I have to admit, I loved Melinda Wenner Moyer piece entitled, Let Them Eat Candy: Why allowing your kids to binge on Halloween may actually make them healthier for Slate. You know why I loved her piece? It made me feel better about my sometimes questionable parenting tactics. One of which is — as Moyer suggests — letting my kid totally binge on candy on Halloween. I felt like the minority, but as it turns out there are other parents – and researchers even — who back this practice.
Moyer states, “As much as I’m going to hate watching my kid swallow eight Snickers bars in 90 seconds, letting go of my controlling tendencies may be the best thing for my son’s long-term well-being.” The results of controlling your kids intake of the bounty they amassed during trick-or-treating could manifest itself in — as Moyer suggests — “our kids to develop abnormal relationships with food, increasing their risk for emotional eating and eating disorders.” That may be taking it a bit far, but I understand the sentiment. But at the same time, one could argue that allowing binge Halloween eating might lead to binge eating later on in life.
So why do I let my kid do this? My reasoning is this, I did it when I was a kid and I survived that one day of the year when my sugar intake was dozens of times it’s normal rate. And there a joy in being given that freedom. But the big thing for me? It’s that after my daughter eats her fill she declares that she is totally over candy and for days, weeks and even months she refrains from having too much, having learned her lesson on Halloween. It may not be the wisest of parenting strategies but it works for us. She learned the hard lesson of overindulgence. But oddly, when faced with that next Halloween it’s hard for her to remember that day a year ago, when she ate too much candy. It’s Halloween, let them enjoy (but don’t forget to have them brush their teeth!)
This theory, of letting a kid overindulge once a year, is even backed by a real life doctor! (Sense my enthusiasm!) “When kids know they will be able to have unrestricted access to candy from time to time, it will greatly reduce the lure,” explained Natalia Stasenko, a pediatric nutritionist with Tribeca Nutrition in Manhattan that Moyer talked to. And the candy vs. children subject is one that researchers have been studying such as a study done at Penn State and one that the Dutch did which Moyer mentions.
But I think a big thing also is to enforce with your kids that it’s NOT only about the candy as Moyer also promtes. It’s about the costumes, the community and having fun. The candy is just a sweet perk.