Halloween Post-Mortem

Thanks for all the great discussion in the comments of my guest blogger’s post Fed Up With Halloween. As with so many things I have learned since blogging school lunch, food is personal and so is Halloween.

I thought you might be interested in what we did for Halloween. Our child care center mentioned that parents could provide treats to the kids. I thought about what to send for Charlie for a long time. I wanted to send non-food items, but on the other hand I wanted to support independent candy makers. So I compromised…

I sent 20 treat bags with Charlie to be handed out to his friends. I labeled the bags as “from Charlie” because I have seen the chaos in classrooms when the teacher and the kids forget who brought what to share.

Every bag contained a Halloween pencil, a temporary tattoo, and a YummyEarth lollipop. I decided that if I opted out of candy, I wouldn’t be putting money towards manufacturers who are doing candy right. So I bought YummyEarth lollipops. Here’s a blurb about the company from their website:

 As big-time lollipop fans and new dads, we invented YummyEarth to share delicious treats with our kids made only of stuff we would be proud to cook with at home.  We proudly handcraft 22 delicious flavors with real fruit extracts and are just as proud of what is in YummyEarth as what is not; in fact, we even use organic black carrots and organic pumpkin for fabulous color in our organic lollipops!  Everything YummyEarth makes is certified organic or all natural, gluten-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, and has no chemical colors, artificial flavors, or high fructose corn syrup, just fabulous award winning taste.

Just to be clear, I didn’t hand out candy at our door. We live in a neighborhood with older people with few families so no one ever stops by.

My little swashbuckling rapscallion

Did we trick or treat? We sure did. Charlie was a pirate, but his costume wasn’t warm enough for him to go walking around without a jacket. We plopped him in the stroller (haven’t done that in awhile) and put his jacket on him like a blanket. That way when he ding-donged a doorbell, he could be in full costume without a jacket. We only walked around the block, but it’s amazing how quickly that pumpkin filled up. After about 10 homes, we had half a pumpkin, which is way more candy than anyone in our house could eat.

When we got home he wanted a piece of candy. We let him choose from his pumpkin and he chose a jolly rancher (made me nervous that he would choke, but he didn’t). He asked for a piece of candy after school the following two days, but since then he has forgotten about the candy. That means that Mommy and Daddy have a lot of candy on our hands.

I believe most parents don’t let their kids gorge irresponsibly, but instead are like us — left with candy they themselves end up eating. I have eaten more candy than my son has… and for a lot of parents, it’s the last thing we need.

Facts about Halloween (Source – Huffington Post):

  • Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy a year for Halloween (16 billion fun size Snickers bars or 158 trillion individual candy corns).
  • Two billion dollars are spent on Halloween candy, $1.2 billion was on chocolate candy and only $680 million on sugar candy.
  • Americans purchase 20 million pounds of candy corn.
  • The top five candy selling days are in October.
  • Google searches for gluten-free candy are currently 20 percent higher than searches for sugar-free candy.
  • The average American household spends $44 a year on Halloween candy.
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14 thoughts on “Halloween Post-Mortem

  1. Hello “Mrs Q”,

    I am so glad to have received the good-bye email from Dr Susan Rubin (sad she is going ) but great for her onto other projects – itconnected me back to the ‘school lunch” world…I have just bought your book and cannot wait to read it!
    I have a great deal I would like to share as the food in our nation is such a horrible, sad statement of what we don’t care about- people ! I attempted to make changes while my boys were in school and felt so alone..although I have heard that they did remove the drink machines!

    BUT FIRST- I want to comment on Halloween. My two boys are grown, 23 and 18 yrs of age. I spent this Halloween at a friends house (as she invited me for dinner), I offered to clean up while she and her young children went out into the neighborhood. While answering the door for her and handing out candy to her neighborhood I had many flashbacks of what Halloween WAS and what it has become.When I was a child growing up in the 50s and 60s the most exciting part of Halloween was your costume ! The best part of the costume then was how creative could you ( or your Mother with her sewing machine) be! No one ever wanted to be the same character , we used old jewelry, hats, scarfs, fabric and yes make – up , the excitement was seeing your friends and what they had become for the night…there were no store bought costumes and the time spent knocking on doors was only about an hour, and there was very LITTLE wrapped candy-

    Halloween today ( and I watched it transition with my two sons) has become a disgusting, commercially driven prfit machine, houses are lit up like Christmas, childrens costumes are plastic and boring…the neighborhood I was in this year had a rented limo where 4 sets of parents were “partying” while the kids were walking the streets.

    I feel like the essence of Halloween was lost about 15-20 years ago and it makes me sad.
    If I am back at home next year my lights will be off.

    thank you for your blog- it is exciting to have a place to share frustartions and solutions
    SEA- in N Ca

  2. YummyEarth has the BEST suckers!! Whenever I am in the hospital (pretty often) I get a few from the gift shop because they are so awesome. How did you hear about them?

  3. One of the ladies I work with hides away her kids candy after a couple days, then she brings it to the office and doles it out daily in the candy jar on her desk. Her desk is in a high traffic area, so it is a very effective way for her to get rid of it!

  4. If you’re looking for something else to do with the candy you can do science experiments with them (google search, there’s a good one for skittles), donate, or melt down the chocolate and have a fondu night.

  5. We have lived in military housing for years and the numbers of kids coming to our door is outrageous… except for this year. I did a mix of little toys and candy, but ended up with so much left over. Add to that the half a small tote bag we got when I took our 3 year old around and I’m left with more candy and treats than we could eat in a year.

    I’ve picked out certain types for holiday baking this year, but took most of the candy to the local starbucks and donated it to the baristas. I have it on pretty good authority that they often need a little pick me up and coffee can often just be to much for them. They were insanely happy and so was I… to get that stuff out of the house. The little toys I had left over, I put in the Halloween bin for next year.

    As for the candy my daughter received from her round of Trick or Treating… We read the story of the Sugar Sprite Fairy and left the candy out overnight and when T woke up, the fairy had taken all but 3 pieces of candy and left a small toy as a thank you for the candy we left to fuel her through the winter.

  6. Wow those facts are crazy! We don’t have little ones yet (first one will be debuting in May!) But we had our Church’s fall harvest party, with trunk or treat and trick or treaters in our neighborhood. We handed out glow stick bracelets and yummy earth lollies. I wanted a little healthier Halloween for the kiddos, but still with something they’d like. Thanks for all your great ideas!

  7. YummyEarth Lollipops are the BEST. My kids love them and I have noticed in their Halloween baskets, many parents were giving them out. However, we did get a lot of chocolate. Kids could care less after a day but my husband is happy.

  8. This is my first time posting. A couple days ago I rediscovered your blog and couldnt put down the blog until I read all the blog posts from beginning to now. Food looks very different to me now. Wow.

    Anyway, the whole reason I wanted to post was to share what we did for halloween. My older daughter has a nut allergy (not peanuts — big difference) and any candy occasion makes me a little on edge. Combine that with my disdain for cheap candy, commercialized costumes and goblins and stuff, and I have ended opting out of it all together, both children in tow. We did get a costume for my 5-y-o (Costco!) and making one for my 7-y-o (she was a bookworm) for their costume parade at school, but that evening we went out for dinner, then went candy shopping at Target, and finally went to ToysRUs to use up a couple of gift cards we had and let them pick out whatever they wanted up to the limit on the card. Out of all the candy at Target, the girls picked out sugarless gum. SCORE!! Mom is happy, dentist is happy, and kids are happy. The girls told everyone what a fun evening they had the next day and I don’t think they felt deprived. We didnt have to deal with any candy we don’t like, and better yet, we don’t have to deal with any allergens.

    As for the fact that the treats are all commercialized and not homemade anymore, it’s because of all the creepy weird people that would put razor blades in apples and stuff. Thats what we were warned about in the 80s anyway. Better store-bought than tainted, I guess.

  9. I have been put out for years with commercialism in Halloween & now as my last kid just left college a year ago I’m struggling to still maintain what we did for our kids for years. I actually make some treat bags for our children of our friends & neighbors, deliver them a day before the holiday with homemade treats & pencils, erasers, etc. much the same as you did & then I head to my daughter’s & handout pencils, stickers & things like pretzels. We generally turn the lights off once the younger trick or treating kids are done & don’t answer the door for the later evening, older kids with tricks in mind. Frankly, next year I am looking for Yummy Earth.

  10. You could also see if a local scout troop wants the candy to make into treat bags for local hospitals, veteran’s homes, etc. I know my troop really appreciates donations like this for our charity work because our girls are from low-income homes themselves and can’t always afford the materials for community service projects they’d like to engage in.

  11. We went trick or treating at Whole Foods and they gave out yummy earth candy as well as some other awesome treats like an apple, juice boxes, granola bars, Annie’s crackers, and fruit leather!

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