Halloweeeeeen or bust

Photo credit: Jenny

Photo credit: Ellen

Well, my 3 year old daughter enjoyed dressing up for Halloween and going trick
or treating with her friends–not to let her go trick or treating with her friends seemed a bit much.

But the aftermath was a bit of a bust. I had her put out her bag of treats for the “trick or treat fairy” to come and swapped out all the sugary candy. Mind you, she has not had any sugary candy before, so it’s not like she knows what she is missing. But the few treats we left: a chocolatey granola bar, animal crackers and some fruit leather, and some few trinkets…these were not to her satisfaction. Now she seems very concerned about the trick or treat fairy and wants to have me write her a note for some better toys next year, and to keep some more of her hard earned treats!

Chalk it up to a botched parenting operation. Next year I’m thinking of keeping it straightforward and just tell her she can keep as many pieces as her age (4 next year). Or tell her, “You can’t have sugary treats, but I made these zucchini chocolate
mini-cakes that you can have.” I’ve put out a call for some sage advice on this. I hope I have something better to report next year.



3 Replies to “Halloweeeeeen or bust

  1. I think I was telling you about my friends parents who completely forbade any refined sugar or otherwise unhealthy food – the best thing I could find there as a kid was fresh fruit or unsalted tortilla chips. But while being very strict about this rule, they intentionally left spare change lying around, aware that my friend would sneak off to the neighborhood penny candy store with it. Their hypothesis was that all kids need to rebel to a limited extent. By setting restrictive limits, they thought they could create the opportunity for acceptable rebellion (candy/junk food), in order to avoid unacceptable rebellion (alcohol, drugs). Their kids grew up fit, with great teeth and skin, and no substance abuse problems. I was allowed candy, and am still a glutton today – I’m eating all our girls loot before they have the chance!

  2. We do a “token economy” with Alex. I decided to switch to our current method because Alex is autistic & he tends to learn from experiences that combine multiple sensory systems. So instead of using charts & checklists & stickers, I bought reels of carnival tickets. Instead of allowance, which is a meaningless concept to him, he earns tickets & receives physical tickets as he earns them. So he has visual & tactile input from the ticket, then makes the brain-body connection by putting tickets into the slot in the little bank we use (also using some fine motor skills)… at the end of the week, he gets to count them up (tickets & cheerios are awesome manipulatives) which is how he has really grasped a few math concepts that he was struggling with… then he gets to spend the points he has earned (1 ticket =1 point) in our “ticket store” which is a selection of random stuff he likes… books on programming, vintage videogame stuff, the occasional toy (he’s just not a toy kind of guy),mix cds, experiences- rent a movie, imaginarium, make cookies together, take pictures with my big camera…. so when events like Halloween come around I just “buy” his candy at the rate of one piece = one ticket. So he can pick exactly what he wants and knows it’s actually a better deal than keeping the candy because I also give him a few pieces of g6pd deficiency friendly candy or we’ll bake cookies together. It does help that he is so rule based and very aware of what we can & cannot eat due to our G6PD Deficiency, so to him the candy is poison and he won’t even touch it… we do this for Valentine’s Day as well. He really looks forward to getting a coveted treasure from the ticket store with his Halloween “windfall”… I do think that giving him an even exchange of tickets/points and that more visible, visual, and tactile exchange makes him feel like he has some control & like he is upgrading just a bit when his little candies become tickets then net him a treasure he wants…. Anyway, sorry if this is rambling… I’ll be curious to hear how you tackle it this year. Send everyone our best wishes! I’m off to sleep.

    1. I love this idea. We’re still playing it by ear this Halloween, but I do have non-candy treats stored up from the dollar store. It depends on where we are.

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