Trying to bring up children somewhat naturally without a lot of sugar in their diet as well as trying to celebrate Halloween at the same time can be a little challenging. My own memories of Halloween are so special to me that I want to create a holiday with the children that is similar. I don't want them thinking their parents were lame because they couldn't eat anything that resembled candy. It is hard to raise children and not create a need for them to have therapy when they are older with any style of parenting. If we give them loads of sugar they might become sugar addicts like their mother and if we don't let them ever have any sweets, by the time they are 10 they might be stealing it by the backpacks full and hording it under their beds in secret. So we try to practice moderation. We eat a very healthy diet with few processed foods, food coloring or preservatives. But we also have ice-cream at our local ice creamery that thankfully is all natural but not organic and full of sugar, the children have cookies at the local bakery with food coloring from time to time and we enjoy honey and maple syrup at home. But what can you do about Halloween when the children will come home with bags full of delicious sweets? How can we resist their cute little excited faces at the candy stash they have collected?
Cerys and me on Halloween in 2003.
We followed the advice of other natural parents and shared with the children the story of the Halloween Fairy. When the children come home from Trick or Treating they empty their bags onto the floor and see what items they wish to keep. They usually pick around 10-15 candies. They take the rest of their candy collection and leave it in a little pile near the fireplace. Last year Cerys drew a picture for the fairy.
During the night, the fairy comes and takes their candy and leaves them something as a gift. One year there was an outfit, another year some books or toys. The children find the Halloween Fairy as exciting as the trick or treating and the candy. Not to mention they get to eat as much of their candy the following day.
Here they are from 2004. Keiran has taken over Cerys's clown costume and Cerys became a kitty although she is wearing her bat ears from an earlier Halloween. We recycle costumes around here as much as we recycle glass and paper.
I love starting family traditions and I hope that the Halloween Fairy will be something the children will maybe want to share with their own children. Eventually we'll have to confess that the "fairy" enjoyed the candy for at least three months after Halloween but we'll wait until they are in their teens to share that secret.