The True Spirit of Halloween: Giving Massive Amounts of Junk Food to Our Children

A plastic pumpkin full of candy could hold up to 11,000 calories worth of sweets. While banning candy is out of the question, parents should limit their kids' intake.

Halloween is all about spooky scares, crazy costumes, and judgmental looks of disappointment for your dentist. Helene Oliviero, writing for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, explains that parents need to make sure their kids don't gorge themselves on candy this October 31. After all, those pleasant little plastic pumpkins can hold as much as 11,000 calories worth of sweets. An equivalent amount of sugar would be found in 24 scoops of vanilla ice cream. Allowing your kids consume all that fat would be like watching them devour 15 servings of McDonald's fries.


That's the sort of thing that ought to keep parents up at night.

The problem is that participating in Halloween is such an American cultural privilege. Keeping your kid home or banning candy altogether will only blow up in your face. Oliviero suggests maybe giving out stickers or light-up toys rather than sweets, which is bold considering most trick-or-treaters have a dozen eggs stored in their refrigerators at home. Another suggestion is to let your kids eat a certain amount of candy and then "buy" the rest of it off them via some sort of toy.

[T]hose pleasant little plastic pumpkins can hold as much as 11,000 calories worth of sweets. An equivalent amount of sugar would be found in 24 scoops of vanilla ice cream. Allowing your kids consume all that fat would be like watching them devour 15 servings of McDonald's fries.

Whatever you choose to do, it's important that you keep tabs on how much candy your kid is eating. Take control of their plunder and ration out pieces at a reasonable rate. Teach children that candy is meant to be a treat, not something to binge on. Heck, the presence of all these desirable sweets could serve as an impetus for lessons in self-control and moderation. Take it from me, a steely veteran of the trade who had one or two too many Twix bars back in the day, your kids will eventually thank you for it.

There are ways to make healthy eating taste good, says Steven Masley, M.D., a board-certified physician, nutritionist, longevity researcher and award-winning patient educator.

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