Trick, Treat or Something Else?
Halloween. The holiday that kids love almost as much as Christmas. When I was a kid I loved to go Trick or Treating and would run around the city as fast as I could trying to fill my pillowcase up with candy. Candy was a real treat for me when I was young and Halloween allowed me to eat candy for a long time. I would swap treats with my sister, whine about the black and orange wrapped peanut butter candy that our neighbor Cleone would hand out, and I would complain about those really strange neighbors who gave us raisins and nuts. What were they thinking? It was Halloween for goodness sakes, the only time of year candy is 100% legal!
I’m an adult now, so they say, and I notice things more. I notice that it isn’t uncommon for kids to buy not 1 but 2 candy bars at the convenience store with their own money. I see parents give in to their kids at the check-out line by allowing them to pick out a treat. I hear people say, "OK, just one more cookie, and then you’re done." I’m guilty of giving in to my kids, giving them a sweet treat when what I should really be giving them is love.
As fast as the popularity of Halloween is growing in the United States the girth of America’s children is growing right along with it. Many kids are dangerously sedentary due to television, computers, and game boys. Children’s diets consist heavily of fast foods, over-processed foods, and junk foods. All of these factors are contributing to the problem of childhood obesity. The health of our Nation’s children is a big problem and will only get bigger with the rise of obesity related diseases such as diabetes, heart problems, and other conditions related to obesity.
What can you do to help control this growing epidemic? Tomorrow when you open the door and the kids say "Trick or Treat" you can say, "How about something else?" You can be that goofy neighbor that hands out raisins, nuts, or other healthy foods. You can give a child a coupon for a trip to the park, a push on a swing, or a game of catch. Maybe it’s a book, a trinket, or money, but try something else this year. It’s ok to care about a child and provide them with a healthy alternative to a "treat" that really isn’t much of a treat in our society anymore. A real "treat" would be to give them something they don’t already have an abundance of. Take advantage of Halloween this year and make a positive difference to those monsters at your door.