October 28, 2010 (6:48 pm)

What To Do With Halloween Candy As A Vegan Mom

topics: Homeschool
by Kristen Suzanne

As a vegan mom, I’ve been struggling with what to do for Halloween in the coming years, when Kamea is old enough to wear a costume and say “trick-or-treat.” I, myself, have so many fond memories from childhood on Halloween. And, even though I wasn’t a vegan growing up, my fond memories are for more than just the candy. Dressing up and going door to door with my friends was so fun (The candy wasn’t bad too though! ;) haha). Heck, I still like to dress up. Here is a picture of me a few years ago at Halloween when I was blond.

But. My family is vegan, and I’ve been wondering what we’ll do when Halloween rolls around in the coming years. Do we, instead, take a special trip each year, at that time, and celebrate it another way? Perhaps we can find an alternate way to celebrate so Kamea doesn’t go door to door getting a bunch of junky (mostly non-vegan) candy. But, I can’t help think that she’ll be missing out on the dress-up fun if I do that. There must be some compromise. Then… I came across this article and now I can’t wait for Halloween and for a time when Kamea is old enough to trick-or-treat! Knowing that we’re homeschooling makes this especially exciting!

From Mothering.com…

I loved candy when I was a kid, but when I became a mother, I worried about my kids eating too much of the stuff. Still, I’ve never banned it from our home. Now, when my children come home on Halloween night, examine their candy, and go to bed without asking to eat a single piece, it’s not because I’ve forbidden it. It’s because they have better ideas about what 
to do with it.

It began with a simple question three years ago, when I was overwhelmed by our collection of Halloween candy. An afternoon with too-generous coworkers, a church Trunk-or-Treat (i.e., collecting candy at every car in a full parking lot), and a subsequent trick-or-treating expedition up our street had provided my four-year-old princess and two-year-old cowboy with mountains of candy. But since the candies had been the gifts of kind friends, and of elderly neighbors on fixed incomes, I didn’t want to throw them all away. Instead, I decided to dole them out one piece at a time. Handing out pieces after lunch was painful—the bowl loomed enormous atop my fridge, and I knew that at this rate we’d be eating candy for months.

Then, as my daughter Katherine poured out a box of Nerds, she asked the life-changing question:

“What would happen if I put these in water?”

I almost missed the moment. I was cleaning up the lunch dishes, and didn’t want to get out another one. Besides, the experiment sounded messy and wasteful (even though I’d just been agonizing about how to get rid of the stuff). I brushed her question aside, hoping she’d forget it. Instead, she asked again. I got her a white, unspillable mug, filled it with water, and set it down in front of her. She poured in her strawberry Nerds, examined them, stirred them into something the color of raspberry lemonade, and examined the cup again. Then I dumped 
it down the sink.

That was our first candy experiment.

Read the rest of this awesome article here…

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  • http://www.thedomesticvegan.com Jess – The Domestic Vegan

    Very cool article! Thanks for sharing.

    I love that picture of you! You make a great Jeannie. :)

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Thanks! I still have the costume. I'll probably wear it again, and see

    how I look as a brunette in it. Somehow, it doesn't seem like it would

    be the same. lol.

  • Bitt

    Maybe you and other other vegan parents in your area can get together and have a little party that has healthier options. I personally love a vegan Halloween party. And if you are the host, even better.

    I have heard from other parents who have kids who have food restrictions that they have them put the collected candy into a pile and leave it somewhere for the “treat fairy” or “halloween fairy”. Then the candy gets exchanged for something nonedible they have been wanting.

    I also just saw this: http://notricktreats.com/#

  • http://thevegantiffin.blogspot.com The Vegan Tiffin

    Lol – you look GREAT in that costume!

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Very cool. I like all those options. Thanks!

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    tee hee… :) Thanks!

  • Bluedingo

    We are a vegan family too and I have a 4 year old DD and a 3 week old DS and at this time of year Halloween candy is everywhere. My daughter loves to dress up and go trick or treating but our rule is she can choose one or 2 pieces to eat (mommie cringes) and the rest we save for our gingerbread house we make for Christmas. This way we use up all the candy and my kiddo thinks decorating the gingerbread house is is more fun than eating candy. Maybe you could even make a Halloween gingerbread house.

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Nice idea! Thanks for sharing. That's awesome. :)

  • http://gingeristhenewpink.blogspot.com/ Lauren519

    Hey Kristen, I heard (I think Dreena Burton??) say once that her kids trade her their candy for a toy at the store. I always thought that was a good idea, they get the whole “trick or treat” thing but without the junk. You can donate the candy to different places. I just read that a dentist in my town has a drop off and the candy will go to the troops (which I don't understand why we would want them to have that junk…but a good idea anyway). I think I will try the toy thing and have some healthier homemade vegan treats for my kids to enjoy! :)

  • http://color-so-loud.tumblr.com Kat

    The science thing looks fun! It sounds great for when they get to that place where they want to explore the world (perfect for homeschoolers, too!).

    Last year we tried the Halloween fairy. Any candy can be eaten on Halloween night, and the remainder is left out. The Halloween fairy takes away the candy and leaves a gift. We got mixed reviews — the present was well received, but then our 2.5 year old wanted the fairy to come back and bring the candy with her! We will see how it goes this year, maybe the fairy will bring something more exciting.

    For little kids who aren't old enough for the science yet, there are often parades and activities. Or you could get a group of people to host your own candy-free Halloween party, then everyone can dress up and have fun.

    I am torn about sharing so much sugar when we generally eat whole foods, or even when we are more into convenience foods we still do low sugar. But I think at some point the kids are old enough to have enough control over their bodies that you can point out what happens when they binge, and discuss how they feel during or after the sugar rush. I am grudgingly allowing that our child will eat a lot of sweets on one night, but I'm not interested in prolonging it and having her continue to get that sugar kick for nights on end in November. Not when she's so little and I have any say, anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1196275511 Lisa Clark

    I think what I will do is try to plan other events besides trick or treating… There are a lot of other fun things to do.. You can bake (or as you are raw…create :) ), carve pumpkins, watch movies, host a Halloween party, etc. I guess when they are older they may want to trick or treat because it is what their friends are doing. What my husband's parents did is they would let him trade in his candy for prizes.. He loved legos so he would be able to trade it in for those instead of eating it. I don't know what they did with the candy (probably ate it LOL), but it can be donated I guess. You are creative, I am sure you will think of something :) :)!

  • Jennifer R.

    awesome idea, thanks for sharing! I too have struggled with the whole candy thing. While we live in a spread out neighborhood (1 acre lots) we don't get a ton of candy. My kids have fun dressing up and we enjoy walking around together to about 10 houses or so. I LOVE the idea of experiments with the candy, instead of just throwing it away or having my husband take it to work. Thanks!! I do try to make some homemade healthy candy for alternatives to the corn syrup laden stuff.

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Glad you found it useful! :)

  • Natasha

    I let my children (older ones are 9 and 7) trick or treat and then choose a few pieces of candy to eat Halloween night. Then they trade the rest of it in for a healthier treat like Larabars and some type of art supplies or craft etc. They actually look forward to trading it in.

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    My mom used to buy ours off us but I still ate plenty of it. Lol.

    I'm loving all the ideas from the comments. Thx for sharing.

  • http://www.rhodeygirltests.com Rhodeygirltests

    How about letting Kamea trick or treat.. allow her to keep 1- or a few- pieces of candy, and then taking her to a soup kitchen to donate the rest. It wouldn't be wasteful, and she could do something GOOD with it!

  • Pure Mothers

    First of all – that costume rocks on you! Love it. I read the Mothering article (my fav magazine) and think it's awesome. How cool to turn something worrisome into something to actually look forward to each year. We have friends with 2 boys that have been doing something different, as well. Kids love to participate and get dressed up. So they go and collect candy, but then their mom and dad make a deal. They can keep 5 pieces of candy (after they remove the really dreadful pieces) OR they can keep just one and make an exchange for the candy for $$. The kids go for the 1 piece and $ every time. But their mom is also an Earth Mother midwife who raises them on good, organic food, so they think frozen grapes are candy!

  • Ashley

    There is a place called “Operation Gratitude” where you can send the candy you have leftover in a care package to the troops in Afghanistan.

  • Denise

    Well, to eliminate the entire candy experience could backfire badly. We're a vegan family (but not raw) and though sweets are in short supply in our house, Halloween is not only my favorite holiday but it's a very special day of fantasy and fun. We go all out on the decorations and the kids look forward to it for weeks. Our rule is to limit candy pieces to the number of the child's age. The rest go to mommy's office (where my colleagues are grateful). When my daughter turned ten, I hated the idea of her scarfing down ten pieces in a sitting so I told her I'd trade her $1 for each piece. She decided $8 and 2 of her favorite pieces of candy was a good trade. It's probably too much to expect a small child not to want to enjoy some bad stuff every now and then and we think it's harmless when it is limited to every now and then. More importantly, we love for our children to build the same memories we had the opportunity to build as kids which feels far more important to us than to make sure they don't have a piece of Snickers a couple of times a year.

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Thx for sharing. :)

  • Louise

    Some friends of mine have a twenty acre property, and at Halloween a group of families would get together at their place and do trick or treating there. They would have some of the parents/friends dressing up and providing stations, where the small group of children would stop and interact with the character and get a treat (a treat could be any type of coveted food or even little presents, crystals, stones, fresh nuts, cookies, shiny/colourful buttons etc) and then the children would move on to the next. Each station was lit up with pumpkins and out of hearing range from the one before. Depending on how many children were involved, there could be a number of groups (one year there were three groups, of about five to eight kids each). At the end of the loop there was a firepit where the hosts would serve homemade gingerbread and warm apple cider (again other food ideas could be substituted) and all the people would gather, hang out, and then wander off home at will. It was really wonderful and more fun and magical than regular trick or treating. The local Waldorf school did something similar as well. I plan to try to do something like this with my kids when they come along if I can.
    The idea could be adapted for the city in any house that was big enough (with different stations being in different rooms) or big yards etc. When the kids were really small they just had the stations around the house, and as the kids got bigger the route became longer.

  • Teresa

    The fun of Halloween is NOT actually eating the treats but dressing up and going door to door. Those are wonderful memories. I wouldn’t deny her of a few treats….it is not going to harm her and she’ll have sweet memories of Halloween too.

  • Crys

    We LOVE Halloween! It is such a fun holiday of dress up.
    This was our 51/2 yr olds first Halloween trick or treating. At this point he knows we're vegan and knows what it means. We looked through all the candy and set aside that which was not vegan and put in a bag under his pillow for the candy fairy whom them leaves a gift in return. The candy fairy melts it all down, according to color, pours it in the forest and the next year, flowers come up! I know, a bit corny, but he liked it!
    The rest he can choose to keep or trade for candy that is “better” for him…granola bars, energy bars, fruit, bug bites (2 nerds boxes to one small bar). This works great for our kid and no complaints from him…yet.

    We set out organic rice crispy type treats and lollipops and some other folks had stickers, pencils, etc.

    I honestly throw it all away. I don't really Want to give it to anyone else and fuel a corn syrup habit….I don't consider it wasteful at all as I don't consider it to be food.

    Next year we will go to less houses and only take 1 each:)..thou I'd like to simply not take any of it at all I also want him to have fun…I'm still thinking on this one!

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Thanks for sharing. Great stuff!!

  • http://www.rawdorable.blogspot.com shannonmarie

    Thanks so much for the link to this article. My son can't wait to start experimenting :-)

  • Melissasidur

    I know I'm about a week late, but we're vegan and we LOVE Halloween! I have a 4 year old and a six year old. They love to dress up and trick-or-treat! We homeschool, but it's a charter. I homeschool, but the kids are able to go for enrichment classes a couple times a week where they socialize with other homeschool kids from our area (we live in So. Cal). They're able to dress up in their costumes to go there, if they want. We also hit a local farm's pumpkin patch where they get to pick their pumpkin off the vine every year. I make a vegan dough, and they get out the Halloween cookie cutters. They do a Halloween craft. This year I tried something a little different. My husband and I dressed up which the kids love. My son was a chef and I was his stove. My daughter was a firefighter and my husband was her firetruck. I also ordered a few things from the Natural Candy Store (a ghost lollipop and some vegan gf chocolate whizzers). They had the lollipops and never even finished the little packets of chocolate. They took the candy that they got and came home and handed it out at our door to the neighborhood kids. That was actually their favorite part. My four year old daughter gave me the candy in her pumpkin and said, “I don't want to eat the junk.” It was pretty funny. I did give all that crap out to the kids in the neighborhood. I felt bad, but they wanted it and I got rid of it. It's nice for our holidays to be about the holidays. I didn't get that growing up.

  • http://GreenMommyBlog.com/ Kristen Suzanne

    Fun stuff! So glad you shared your story with us. Thank you!

  • http://x.planteridea.staticcling.org/set-of-two-kamea.htm Set Of Two Kamea

    [...] What To Do With Halloween Candy As A Vegan Mom As a vegan mom, I've been struggling with what to do for Halloween in the coming years, when Kamea is old enough to wear a costume and say “trick-or-treat.” I, myself, have so many fond memories from childhood on Halloween. [...]