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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hating on Halloween..?

I've been asked if I'm protesting Halloween...


I don't really have a problem, per se, with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day Weekend or the special occasions during the year when food becomes a big focus. If Americans generally ate right and exercised daily, those days of indulgence wouldn't pose much of problem. But in 2009 with obesity and overweight as the American norm, it becomes a question of "more." How much more do we need of what's already making us sick..?

For instance, it can be fun to go out drinking with your buddies, but it takes on a dark hue when a friend has a drinking problem. Likewise, most of us have friends, family, loved ones suffering from the health effects of eating-related obesity, diabetes and heart disease, maybe even cancer--it colors the entire event. How can we enjoy overeating among friends and family on Halloween, Thanksgiving or Memorial Day when we look around and see that it's killing the people we love the most?

Even so, Halloween trick-or-treating and dressing up can be a blast for kids. If they're eating right and getting their hour of exercise everyday, the extra candy kick once a year is no big deal. We trick-or-treat, let the kids eat a couple pieces of candy a day for 2 or 3 days, and then toss out the bag of candy. The kids never even notice.

But after-school or weekend Halloween festivities are far different from the school day. Candy really has no place in school, especially treats with ADHD-inducing artificial food coloring. (The entire EU now has warning labels for artificial food coloring. MD tried and failed to make moves against artificial food coloring here in the US.)

Only the most outdated, uninformed principals still allow candy into their school buildings these days...

Every year, our family requests that our children's school ask parents and teachers to keep the candy at home, and every year our requests are ignored. It's one thing if you choose to send in a piece of candy for your own child. It's entirely different to send in 25 pieces--no matter how well-intended the gesture is--it's really outdated in this era of obesity and diabetes. No child should face junk food solicitations during the school day. Not to mention E. coli-contaminated cookie dough and the occasional defective or tampered with treats such as those Pokemon lollipops a couple years ago that had metal shards. Why would a school want to take-on that kind of liability? Best advice for principals: Keep the candy at home.

And if your trick-or-treater happens by our house this Halloween, expect glow-in-the-dark vampire fangs...


mimi jackson said...

I am really concerned that here in NYC, the public school my daughter attends really undermines my authority as a parent, when they invite birthday celebrations into the classroom. Parents come when they are available (before lunch for some) and offer unreasonable quantities of cake, cookies, and cupcakes. My son has food allergies and sensitivities, so his school actually consults me on anything they want to share with him. Tempts me to start claiming my daughter is allergic, so I will have a say!

Sarah Dee said...

My 6 year old brother has a gluten allergy and I'm suprised by how much of a problem its been in school. He comes home some days after birthday parties and such saying he was repeatedly offered different sugary treats that he cannot eat. Im really dissapointed they would let food into the classroom and offer CAKE to a child with a gluten allergy. Thinnest, healthiest boy I know because he actually has to THINK about what he ingests.

Dr. J said...

I love Halloween! I did Harpo Does Hippie! LOL!

I tried Harpo Does Pilot, but I got
too sleepy :-)