A Mindful Halloween Meditation

Tick or treating is so much funYes, anything you bring your attention to turn it into a meditation—even Halloween! So, let me tell you a little story and share my meditation on Halloween.  Last year for the very first time I was struck by the irony of me giving out full size, sugary candy bars to innocent children as they paraded up to my door on Halloween.  I also was struck by the irony of me then thinking about taking the left over candy to work to perpetrate the sugary treats on my innocent co-workers.  These behaviors were ironic because I teach a mindful eating class which raises the awareness of the impact of loads of sugar on our emotional and physiological well-being.  And, here I was inflicting it on others because of Halloween.

Let me just say that I love Halloween and no matter how old I get I will dress up as some kind of creature come October 31.  In my book, one is never too old to enjoy the pleasure of dressing up as your alter ego or favorite make believe character. How many other times of the year can you get away with not being yourself?  It’s a blast.

I am the first one not to want to take the fun out of Halloween.  However, I am having an ethical dilemma about the sugar thing. Yes, as a child I went out to as many houses as I could to gather up as much candy as possible.  And I ate a lot of it.  But, I also rarely had store bought candy on a regular basis and in today’s world that is just simply not the case with most children.

So, I talked this over with a friend of mine and she said that she never gives out candy at Halloween.  She gives out other kinds of treats like toys or balloons or bubbles. What a concept! Halloween without the sugar rush.  I liked the idea so I began to research it a little bit and found a wonderful article from Clemson that gives you lots of information about making Halloween just a little bit healthier without taking the fun out of it.  http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/food/pdf/hgic4112.pdf

The article will help you think outside the box when choosing treats such as giving the small “bite size” candies instead of the full size. It also gives you lots of suggestions for non-food items to give like coins, whistles, crayons, small stuffed animals, stickers, tattoos, jump ropes, and hacky sacks.  Read up other ideas including how to prepare your children for going out trick-or-treating and what to do when they come home with a bag full of treats.

Of course, when I floated these ideas past a number of other people, I had a lot of negative reactions—“What’s Halloween without candy?” But, I will remain brave and put out the gentle suggestion that you might discover there are new ways of doing things that could even be just as fun for you and the kids. Let me know what you think? Post the alternative Halloween ideas you have below.


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7 responses to “A Mindful Halloween Meditation

  1. kathleen morris

    the first year my oldest daughter did Halloween, she dressed up as a bunny and we went to the nursing home. She gave out small candies to residents, but most of the fun was in visiting the people. A week later on Halloween, and she went out to trick or treat, she did not understand why people were giving her candy — she had more fun giving them things. You could sub a lot of stuff for the elder-care residents – toothbrushes, hankies, small special soaps or scents, etc.

  2. Marty Townsend

    Love the idea! Your meditation makes perfect sense, Lynn. FYI, a group in Como is pushing “the teal pumpkin” concept: homes giving out non-candy treats are asked to put a teal-colored pumpkin out front so that parents & trick-or-treaters are alerted to what they’ll get (or not get) at that house. Neat, huh?

  3. But if you don’t give out candy, how can the moms and dads swipe and eat it? Halloween is once a year, candy is usually doled out or eaten by others, and sometimes a lot gets thrown away. I will not stop giving out candy though the smaller size bars are good. But remember to give out something the parents would like.

  4. Not a bad idea. Kids love toys too. This year for the Reverse trick or treat for the sick children at Women’s and Children’s Hospital my step daughters and I made cute tissue holders called ‘Boogie Monsters’ for the kids. Something that will hold the tissues for stuffy noses and cute so if they need something small to cuddle with they’ll enjoy them. These kids have restrictions and not able to have the candy regular trick or treaters get, so these are a nice home made item to make. For the regular trick or treaters we’ll be giving out halloween erasers, small toys, and for some older kids halloween sparkle temp tatoos, something special for the season. Staying away from the sugar makes you think more creatively about what to give out. A question I have for you is did your co-workers not think it was fair really because the kids don’t get candy or was it the parents of the kids could not share in the candy? What do you think happens to the candy kids don’t like or won’t eat? Most parents try to teach their children to share and I know from experience Halloween candy was a great way to help your kids learn to share with their parents. 🙂

  5. One year I spaced out Halloween…Desperate for something to pop into the treat sacks…Wine Corks…they made substantial sound as they went into the open sacks… No sugar involved…Voila….

  6. Rebecca DeCourley

    Yes, scary candy mindset in our culture. We have been giving out Halloween fun pencils and erasers for years—not only too much empty sugar in the world, but all the additional toxic ingredients in the mainstream candies. I still see people with candy dishes on their desk—a perpetual “treat”. Plus, the bank tries to give our kids lollipops when we go through the drive-thru: I am hoping to get them to shift to colored pencils or something better!

  7. GREAT BLOG i love halloween my kids look forward to it every year

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