What’s the Halloween game plan at your house? The holiday yields a litany of opportunities to exercise parental control beginning with the type of costume your child wears down to the type of candy you hand out to other people’s children. Then, there’s the decision between parents as to who stays behind to dole out candy and who shepards the mini ghouls and goblins around the neighborhood. And, perhaps, the toughest call to make as parent on Halloween: How much candy to allow your kids to eat on the big day before gathering up the sugary haul and locking it away in the name of oral hygiene, glucose levels, and your own personal sanity.
How much skin does your child’s costume reveal? Having browsed through at least seven costume shops in the last week in an effort to find a decent costume for my own child, it appears that this is a concern mainly reserved for parents with daughters. Unless your son wants to collect candy dressed as Captain Underpants (costume contents: boys briefs, a cape and boots) then you’re not going to run into many problems, as the costume selection for boys is rather tame. Conversely, manufacturers seem to go out of their way to design and market revealing costumes for girls. In one store aisle alone I found a mermaid costume (sans the flesh colored paneling that connects the bikini top to the fin bottom), a hula girl costume (complete with coconut bra), a “Naughty Nurse” costume (super short skirt and short sleeve top), Las Vegas showgirl costumes (with plunging necklines), Flapper costumes, heck, I even saw a Chamber Maid Costume (complete with fishnet stockings)… and this was in the little girl’s aisle. The aisle for women was filled exclusively with sexy (or sleazy, depending on your definition) costumes that barely included enough material to cover a child let alone a grown woman. Fortunately, my child is still very young and is more interested in furry animal costumes (that cover every inch of her body) than revealing animal-printed lingerie that manufacturers are hawking as legitimate Halloween costume. I feel for parents with teenage daughters because from what I have seen out there unless you want your little girl dressed as a sexy pirate, a racy Raggedy Ann or a trampy witch you’re on your own in the costume department.
I know a mom who pays her daughter for her Halloween candy (she keeps a little and throws out the rest) in an effort to manage her child’s sugar and caloric intake. That tactic may be a bit extreme, but it does raise an interesting point about what safeguards you have in place so your child doesn’t go into sugar shock on Halloween night. Moderation is key. I’m sure there isn’t a parent out there who doesn’t agree with that method, but some things are easier said than done. Again, I’m dealing with a child who doesn’t really care much for candy (save for M&Ms and the occasional Hershey Kiss) so whisking her haul away after a night of trick-or-treating doesn’t lead to high drama in our household. However, the same can’t be said for other families. My best friend’s son is 9 and has been known to hide Halloween candy in his pillowcase because his mom has a strict 3-piece-of-candy per day rule in their home.
What’s your trick for keeping your child’s consumption of treats under control?
Michele Cheplic writes about red-hot celebrities in POP CULTURE, fiery topics in PARENTS, sizzling recipes in FOOD, calorie burning exercises in FITNESS, and hot new kid-friendly crafts in FUN. Check out all of her articles here.