Every year, I go through the same turmoil when it comes to Halloween. I hate to be that person, the one who puts a damper on a pretty fun holiday. But when it comes to trick-or-treating, it pains me. I know how unhealthy Halloween candy is. I use the word “unhealthy” here but I’m wanting to go with “toxic”. It’s loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives – and I mean LOADED! Some of that really cheap candy is basically artificially colored and flavored high-fructose corn syrup and that’s it. I’ve read the research linking artificial colors with behavioral issues in children. I feel like if I give out Halloween candy I’m not only supporting an industry that is counter to my mission in life but I’m contributing to the obesity epidemic and kicking these kids down the path to a life of insulin shots, Lipitor, and beta blockers. Poison them now with artificial everything and poison them later with pharmaceuticals. Good grief!
Even when I was a kid teachers, parents, and even the news broadcasters warned you never to eat anything homemade because some crazy person might have poisoned it. Don’t eat any fruit because some crazy person might have put a razor blade inside or injected it with poison. The message: “Junk food is safe as long as it comes in a wrapper. Fruit could kill you. And the neighbor who spent all day baking you homemade cookies might be trying to feed you shards of metal or poison.” What about the crazy person who works in the candy lab figuring out just how to get your kids eyes, teeth, and tongue to turn blue with FD&C Blue Number 1 for a billion dollar profit? You trust that person but not your neighbors?
You know those dyes are considered “safe” when they are consumed in small amounts – I don’t think they’re safe at all but we’ll go with the government wisdom for the moment – but when, in a week’s time, a 40-pound child consumes 2-3 pounds of the stuff between school parties, trick-or-treating, and the rest of the Halloween festivities, they must be getting close to the LD-50! (That’s the dose required to kill 50% of the animals it’s tested on; Lethal Dose 50% – all your food additives have one.) Do you remember when there weren’t any red M&M’s because lo and behold, they figured out that particular food dye caused cancer? Just because they consider it “safe” today doesn’t mean they won’t be recalling it tomorrow.
What are my options? First of all, nothing with nuts because of all the peanut and tree nut allergies kids have these days. What about something the kid can use instead of eat? Remember how kids talked about the dentist who gave out toothbrushes instead of candy? I think a lot of dentists spent November first cleaning egg off their house. What to do? What to do? I don’t want to give out a little plastic trinket that won’t ever be recycled. Maybe I’ll give out pencils or something. Maybe little notebooks or bubble stuff. Maybe stickers. Maybe coupons for vitamins from the health food store. I’m kidding.
I know some parents are getting proactive about getting around the Halloween candy issues. Some parents buy the candy from their kids and then bring it to work to poison their coworkers. Some parents throw away a bunch of their kids’ candy when the kids are sleeping (bad for the environment, but I get it). Some parents just eat their kids’ candy and start the holiday weight gain season early. If it takes a village to raise a child, then maybe the village should do something besides contribute to the obesity epidemic by giving out something that is kid-friendly rather than little berry flavored blue and purple calories. Maybe I’ll just give out insulin. (Kidding, but you get my point).