I don’t know about you, but I’m very concerned about the price we’re paying worldwide for eating so much sugar. It starts with commercial infant formula (first ingredient in many: high fructose corn syrup!), goes onto sugary cereals, sugary snacks and bars, sweets to celebrate every holiday, juice drinks, candy and sweet baked goods sold at school bake sales, sweetened syrupy coffee and tea drinks, sodas sold in school and hospital vending machines, muffins and Danish for breakfast, etc., etc. The sugar industry’s strategy has worked very well. Eventually, when people eat this way over a lifetime, diabetes is a very real possibility, as well as obesity and metabolic syndrome. Even though sugar isn’t as overtly and immediately bad for us as opioids, alcohol, or nicotine, it is addictive, and does lead to many chronic and dire health issues.
Over the last one hundred years, we’ve seen a corporate and cultural takeover of our eating patterns. I’m reading The Case Against Sugar, by Gary Taubes, in which he writes about the history of sugar and the consequences of our addiction to it. People, and now corporations, have made a huge amount of money from it. Slavery in the U.S. and the Caribbean Islands was “necessary” in the 1600’s through 1800’s because sugar was (and still is) such a back breaking and horrible thing to harvest. Children still work for little to nothing on chocolate plantations for big corporate chocolate companies. So many reasons to pay more attention to what we support.
And then we have the ultimate sweet holiday coming up. Where children collect as much candy as they can and gorge on it for days, or have a few pieces doled out for weeks, encouraging that sugar addiction. And, just as the colder, wetter winter is coming, all that sugar has suppressed our immune systems, so we're more likely to get all the colds and flus circulating in schools and offices.
Don’t get me wrong; I like many aspects of Halloween! It’s one of the few nights in the year that kids get to be outside and walk around in their neighborhoods, perhaps meeting neighbors for that one night in the year. The costumes and decorations are fun, spookiness is the theme, and it’s a marker of the harvest season, and winter coming soon.
If you'd like to minimize the emphasis on candy this Halloween, I have some recommendations:
Rather than giving out candy, give out stickers or temporary tattoos, pencils, a friend even gives out toothbrushes!
Find healthier sweets, like organic, fair trade chocolates, raisins, fruit leather, etc.
Tell your kids about the Switch Witch, and let them know she needs their candy more than they do, and that she will give them a fun toy in trade for it.
Many dentists will pay by the pound for candy after Halloween, check with yours.