I love Halloween. Mostly.
I love kids dressing up as witches or Wonder Woman or whatever. I love people decorating houses with fake cobwebs and fake blood. I love chatting to neighbours I’ve only ever nodded at before. I love seeing lots of people wandering the streets on a warm evening.
I don’t care that it’s American. I mean, it’s not like Halloween is replacing some great traditional Aussie celebration like Drop Bear Day. It’s not like we had anything to do on October 31.
I just hate the candy. I even hate the word.
The treats that get handed out at Halloween are mostly the cheap stuff, the lowest of the low when it comes to lollies. Sugar with nothing but artificial colours and flavours added.
That’s understandable. People welcoming trick-or-treaters at Halloween might get hundreds of kids dropping by.
You can’t expect them to hand out good treats, like chocolate bars, because they’re too expensive, and you can’t expect them to hand out homemade treats, like cupcakes, because they’re too much effort. (Plus, a lot of parents would be wary of their kids taking food from a stranger that’s not sealed in plastic. Plus, food allergies.)
I love my kids’ excitement about getting dressed up and walking down the street. I just dread bringing them home afterwards, loaded up with cheap lollies.
I usually do a deal with my kids – eat maybe a couple of things and bin the rest, or swap them for something equally tasty but with a smidgen more nutrition. Even ice cream or cake is better.
It’s not like our kids need more lollies. My kids get lollies handed to them all the time. Teachers give them out as rewards. Kids have birthdays and hand out lolly bags to the whole class. Indulgent oldies dish them out, ignoring my feeble objections.
Enough is enough!
Wouldn’t it be good if we could take the candy out of Halloween – or at least reduce the sugar content of it a little bit?
Listen: The worst Halloween costumes for kids. Post continues after audio.
It’s such a new tradition in Australia that little kids would barely notice, or care, if they only got a handful of lollies instead of a bucketload.
Isn’t it enough that children get to dress up? Don’t they get excited just by visiting houses with spooky decorations – like Christmas time, when they visit houses with lights?
I’d love to see more people handing out stuff that doesn’t contain sugar. Last year, one house we visited had a bowl of plastic spiders for kids who didn’t want lollies. That was pretty cool. How about spooky stickers, or black balloons?
Halloween, with a reduced sugar content. Am I all on my own here?