Happy Halloween (aka Scary Sugar Day)

Last night I was thinking what a crazy American tradition it is, building an entire holiday around consumption of sugary sweets. Of course, it didn’t start out that way. Originally, it was simply a fall fest to drive away evil spirits. Sugar was introduced later with the Trick-or-Treat tradition.

Nowadays, it is aptly referred to as the “Sugar Fest, with Imagination.”

Mexico’s Day of the Dead, for example, is more about fine dining: “In some places, people will have dinner [at the cemetery], usually dishes that were the favorites of the deceased,” explains Jorge Carretero of MIT’s Mexican Student Association. “In a way, it is like sharing a meal with them.”

Our Halloween “feast” is more about getting a sugar-rush: the time-honored tradition of kids eating Halloweendbooktoo much candy and groaning from a belly ache later. And what a nightmare for parents of diabetic children!

I guess it helps that there are plenty of online tips on how to deal with Halloween. I also just discovered this very cute book on Trick-or-Treat for Diabetes, which you D-parents may know quite well.

I am happy to report that my three don’t have diabetes, but I’m still concerned about the sugar loading. So here’s what I do: put their candy in the cupboard and let them pick a few pieces each night for dessert. Of course, I sort it first (when they’re in bed) and discard anything too disgustingly gooey or rock-hard. I also immediately throw out anything too tempting to me (me first, right?). Over the next week or so, I gradually throw out more and more (when they’re in bed). Luckily, my kids aren’t old enough to read this blog.

Anyway, the costumes are fun. We’ve got a vampire rock-star, a shiny unicorn, and an oh-my-God-how-cute poodle going at our house this year. Enjoy!


4 Responses

  1. Jay
    Jay November 1, 2005 at 7:48 am | | Reply

    Where are the pictures of the costumes?! I thought your story of how you deal with the kids candy was quite funny. I picture you sneaking around like a spy ditching the evil candy.

  2. Patrick Schmidt
    Patrick Schmidt November 1, 2005 at 9:38 am | | Reply

    Since we have a different problem with candy (I’m diabetic, but my son has allergies to peanuts, nuts, dairy and more), we have instituted a trading program. He is allowed to keep the little candy he isn’t allergic to (doled out over many, many weeks) and the rest of the candy is traded for small toys we have obtained throughout the year which we keep in a prize box (he can earn these for good behavior too, so he knows what’s in there). It works out well, though last night he nearly wiped out the box. What’s nice is that he really isn’t a candy kid, but he loves trick-or-treating, getting dressed up and being with his friends.

  3. AmyT
    AmyT November 2, 2005 at 8:46 am | | Reply

    Hi Jay: you’re quite right. Picture me sneaking around after-hours in a Zorro mask tossing Halloween candy in the trash :)

    Pat: I feel for you. Nut allergy is at least as scary as diabetes in kids!

  4. Jeri
    Jeri November 20, 2005 at 6:33 pm | | Reply

    It’s a good thing those scary sugary treats did not tempt you enough. I also put myself first in line, with regards to avoiding diabetes, that is. Thankfully, my kids are not so fond of sweets because they have been scared of other things, such as dentists.

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