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!
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.
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:
And if all else fails, you can always use your child’s candy for educational good: Candy experiments.
How does your family approach Halloween?