The dark side to Halloween - and what to do about it

From the beginning of September to the end of October, social media would have us believe that we’re ALL excited for Halloween. And while it’s true that most of us anticipate this fun and spooky holiday, many people are much less enthused.

What are some of the common worries and complaints about Halloween, and what can we do about them?

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1) Trick or Treating is risky

The “dark side” of trick or treating is the stuff of nightmares - poisoned candy, or treats embedded with razor blades. Thankfully, these stories are mostly urban legends, and no child has ever been poisoned by randomly distributed candy or seriously injured by a pin or razor.

The riskiest part of Trick or Treating is that your child will be given a can of pop and those things are HEAVY to carry…and you know it's always the parent who has to carry the heavy stuff.

(Traffic is also a worry, so stay safe by teaching your kids the rules of the road and wearing reflectors or glow lights!)

2) Too much candy

They eat too much of it, we eat too much of it....nobody really NEEDS two pillow cases of bite-sized pieces of chocolate candy, which make it easy to eat the equivalent of five chocolate bars in one sitting, while naively believing you're just eating small amounts. Some tricks for this include:

  • The Switch Witch

  • Having 1-2 days where everyone can eat as much as they want and then giving away the rest or throwing it out.

  • Getting paid by the pound to trade the candy in at your dentist’s office

3) Environmental waste

Halloween is definitely a burden on our world. The cheap decorations and costumes, the packaged candy, and the millions of pumpkins that get dumped in the landfill each year make it hard to enjoy these holiday traditions. Consider these tips:

  • Get your Halloween costume second-hand from online groups or second-hand clothing stores

  • Use natural decorations outside, such as hay bales and dried grasses or berries

  • Consider alternatives to Halloween candy, such as the City of Ottawa trick or swim or skate passes

  • Donate your pumpkin to a local pig…many animals LOVE pumpkins, and local farms will accept carved pumpkins after Halloween. Call your favourite farm to inquire!

4) Some kids just can't handle it

The stress of going door to door, of talking to strangers, of getting dressed up - while fun for some kids, Halloween can be an anxiety trigger for others. Offer to go out and do something else fun instead:

  • go to the movies

  • go for a bowling night as a family

  • grab a big bag of popcorn and some candy and have a fun night in watching a movie. Leave a bowl of candy out front for the trick or treaters to help themselves to, or have one parent doling out candy on the porch

Is Halloween a nightmare for you or your child? Share your experiences in the comments below!