The other day I was reading an article about the atrocities and horrors of the calorie count of the average Halloween candy haul of a US child. Considering how short this article was, I couldn’t believe how many times I was offended.
Right away, we start on a bad foot. These are the first two paragraphs:
“The average U.S. child collects between 3,500 and 7,000 calories from candy on Halloween night, a public heath expert estimates.
Donna Arnett, head of the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, said a 100-pound child who consumed 7,000 calories would have to walk for nearly 44 hours or play full-court basketball for 14.5 hours to burn those calories.”
Less than 500 words in, and we’re already talking about the best way to make children get rid of all those horrible calories they’ll consume due to Halloween candy. I can’t even wrap my head around the shame these so-called ‘experts’ want to place on these kids for going out and having a night full of tradition.
Yeah, you know what, I agree. Halloween? A night full of absolute gluttony. The more candy you get, the better. I remember vividly being one of those children who skipped the houses that were known to give out pretzels or crackers. I remember my favorite house, which always let us a grab a handful of candy instead of one piece.
I also remember my mother trying to moderate my intake of said haul, but I have to be honest: me on Halloween, plus a binge eating disorder ended badly on more than one occasion.
But I think the most important thing to remember is that this is Halloween. It’s one night a year. I’m pretty sure that even though it’s a lot of candy in a short amount of time, it still counts as moderation.
I think Halloween is awesome. In a time where kids are apt to sit in front of a TV or a computer for far too long, it’s a night where they can go out galavanting around, being physically active and social in a way that kids these days don’t often get a chance to be. It’s a little taste of the past, reminding us to go out and actually talk to our neighbors, to appreciate how beautiful our neighborhoods are. To interact. And sure, the candy doesn’t hurt either.
But to start hollering about the obesity epidemic and making kids feel bad for having a ton of candy for ONE NIGHT is so counterproductive. Don’t we get enough shame about ways to ‘keep off the pounds’ around Thanksgiving and Christmas? It’s so prevalent for adults around the holidays–do we need to shove it down our children’s throats, too?
Need I remind you that nearly half of young girls age 3-6–let me repeat that, age THREE to SIX, worry about being fat. So you’re honestly telling me that these young girls who get this one night to dress up as their favorite princess or cartoon character should be reminded of the negative body image they’ve been taught, when their neighbors hand them out fruit or quarters and remind them without words that it’s naughty to overindulge? No thank you.
This article goes on to say “I have also seen people give out quarters in lieu of candy — and that is another great alternative if you can do it because kids love money,” Arnett said.”
Yes, kids, because remember. Greed is better than being fat! And honestly, if you give kids a bunch of quarters in lieu of candy, they’re going to go home feeling gypped and guess what–they’re going to go out and buy their own candy.
But I think what bothered me the most was the last suggestion in this article: “Give each child a pedometer and make a contest out of who takes the most steps”. REALLY? Yes, let’s make the little Batmans and Harry Potters and witches feel like their costumes are really authentic by bringing them RIGHT back to reality with a Halloween workout regime! Sorry, Dora the Explorer! You want a snickers? Better make another lap around the neighborhood, fatty. Your step count is atrocious!
Let the kids have their holiday. They’ve got the other 364 days of the year to learn from you adults to hate their bodies.