While I’d like to think that I’m not a complete curmudgeon, I have to admit that many of the most popular holidays in the United States aren’t ones that I enjoy or particularly want my children to participate in. For example, I’ve already written about how Mother’s Day is a bit daft – see Happy Mother’s Day? – because people should be thankful of each other every day, but given the time of year, the holiday that I think has most been corrupted by crass commercialism is Halloween.
But I recognize that I can’t just withdraw from everything, and there are definitely elements of fantasy and the supernatural in Halloween that I like. Frankly, my kids love to dress up and both wear costumes more days than not. My 4yo son is now wearing a real hardhat, a real reflective vest, and heavy duty work gloves when he’s outside. Darn cute!
At the end of the day, though, the biggest problem I have is with the whole “knock on door, get junky food treats” ritual. Dressing up, that’s cool, but my kids gorging on candy from strangers? No thanks. Further, last year, my then-3yo sampled each of about ten different types of candy and then promptly threw up, sick to his little stomach.
So this year I did come up with something different! This year, we had a visit from The Candy Fairy!
The children dressed up and we went door-to-door to about eight houses, collecting our little bags of loot.
When we got home, they picked two pieces of candy each, one for that night, and one for the next day, and the rest was “for the Candy Fairy”. All the leftover candy (including the candy we didn’t give out) was put in a bowl and each kid wrote a short note to the fairy. We placed the bowl in the center of our table and covered it with a yellow silk, turned out the light, and they went to bed.
Then, surreptitiously, I snuck back in and exchanged all the candy for two little coloring books. When they woke up the next morning, they were thrilled to know that the candy fairy had visited our house and left them each a special present.
And after a few days of noshing on a little bit of the candy (mostly skimming for the Twix and Snickers, to be honest) I actually threw the rest of it away.
And that was that, for this Halloween. Very successful and a good compromise overall.