat and strolling the neighborhood with them too. And I don’t mind going through their loot at the end of the night to determine what they can’t have (usually everything!) and picking out just one or two peanut butter cups for myself. Shhh…don’t tell them! This happens after they go to bed!
This year I learned about Switch Witch – have you heard of this? Apparently there’s now a story book about a witch that comes in Halloween night and switches out candy. That’s a very sweet concept and I think this could really help younger kids especially feel a little better about “giving up” their candy for something else.
I sort of feel like the Switch Witch in our house!
So, what to do with all that candy?
I have to admit, even though the pile of candy is mostly a mountain of artificial ingredients that started life in a science lab, I still feel guilty throwing them away. But I don’t want other kids to eat more of it any more than I’d want my own to.
A few years I’ve taken our candy to the office. We have also donated it to our church a few years. They incorporate some candy into the Christmas baskets for families who might not have much of a holiday.
Someday I hope to see better options in mainstream stores so that everyone can have easy access to affordable candy and treats without artificial ingredients. Until then, we will continue our “switch witch” tactic. And stock up on Yummy Earth organic hard candies and naturally delicious treats like gummy bears, jelly beans and licorice at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods!
How do you handle all the sweets and Halloween treats in your house?