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The great candy debate

The great candy debate

Bean PumpkinIt seems like there’s a lot of creative finaigling this year, surrounding Halloween and the impending glut of sweets. I’ve heard about a neighborhood in Cambridge that’s planning to give out toys instead of candy to trick-or-treaters this year. I read about more than one dentist who is offering a candy buy-back program at $1/pound!

In our last store newsletter, we asked parents for tips about trick or treating with kids, and every response involved clever ways of separating kids from their candy. Universally, parents seem to agree that an extended union between kids and candy is a bad idea. But is it right to put the kibosh on the long-standing tradition of collecting oodles of sweets once a year?

How long standing is that tradition, anyway? According to Wikipedia, trick or treating came about in the early 1930s, and was widely publicized by the media in the 1940s. By the 1950s, it was officially popular culture, and Disney even released a cartoon about it. In 2005, the National Confectioners Association reported that 80% of adults in the USA were planning to give candy to trick-or-treaters, and 93% of American children were planning to go trick-or-treating.

But while tradition shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s also relevant to look at the trends in childhood obesity rates, which have almost quadrupled since the 1960s. So it’s reasonable that parents are concerned.
I’ve never really celebrated Halloween, so I’m not in a position to offer too many words of wisdom. But as a bystander, it seems like the trick isn’t in eliminating the treats altogether. Rather, setting consumption limits and/or creating incentives to get rid of the leftovers seems like it would be more successful.

What do you think?

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