This year's visit to the pumpkin patch.

This year’s visit to the pumpkin patch.

Oliver’s third Halloween is fast approaching. Spoiler alert: he’s not going to be trick-or-treating this year. I know — you’re all shocked ;).

This is not to say I hadn’t considered it. Oliver is at a stage where he would probably find it quite fun and novel to dress up in a costume and parade around the neighbourhood after dark. But then I realized that it’s not like this kid’s life is particularly lacking in fun and novel experiences (by toddler standards). Seriously, he will talk about a simple trip on public transit for weeks after the fact!

So what if Oliver misses out on trick-or-treating when he’s two years old? So nothing! There’s no peer pressure to fit in with the other kids at daycare. He can’t possibly feel deprived of something that he doesn’t even know about in the first place. He doesn’t eat candy (yet), and I hardly think that Halloween at age two is justification for introducing it. He has many years ahead of him to consume candy — I don’t need to artificially hurry that particular milestone :).

The truth is, taking Oliver trick-or-treating this year would still be more about us than him. And since J and I most certainly don’t need the candy — nor do we want to deal with an over-tired, hyperactive, past-his-bedtime toddler — the decision is made.

What are we doing instead? Well, we’ve already made our annual trek out to the pumpkin patch. Oliver had an absolute blast this year, and if the outing didn’t involve two hours of driving and the necessity to skip nap time, we’d likely be back there again this weekend!

Riding the Ghost Train.

He wasn’t too sure about the Ghost Train last year, but I think he’ll enjoy it this year.

At some point over the next couple of weeks, we will visit the family-friendly Stanley Park Ghost Train. And of course we will carve our jack-‘o-lantern and roast pumpkin seeds.

Oliver and me at last year's neighbourhood Halloween party. Photo by Lydia Nagai. http://www.lydianagai.com

Oliver and me at last year’s neighbourhood Halloween party. Photo by Lydia Nagai. http://www.lydianagai.com

On Halloween, Oliver will dress in a costume for daycare, and later that afternoon we will attend a party with a bunch of other families from my neighbourhood moms and babies group.

Is trick-or-treating integral to the Halloween experience? For older children, it probably is. But for two-year-old Oliver, there are still so many other fun ways to celebrate that don’t involve acquiring and consuming copious amounts of sad* junk food.

Obviously, as Oliver gets older, our approach will change. I figure that we have another one — or maybe two — Halloweens where we can get away with simply avoiding the candy situation altogether. After that, we’ll have to come up with a strategy to cope with it.

[*Sad junk food = the junk food that is not the junk food you really want. You know, like stale Tootsie Rolls and store brand ice cream.]


For those who are grappling with the question of whether or not to take your kids trick-or-treating, or what the heck to do with all that candy, here are a few different perspectives and ideas:

The ‘How-to-Control-Your-Kids’-Candy-Consumption’ Con.

Tricks or Treats: Which Will You Choose?

It’s OK. Limiting candy won’t ruin childhood.

Halloween Candy Is Not Special.

How to use Halloween to teach healthy eating habits.

Wonder — What we truly seek on Halloween.

And if all else fails, you can always use your child’s candy for educational good: Candy experiments.


How does your family approach Halloween? 


  1. We don’t trick-or-treat, and if we do go visit a neighbor or two, we turn around and hand that candy out to the kids that come to our house. I have well established the fact that those colorful little packages are *not food.* My 6-year-old has no problems with it, and my nearly 2-year-old could care less. We don’t ever negotiate candy. We’ve just said, “It’s not food.” from the start. We do make some home-made candy treats for my older one just because we like it, but it’s simple like nut-butter/maple syrup candies, or peppermint patties with coconut oil, honey and dark chocolate. We do get a lot of trick-or-treaters, so I hand out home-made candies or apple cider. We mostly enjoy it, but quite frankly, I am kind of disgusted by the lack of creativity in costumes, or costumes that are downright scary. Princess/Spiderman anyone? As for the crap candy, we just read the labels for fun, sort it by colors and maybe when they’re older, we’ll use it for art or science projects. We mostly stick with the fall theme and bring out more stuff for the costume basket. It’s totally our favorite season/holiday.

    • Your eldest daughter sounds so wise beyond her years when it comes to food! Check out the website with the candy experiments… maybe you’ll find some interesting and creative uses for the un-food :).

  2. Well, to a degree–she would live on rice noodles and white rice if we let her. 🙂 I feel bad that protein has become a type of food, as in “Eat your protein!!!” We were not nearly as successfully grain free with her, but yes, in general she has a good sense about food and truly non-foods. 🙂 Some of the grey areas are a challenge for us. I will check out the candy experiment link! 🙂

  3. I totally agree that eating the candy is not integral to Halloween fun, and neither is trick-or-treating for a child the age of Oliver. Since you seem to be raising Oliver on a whole foods diet and he has never had candy yet in his life, when the age comes where trick-or-treating may indeed be an integral part of Oliver’s Halloween fun, he may not even want to eat the candy he collects when he realizes how it makes him feel.

    • Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful!!

      I do hope that conditioning his tastebuds to appreciate the flavours of “real” foods helps him to make better decisions about food when he is old enough to control what he eats.

  4. Looks like you guys really had fun. Halloween is around the corner and I am still trying to figure out what to wear for my kids…

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