One of my big problems with holidays is the mass consumption of stuff. Toys, wrapping paper, boxes, food, candy, clothes… All holidays have it. We buy new stuff and consume it quickly. Halloween is the next holiday coming up. Plastic costumes or lots of effort into homemade ones. And candy, so much candy. I have twin 4 year olds this year.
Year One was easy. Put them in a cute shirt, trick or treat, and my husband and I gorge later. It’s amazing how much candy babies can acquire, and how much a mother can eat later.
Year Two, the kids were overwhelmed, did the deed, got tired. Didn’t acquire as much because their stamina was quite short. They probably ate 2-3 piece that year. Parents consumed the rest.
Year Three, kids got the idea and loved hanging with friends and family. A couple days after Halloween they had forgotten the candy and I got most of it. Except lollipops. I don’t like lollipops. As you get older you realize that if you’re going to consume calories, it should be on something you really like. Like Butterfingers. Or Oreos.
This is the Big Year Four. I know this one will be different. Planning the costumes and the talk of the candy has begun. I already know they will remember they have candy after Halloween. They’ve shown their power of memory after those piñata parties when we come home with mass quantities of candy. They know it’s there and they know what kinds too. Now I shouldn’t eat all their candy. Now I’d have to explain myself, and explain why stealing from children is wrong, and moderation, and live-by-example. Parenting; always staying one-step ahead, so as not to instill your weaknesses. Like Oreos or stealing.
And now time for the reinforcements. I need a trick; a ploy; a new tradition. A little magic to keep the kids from eating all the candy. I came upon Switchcrafted, The Story of the Switch Witches of Halloween, by Audrey Kinsman with Pam Hatcher. Kinsman generated this concept last Halloween. One of her kids wanted to gorge and the other had allergies. She needed a plan. How to limit their overall intake? But we know telling a kid, doesn’t always work. We, as parents, are manipulators. And she came up with an idea, “You can’t eat all your candy, because what will the, uh, witches use? The witches need your candy to power their world. If you leave your candy out for them, the Switch Witches will switchcraft it into a toy of your choice!”*
Her kids loved this! Jumped on the idea, and began to help her create this idea after Halloween last year. They came up with a little Switch Witch doll that can sit on your self and watches over you. Or comes with you. Or whatever you want. Ours just sits all day, hanging out. I should probably give her all that piñata candy we still have. My daughter likes this witch because it also took away the idea that all witches were ugly, scary, and mean. The Switch Witches want to use your candy to keep their witchy world working (think Monsters, Inc. Screams, or laughter, keep that world working. Candy works on the Witchy world).
What is lovely is the Switch Witches don’t need all your candy. They would appreciate most of your candy. They know Halloween is awesome with the dressing up, friends, family, collecting, sorting, smelling, touching, counting, and trading all that candy. Switch Witches want kids to have those experiences. So pick a few pieces that you love, come up with a plan for how to eat those (one a day for the week, two small for the next three days, etc.), then pack up the rest and leave a note for your Switch Witch so she knows what kind of toy you want for the switchcrafting magic. This is teaching kids to make choices, moderation, healthy habits**, and helping others. ***
**I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m guessing the dentists would appreciate this too. I’m sure it’s about 9 out of 10 dentists or whatever they say on TV.
*** www.switchcrafted.com has lots of ideas for what you can do with the candy that the Switch Witches take. As your kids get older they can help make decisions on what to do with the candy. After all, at some point the kids might figure out that the witches don’t really need all that candy, and some should be donated to the community or similar good cause. The website also has Switch Witch backstories, cooking, crafts, ideas, and links.
Adrienne Yoshihara is that mother who puts various kinds of not-too-sweet cereal in the Easter eggs. The kids love it. They don’t know that I could be stuffing them with chocolate and jelly beans. We hunt Easter eggs for weeks post holiday, always with random (non-sugary) snacks.