I like the costumes, and I like the jack-o-lanterns, but I love the candy.
Yup, I’m human and I have my favorite treats, too. Halloween is the rare time when I don’t flip the package over and read the nutrition label to check out the contents; and if I did, it would steal the magic. High fructose corn syrup. Check. Chemical dyes. Check. Artificial flavors. Check. Pounds of nutrition-less calories. Check. Nougat. Check. What is nougat, anyway? Nevermind, ignorance is bliss.
Candy is one of those things you just don’t mess with on Halloween unless you want an unsparing backlash. Go ahead and try it if you want. Many have tried healthier options before. Popcorn balls, raisins, bags of nuts, toothbrushes. Nice try. All you get is a gutter or mailbox full of your good intentions…if the little ghouls are feeling merciful. So let’s just go with the flow on this one and focus on damage control.
My primary concern is not what goes into the bag on Halloween, but what makes it into your mouth, and this is where you do have a choice. I will address you parents, or should I say “scavengers” first, with a couple of simple Halloween candy tips.
1) The bag of candy is for your children. They did the work, they get the “fruit” of their labor. Keep your mitts out of it and your regrets will be minimal.
2) Don’t buy your favorite candy to pass out. Do you really think you will leave it alone? Pick something you can resist. At my house we don’t buy M&M’s because I have no resistance to their powers (they literally have my initials on them).
3) The leftover candy you were passing out needs to leave your house. The last kid to ring your doorbell is a winner. Load them up with the all the remaining candy, especially if you were a fool and chose your favorite candy (see No. 2).
Now, what to do with that huge bag of candy your child(ren) brought home. Realize you will be initiating an epic battle if you just try to throw it away or covertly dispose of it, so don’t expect your kids to understand. Let them pick out their favorite pieces and involve them in the disposal of the remainder. I have heard a few great ways to manage the damage of Halloween candy.
1) Let your kids trade it in. I know some parents who offer a bigger prize (not candy) in trade for the contents of the bag. Be creative. Think about what your child enjoys and make it an offer he or she can’t refuse. An event, toy, or other “currency” (one-on-one time with you?) clearly demonstrates your priorities.
2) Use the candy for something. A brilliant father I know hosts a dads and kids gingerbread house competition around Christmas time. Every team gets the same house kit, but can only decorate with candy they collected and brought from Halloween. Pretty smart.
3) Donate the candy. There are several organizations/groups in our area that will distribute candy to those who could use a treat. Some local dentists will even buy your candy and send it to soldiers serving us overseas. Check out www.halloweencandybuyback.com.
This time of year is so much fun, but don’t dishonor you or your children’s bodies with an obscene amount of sweets. Enjoy some of your favorites, then discard of the rest in a responsible way. Have a safe and Happy Halloween.
Mark Moreland is the owner of Body Outfitters Personal Training Studio in Zionsville and has 13 years of experience as a personal trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.