Down with the ‘treats’!: A new low on ‘tricks’.

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.

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3 Responses to Down with the ‘treats’!: A new low on ‘tricks’.

  1. Celeste says:

    Just a couple of points:

    1) Halloween is NOT a one night thing. Speaking from my experience, the candy that kids collect usually lasts for 1-2 weeks. Not because they practice moderation (because they are kids after all), but because there is so much of it that it lasts even though they’re eating themselves almost sick every day.

    2) Funny how you don’t mention the following: “”Though Halloween alone is not going to be a major overall contributor to our children’s health, any behaviors they learn can have an effect,” Arnett said in a statement.”. They admit Halloween isn’t going to have a long term affect on kids so you getting all butthurt over this article makes a lot less sense.

    3) “Yeah, you know what, I agree. Halloween? A night full of absolute gluttony.” and “Yes, kids, because remember. Greed is better than being fat!” seem contradictory. You’re saying that it’s okay to let kids be greedy with food but not okay to let them be greedy with money. Why?

    4) You say this: “…it’s a night where they can go out galavanting around, being physically active and social…” but yet you’re so outraged at measuring their physical activity (via a pedometer). Even more outraged at making a contest out of who can be more active. Why are you so against incorporating activity into Halloween? Yeah, I agree parents shouldn’t make it the focus and totally ruin the Halloween experience but strapping a pedometer on and saying “whoever took the most steps gets x, y or z at the end of the night” isn’t going to have as much effect as you’re suggesting.

    Honestly, it seems like you’re grasping at straws here. Like you have nothing to write about so you decide to over-analyze an article and twist around words and ideas to make them seem like something they’re not. I’m not trying to be hateful or anything, just my (unsolicited) opinion.

    • Adipose Activist says:

      1) it’s still moderation. It’s still not an ‘every day’ thing. And if people are really that concerned about their kid’s candy intake, by all means, limit it. Let them only have some of the candy. But that falls to the PARENT’S responsibility, not the people giving out the candy. Frankly I would hope parents wouldn’t let their children keep their whole haul in their bedroom to eat at their leisure. But again, it doesn’t come down to the people giving out the candy. Part of what makes Halloween so fun is that it’s something you don’t get to do every day, go out and just load a goody bag up with treats.

      2) The entire article is dedicated to ways to not let Halloween ‘harm’ children, so I think it makes plenty of sense.

      3) You honestly don’t see how money is worse than food? Haven’t you seen the protests going around these days? I’m pretty sure that corporations sitting on billions of dollars is worse than a kid eating a couple Reese’s too many. Generally speaking food only affects the person doing the eating. Greed when it comes to money affects on a much, MUCH larger scale.

      4) You know, as a kid I didn’t mind running around the neighborhood for hours on Halloween. Being active for the sake of being active and having a good time is far different from the message that’s being sent when a pedometer gets involved. Halloween shouldn’t be a contest. Not when it comes to who gets the most candy, or who takes the most steps. On Halloween, I was worried about how much fun I had with my friends. Not how many steps I took.

      • Celeste says:

        I’m not going to get into a whole debate over this because I’m not passionate enough about it to spend my time going back and forth but I just want to point out that if you’re going to talk about greed in terms of food vs money, you have to talk about them on the same scale. Billions of dollars vs eating a couple of pieces is not a valid comparison. A couple of quarters vs a couple of pieces of candy is.

        Also, if the article had suggested to parents to limit candy intake (as you suggest) so their kid doesn’t gain weight from the calories, I’m sure you would be more offended than suggesting that people don’t give out the calories in the first place. Shame (as you call it) coming from inside the family is much more harmful than from outside.

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