Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Special Halloween Tradition

I admit, I was very anxious the first Halloween with D.  Even though Jenna was rocking her pump for almost two months prior, it was still pretty tense for me.

What if she goes animal on me and starts ripping into the candy like a sugar-crazed...well...KID! 

The thing is, it didn’t happen like that at all.  Jenna was just like most kids and thoroughly enjoyed the actual act of trick-or-treating.  She wasn’t focused on the candy in the least.  At least, not until we wrapped up the trick-or-treating part of the program.  And after a quick, post-haunting check revealed a low blood sugar, she enjoyed several pieces of candy as we made our way back home.  Besides, I find candy in small amounts is pretty easy to deal with.  It’s the burgers, pizza, pasta and french fries that give us the most grief with regards to glycemic control.

But candy is still candy and although I firmly believe kids need to be allowed to pig out on junk now and then, I like to limit the amount consumed.  Halloween and Easter candy is usually around for months after the fact because it is metered out as after-meal treats.  So reducing the overall amount consumed is a good thing.

For several years now, even before the big D came a knockin’, I have employed a little help from Charlie Brown and used the Great Pumpkin concept to help minimize the amount of junk my kids consume.  Here’s how it works in our house:

Once home from trick-or-treating we pour out the candy bags and my girls have fun sorting and examining the night’s pull.  This is when my husband and I take the opportunity to check all the treats for safety purposes and to perform a little quality control, of course!

After the scoping...uh, I mean....sorting of the treats, we ask our girls to make some decisions as to which goodies they want to swap for non-candy treats from the Great Pumpkin.  The more candy they are willing to part with, the greater the trade!  Often it ends up being close to half the night’s haul.  They then place these treats into a special bowl for placement by the front door of our house.  The Great Pumpkin visits sometime in the night and makes the swap.  The next morning my girls race to find a few fun items for each of them such as a new video, a toy and a book in place of the candy!  Another great item to include, as a friend of mine suggested, is a new toothbrush!  I think that’s an awesome idea and I’m going to...uh, I mean... the Great Pumpkin is going to include one as part of the trade for each of my girls this year.

The Great Pumpkin usually leaves a letter of thanks for the great trade and bids them farewell until next year when he hopes they can do business again.  My girls enjoy this tradition very much and are only too happy to divvy up their goodies.

The only question I haven’t been able to answer is what the Great Pumpkin does with all that candy.


Brad Kane said...

GREAT idea, going to tell the tale of the "Great Pumpkin" tonight! We've been able to convince Cadence that donating her candy to other kids is a great idea but those days are numbered. Thanks for the Snoopy reset!

Mike Hoskins said...

Great tradition! Love it.

As to what the Great Pumpkin does with all the candy? Aside from feeding it to Snoopy, of course...

The non-day answer: the candy is planted in the patches, and about a year later, pumpkins are born!

The D-answer: it's melted down to make glucose tablets!

Unknown said...

Great post!

We do the exact same thing, except they go to the store to pick out a toy :)

I'm going to link this post in my Halloween post :)

Karen said...

What a great idea!! I want the Great Pumpkin to come to MY house. ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm totally going to start that tradition! Thanks for sharing!!!