Why I don’t stress over Halloween candy

As I sit down to type up this post, I’m going to be completely honest with you… I have TWO Reese’s peanut butter cups sitting right next to me…and I plan to eat them. And I’ll enjoy them. Yes, I know what ingredients are in them that I usually try to avoid (TBHQ, dextrose, emulsifier…), but I’m not going to freak out about it. It’s a once-in-an-every-once-in-a-while treat and I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t miss these ‘treats’ from time to time. I love the foods I make at home and I don’t feel deprived in any way, but sometimes it’s nice not to overthink what I’m eating (like I wrote in my vacation post).

All day yesterday, I wasn’t sure if we would be able to go trick-or-treating. Heavy storms were predicted to hit Northern Indiana right around 5-8 pm, so all day I had warned my four year old daughter that if it was storming at trick-or-treating time, we would just eat popcorn and watch a movie as a family. As the day progressed, I started looking forward to a warm and cozy evening in front of the movie screen. We were going to watch Monster’s University with big bowls of buttery popcorn on our laps. I also thought, “Oh good, at least this way I won’t have to figure out what to do with all the candy I don’t really want my kids eating anyway.” Well, yesterday afternoon (about 45 minutes prior to trick-or-treat time), my husband calls to say that he thinks we should attempt to go. Even though it’s been raining ALL day, I look outside and, sure enough, it’s not raining anymore. Wet and ‘blah’ looking, but not raining. So, I rushed to finish making dinner (I had honey mustard chicken breasts in the oven and a copycat ‘Rice-A-Roni’ cheddar broccoli side dish on the stove). I threw some dinner on plates for the kids to eat quickly, but no one did, so everything went right into the fridge for lunch today. We raced around the house to put on costumes, shoes, coats, etc. My daughter was Jessie from Toy Story and my boys were dressed with a couple of things we found around the house. (I was hesitant to spend money on costumes for them when they were only going to wear them one night and who knows if they would even wear them!) So, one of my boys went as “Mickey Mouse” and the other went as a “train conductor.” At least that’s what we were going with…

Mickey Mouse & Jessie
Mickey Mouse & Jessie
Our 'train conductor'
Our ‘train conductor’
Mickey Mouse...sort of.
Mickey Mouse…sort of.

Anyway, it all worked out perfectly in the end. We went down our street and trick-or-treated at a few close neighbors’ houses. We then had a long-ish walk into the connecting neighborhood (our subdivision still has a lot of empty lots and houses under construction). We went to two more houses and then it started to rain a little harder. Luckily, we didn’t have to talk the kids into turning around…they were ready to come home. We carried the boys back in the spritzing rain and WIND, came inside, and gave the kids a bath. Everyone put on their pajamas and the kids picked out two pieces of candy each. I popped two big bowls of popcorn (in my Orville Redenbacher air popper) and we then watched a movie together as a family. It was a perfect Halloween night, I’d say!

Thankfully, since we only went to 7 houses last night, the candy isn’t out of control. I put it all in a bowl and then put that bowl up on a high shelf in our pantry. My daughter knows where it is and she knows that I will let her have two pieces a day during movie time. She’s totally happy with this deal. In her mind, TWO pieces of candy is a lot and she’s one happy little camper right now. She’s watching Monster’s University again (this time with my mom, who is here because I had a dentist appointment this morning).

The Halloween candy bowl!
The Halloween candy bowl!

Even though I’m now the “Real Fit, Real Food Mom,” eating a little processed junk from time to time doesn’t bother me (…too much). I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking excessively about food. I don’t want them worrying about what they “can” and “can’t” eat. Even though I want them to learn how to make smart choices when it comes to food, I also don’t want them to feel like they missed out on the ‘typical childhood fun’ because their mom wouldn’t let them eat candy after Halloween. My boys are still young enough that they don’t really care about candy, but my daughter is more aware of what her friends are doing and eating. Do I want this food coming into our house regularly? Absolutely not. And I still cringe a little bit on the inside when I hand my kid a “treat” that has artificial food coloring in it (or other artificial ingredients)…but I know they don’t eat this stuff on a regular basis, so I try not to let it bother me too much. We eat really well most of the time and my kids are, generally speaking, great eaters. So, a few pieces of candy after Halloween? Not going to stress about it. Halloween comes once a year and while I know Christmas treats are just around the corner, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Now, do I wish Halloween candy were “cleaner” and not filled with so many artificial ingredients? Absolutely! There are some great brands of candy out there and my hope is that SOME DAY artificial food dyes and GMOs and fake food fillers will be a thing of the past because the PUBLIC will finally be informed enough that we will DEMAND cleaner ingredients in our foods. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet. So, until that day comes (and I really hope it does), we’ll continue to enjoy the Halloween candy that our neighbors so kindly purchased for a night of fun for our kids.

If you eat mostly real food, how do you handle Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc?? Would love to hear what other ‘real food’ parents do! 😉

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same, but Real Fit, Real Food Mom will earn a small commission (which helps to offset web hosting fees, maintenance, etc.). Your support is greatly appreciated!