Halloween candy: A treat for kids and a trick on parents

Halloween can turn any mom into a real witch, especially when she lays down the rules about candy. Donate, toss, freeze or keep; every candy solution has its own element of wicked.

But with the infinite wisdom of a first-time parent, I thought I had found the answer to the Halloween candy dilemma the year my son turned 3.

“Let’s allow him to eat all the candy he wants on November 1st,” I told my husband. “Then on November 2nd, we’ll give the candy to the dentist.”

My reasoning was that this plan would be best for my son’s teeth. But I failed to consider his blood sugar.

By 2 p.m. the day after Halloween, our little Buzz Lightyear was rolling on the carpet and moaning. He also had a death grip on the handle of his orange pumpkin. No way was he was letting it go, even though his stomach was revolting. Hmm … Very interesting.

“You and your psychology major,” my husband told me. “This can’t be good for him.”

And no, it wasn’t. Our preschooler hadn’t eaten real food all day. (But I had brushed his teeth about a bazillion times.)

“How about an apple?” I asked him.

Buzz responded with an incoherent slur. I think it was, “Hand me another Tootsie Roll, Mama.”

By November 2nd, Buzz wasn’t eating anything at all, but had recovered a tremendous amount of energy.

So the next year when my son turned 4 and became Harry Potter, I suggested a new plan. “Let’s keep things low-key,” I told my husband. “We’ll only trick-or-treat at a few houses in the neighborhood.”

My husband agreed that this sounded like a great idea. But we hadn’t counted on Grammy taking Harry to a magical adventure at Alderwood Mall before trick-or-treating even started.

By the time it got dark and our jack-o’-lantern was lit, Harry was already hopped up on sugar. If you’d have handed him a Nimbus 2000, he could have flown away all by himself.

Our 4-year-old made it around the cul-de-sac OK, but when he rounded the corner and hit the new neighbors’ house, he hit their doorway hard.

“Oh, look!” they said. “A little Harry Potter!”

Thirty seconds later they were reaching for a garden hose. It’s too bad Hermione wasn’t there to cast some sort of vanishing spell. “Evanesco vomit!”

Of course I felt really embarrassed, so the next day I brought the neighbors some homemade jam. It was my special all-fruit jam. Usually, you see, I’m really careful about sugar.

But as the years pass I continue to wonder. Do you think that jam got eaten? Probably not!

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.com.

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