We often struggle with ethics as our family approaches mainstream holiday events. It is a time where we come up against issues of balance; wanting our children to know what’s happening in mainstream culture (to a certain extent) and sheltering them from it at the same time. Halloween is one of those occasions.
We are going to take our children trick-or-treating this evening, but only to 5 or 6 houses of the families in the neighbourhood that we know. We don’t want our children eating candy. We try to limit it as much as possible. On the other hand, we don’t want them feeling they were ‘deprived’ as a child and develop an unhealthy relationship with unhealthy eating later in life. There are so many things about sugar that are problematic, so we try to limit it as much as possible, opting for less refined local sweeteners, like honey and maple syrup, whenever possible.
We find our home better without refined sugars. Rob and I have both experienced marked reactions to it, namely in the form of anxiety. We have yet to discover if this holds true for the children, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t. Recent studies have shown that sugar is as addictive as cocaine and recommend that it be a controlled substance. After holidays like Halloween, I admit we find ourselves weaning our family from another sugar addiction.
Perhaps rather than feeling like I need to ‘put my foot down’ on another issue of discontent, I could create something positive instead. Something which breathes life and grows community. I long for a halloween where I don’t need to take my children out to ask neighbours for candy. One where we get together for a wagon ride and hot apple cider, enjoy each other’s carved pumpkins, and play old fashioned party games that are now seen as ‘too dangerous,’ like bobbing for apples.
At the very least, it would be nice to be able to pass out something homemade and even (shall I say it?) healthy, without the impending reality of it being thrown out. I wonder which is more safe…eating exorbitant amounts of packaged and processed sugar or chancing it on some homemade goodies while sharing some germs over apple bobbing?