I love Halloween.
The costumes. The silliness. The parties. The fact visiting neighbors unannounced is encouraged. The abundance of skulls and skeletons.
It’s my favorite holiday.
Halloween held this most favored status, in fact, long before my daughter was born.
While she has definitely increased my enjoyment of the holiday (I now have a partner in getting the canine costumed) I’ve always been a fan.
As a child I’d spend months plotting and planning my costume (what’s the backstory? what’s my motivation?).
I’d be wrapped up in creating, imagining and counting down to October 31st while the rest of North America was still steeping in summer fun.
As friends and family were starting to mourn the winding down of vacation, even as a child I was readying to decorate and bring out the skulls.
You may have noticed some themes to my love of Halloween.
Costumes. Characters. Skeletons. Skulls.
Nowhere have I mentioned the abundance of sugar.
Sweet stuffs wouldn’t even make my Top Five Reasons I Love Halloween! list.
It’s not, as you may be assuming, because I’m a “grown up.”
Even when I was little the thrill of getting costumed, attending parties and running around my neighborhood at night was far more thrilling than an infusion of sugar could ever be.
Now that I am an adult and a (finger quote) healthy living expert (unF.Q.) I find other parents seek me out this time of year for advice.
“How do we keep our kids from eating too much candy? It’s everywhere this time of year?”
“How can I create a healthy, holiday party so my child doesn’t want to go Trick or Treating and gather a bag filled with junk?”
The answer I give is always the same.
The answer is, I believe, the reason Halloween never really became about the sweets for me.
The answer is why I don’t struggle with over-consumption of junk as an adult.
The answer, over time, has been broken down into three reasons.
Halloween is just one day. I know it feels as though the candy comes out when it’s still summer and stays on shelves through December—but it really is just one day.
I strive to emphasize with my daughter how any single day really doesn’t “matter” as our healthy life is the sum of all of our days strung together!
I focus with my family on how any single meal really isn’t all that “important” given the backdrop of our healthy life being the sum of all our meals over time.
That said, I do understand, with parties and dress-up days at school, how Halloween can feel as though it stretches on for a full month.
Tip: Mark a red X on your calendar on the days where parties/events occur. If you’re anything like I am this process helps you realize how few “sweet treat focused events” there really are.
Practice what you wanna preach. Quite frankly I don’t change at all no matter the holiday. All things in moderation are fine. My Halloween focus is not on the food but the fun! I love Halloween and have (hooray!) passed that adoration on to my eight year old. She’s watched as I decorate and dress up. She’s seen how much fun I have with the costumes and the skull-stuffs. No matter how it may seem at times, we parents are the biggest influence in our children’s lives. Even with the backdrop of school parties and trick or treating to her the excitement of Halloween is found in the fun and not the sugar.
Tip: If you aren’t quite there yet with being able to resist the sugar make this Halloween one where you get in character! Create a story for yourself regarding exactly who you are and why you’re choosing not to indulge in the sweets. Fake it till you make it!
Forbidden never works. This notion has been a backdrop for much that I do as a mother. Barbies? Not my thing, but I realized early on if forbidden they became that much more alluring. Playing with make-up? I still don’t wear it as a 45-year-old woman, yet I decided to let my daughter experiment with it inside our house. I decided the moment I issued an emphatic NO! I’d empower the face-paint and make it more attractive to her. I’ve chosen to approach Halloween sugar the same way. “Sure you may have a piece of chocolate and afterward lets have dinner together as a family.”
Sure, the sugary excitement may reach an all time high the night of the 31st and yet, since it’s not forbidden, I invariably I find myself tossing out stale sweets the second week of November.
Most important for what can feel like a sugary celebration?
Get into character.
Embrace the silliness.
It might surprise you how the sweet stuff slips into the background without your even realizing it.
What’s your best tip for taking the focus of the holiday off consumption and onto costumes?