In a couple of weeks on October 31st, I’ll be putting a “Super Hero Lion” costume on a 4 1/2 year old little boy and a Thomas the Train costume on a 3 year old. Their younger brother will be dressed as a puppy or maybe Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Our youngest, being only 4 months old, won’t be getting a costume, but will be rocking a fun onesie.
Like a good mom, I’ll dress them up, likely putting warm clothes under their costumes, depending on the weather. I’ll take their picture on the front porch steps.
Like a good dad, Jeff will walk the oldest 3 around the neighborhood, going door-to-door, knocking on houses and saying Trick-or-Treat. If all goes well, neighbors will drop goodies into their bags and my boys will say “Thank You!” and race onto the next house. Still being so young, they won’t go for very long – especially if it’s cold.
Like a good mom, I’ll share in their excitement when they get home and how proud they’ll be proud of their stash. They’re still a little young, so they don’t really know what all the different candies are, but they certainly know their favorites.
Like a good mom, I won’t let them eat hardly any of it. I’ll put 3 exhausted little boys to bed, hopefully to dream good dreams of the fun that was had. In the morning, they’ll wake up, remember what happened the night before and ask to see their Halloween buckets. But they won’t find candy there.
Like a good mom, I’ll have taken away most of their candy, sent it to work with Jeff, and replaced it with money or little toys. I’ll hope that their disappointment isn’t too great.
This is the first year that I’ll have to do this. It might be the last. Or it could be the first of many. See this year, we’re on a new diet to determine if at least 2 of our boys are sensitive to some food additives or even some foods.
As probably everyone knows, an effort called “The Teal Pumpkin Project” is a campaign for people to give out non-food items on Halloween. It’s just raising awareness, not trying to force anyone.
I read a post about it and some of the comments were really mean like:
- It isn’t my job to parent your kids!
- Oh, Boo Hoo, poor little Johnny can’t have sugar. Shouldn’t be my problem!
- If it’s really important to you [the parent], then you follow around your kid and prevent them from eating anything.
- If its that big of a deal, then your kid should just stay home and eat a carrot.
I get it. There is a cause for EVERYTHING these days. But the Teal Pumpkin project isn’t about forcing people to give out bouncy balls instead of Reeses. And no one is requiring you to hand out stickers instead of Snickers. And believe me, parents are trying to parent and be on top of what their children eat. No one is asking people to parent someone else’s kids. And this isn’t an “Every kid deserves a trophy” cause. (Or at least it shouldn’t be.)
And yes, my kids could just stay home and eat a carrot. Ultimately, that’s the decision a parent faces:
- Choice #1: Should I let my kids have the experience of Trick-or-Treating, knowing that I’ll have to switch out the candy?
- Choice #2: Should I just prevent the disappointment and skip Trick-or-Treating?
For my family, I’ve opted for Choice #1. At least with the age that they are now. If we discover food allergies that make Trick-or-Treating problematic even they are teens, it might be a different decision.
The fact is: this isn’t a big deal. For you or for me.
For you, this is either something you learn about and get excited about or you don’t. Just like fireworks for veterans with PTSD, organ donation, feeding hungry school children, or breast cancer awareness. There are just some things that we get passionate about more than other things. It’s for people who say “Oh, I never thought of that! What a good idea!” If this cause resonates with you, Yay! If this doesn’t resonate with you, that’s okay too. Just don’t be a jerk about it.
For me, the bigger deal is figuring out their diet. It’s being their mom during meal times and snacks. It’s figuring out the best education options. The best potty training methods. The best discipline practices. Just about everything else I do in life is bigger than a once a year trick-or-treating event. It’s just nice when people put themselves in your shoes.