Mom to Mom: Halloween Fun
Halloween is a very tricky time of year for me (no pun intended here). I love the holiday, the decorating, and the excitement. However, nailing down costumes ahead of time with four kids can be a little tough. How is it they know exactly which backpack they want for school, the kind of shoes they want to wear, and which food to put in their lunches, but when it comes to being something fun for a day, they just can’t decide?
I always thought with a family of six it would be fun to all be one theme – you know, like a bunch of vegetables, characters from the Wizard of Oz, or even colored M&Ms. Earlier this year, we all decided to dress up as characters from Scooby Doo. The kids divvied up the list and decided I would make the best Velma (you know, the plain one with the bob and glasses who wears orange and red). Well as luck would have it, the kids quickly grew tired of this idea and are now moving in all different directions – Darth Vader, the Smurfs and Lightning McQueen. No originality in this household. I remember the days when I was younger I would really try to be creative. I was a jar of jelly beans, a Nestle Crunch Bar, a panda bear – you name it, it seemed we could create it. But now it seems that whatever is the latest hit at the box office, newest DS game, or most popular television show is what my kids lean toward. And yes – two of the kids were Darth Vader last year- so we’re in good shape there. Thankfully, I won’t have to worry about running out at the last minute to get their costumes.
Our neighborhood is great for trick-or-treating. Several families meet for a potluck at one house. When we’re done eating, some of us stay behind to hand out candy while the others take the kids around. Even the neighbors who don’t have kids like to get in on the action – some of their yards are the scariest yet!
When the night winds down, it’s time to figure out what to do with the candy. All that candy! UGH. I cringe at what some people give out – yet I rejoice at other treats. Last year, someone actually gave out organic fruit snacks! I couldn’t believe it!
We have tried different ways to deal with the candy overload. When we only had my daughter and son, I was able to stash the candy away after a few weeks and they would forget about it. As the years went on, they became convinced that candy more than a month old is old and yucky (don’t ask how they got that idea). But now that they are in school, they see kids packing candy in their lunch boxes or eating it after school throughout the whole holiday season, so that trick doesn’t work anymore. And my younger two, for some reason, are just candy fanatics. They will NEVER forget there is candy somewhere in the house!
To stem the candy tide, we have our kids sort through their bags and keep their favorites, and then they put what they don’t want in a pile. (When they go to bed, I take a little bit more out of their bags.) Then, we donate what they are not going to eat. Some dentist offices collect the candy and send it overseas to our troops. Our church collects candy to give away at the fall festival, held in early November.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you balance their candy intake with healthy food and encourage proper eating habits– especially this time of year.
Mom to Mom is a column written by Mary Parra, an Ahwatukee mother of four and a local journalist.