Yesterday, I posted a question on Facebook and was met with some wonderful responses. The question was essentially, "If you're a trying to run a health-conscious household, and if you truly believe that most sugary candy is actually damaging to people's health, then what should you give away to all of the little trick-or-treaters who visit on Halloween night "
I got some great responses! Raisins, fruit leathers, glow sticks, etc. Thanks to those responses, I went out and bought about 60 glow-stick bracelets (the kind that you snap and then they glow brightly for 6 horus or so). I think the kids will think these are neat, and will all want to wear them. I also picked up a bunch of small juice boxes with 100% juice in them. (They're pasteurized, of course, but at least it's not sugary junk.) So, between all of that, I think I'll make it through the night without getting egged.
(I realize we have some readers not from the U.S.A., so I'll explain that last part:? You see, Halloween is often accompanied by various bits of mischief carried out by local kids. I wouldn't say it's common, but it's not unheard of for various houses to be pelted with eggs, or for trees to be adorned with toilet paper on such a night. Giving out "lame" treats could possibly put you on some adolescent's "to-do" list for midnight mischief. Again, it's not like this is exactly common, but it does happen sometimes.)
Back when I was a kid, we did get the occasional pack of raisins during our trick-or-treating. But, we normally threw them out -- not so much because they weren't chocolate bars, but back then (as is still true today), there was always a "candy-fear" that permeated Halloween.Parents in general felt that, if something wasn't factory-sealed, then the possibility that it had been tampered with was higher. (Naturally, newscasts always seemed to highlight the most awful stories imaginable, perpetuating this fear.) So, any homemade popcorn balls, cookies, raisins (even though they were boxed), etc., went straight into the trash. Aside from that, after a cursory look-see from mom and dad, we were free to indulge in the night's bounty, usually to the point of a stomach ache.
While the overall health consciousness level is still painfully low in many parts of the world, I think it's 10x higher than it was when I was a kid. I can still remember, for example, my grandmother receiving her first microwave as a gift. She didn't trust it, and it sat unused in her basement for years.Within 5-10 years of that, though, microwaves were ubiquitous, and no one questioned their safety for a long time -- even though, intuitively, it's kind of obvious that microwaved food is not healthy. So, here we are nearly a decade into the 2000s, and it turns out Grandma was right. (They're still flying off the shelves at local Wal-Marts, of course, but I do think more people are leery than used to be.)
My point, though, was that with this increased health consciousness, I suspect a lot of parents are at least a little bothered by Halloween. On the one hand, you don't want to take fun experiences away from your kids, but you also don't want them to gorge on processed sugar. To invent a win-win scenario addressing this problem, Wendi came up with the "Sugar Witch" when KDcat was a wee youngster -- and we carried this tradition on until she was much older. Here's what we did:
On Halloween, KDcat would go off trick-or-treating with the other kids, as normal (chaperoned by yours truly, normally decked out in pirate attire). She'd have a huge blast doing this, usually returning home with a full pillowcase of candy. Because we usually held parties on Halloween, there were usually other kids at our home as well. So, they would usually spread their candy out on the kitchen floor, and sort through it all -- trading some goodies with others, ripping into some things right away. We didn't totally cut her off, of course... She did have a little, and was allowed to keep some of her favorites. But, she happily bagged up the bulk of her score as an offering for "The Sugar Witch."
You see, The Sugar Witch is Halloween's answer to Santa Claus or The Easter Bunny. What you would do is have the child place the offering somewhere dark and private (in our case, the back yard). They would then need to wait for a while (an hour or so). During that time, the Sugar Witch would make her magical visit, replacing the offering with a bag full of healthy, fun treats, toys, and gifts. For example, the Sugar Witch who visited our home usually left things like fruit tapes, vegan carob candies, beanie babies, small toys, etc. To KDcat, it was always 10x more exciting than a bag of belly-ache inducing candy bars.
Sometimes, the Sugar Witch accidentally dropped my daughter's bag of candy in my office at work the next day. VERY strange, eh ? Now, how do you suppose something like that happened ! (My coworkers didn't seem to mind!)
Raw Halloween Costume Potluck Tomorrow!
Finally, I wanted to remind everyone about the Pure Jeevan Halloween Bash, to be held tomorrow evening at our home. If you're a Pure Jeevan reader and would like to attend, please DO! Details here.
Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.
On October 31, 2009, wrote:
wish i could come to your party! I'm sure it will be so much fun.
love the idea of the sugar witch. one of my students last year who has tons of food allergies told me he still went trick-or treating but just collected the candy and it just sat there. much better idea to swap it out with something he could actually use.
On October 31, 2009, wrote:
So fun! I don't know a lot of people here, so I am hoping that by the time I have a toddler, I'll be living somewhere with lots of fun raw people, and we can have fun parties!
On November 1, 2009, wrote:
Great idea....will try that tonight or tomorrow....