It is that time of year again, when our little angels score bags full of sweets and turn into monsters running amuck through the neighborhood…and also wear costumes. While I respect and applaud those parents who have made the household issue of sugar a total nonstarter, I have to admit when I look back on holidays from my childhood, part of the fun and excitement was the treats.
The bags of loot poured out onto the living room floor to start a late night sibling trading session Wall Street would be impressed by, the sugar cookies painstakingly created with mom as each silver draggee and sprinkle star was carefully placed on tiny frosted Christmas trees, the pecan and cinnamon laden apple pie on the Thanksgiving table, those gorgeously stale peeps that were all the more chewy for the sprigs of plastic grass imbedded in their sides, the ridiculously badly-punned candies taped and glued to misshapen construction paper hearts (I chews you!)…I mean peace on earth and love for mankind was all good and fine, but as a kid there was also a part of me that silently boomed, Show Me the Sugar!
Maybe this was because our household was one where processed sugar and junk didn’t really have a home — our “junk” cereal was Cheerios and there were only two somewhat rare meals that ever earned a glass of non-ice water accompaniment (pizza and tostadas). Maybe that is the answer, we should be looking at these sugary prizes (well earned for facing the neighbor’s killer chihuahua and that coach dad who may or may not be the life sized mummy dummy on the porch, or the elderly woman down the block who makes you tell a joke or sing a song for your candy), as “treats” in the true sense of the word — a special out of the norm, a mark of a rare occasion.
In any case, we aren’t here to judge. In fact, we won’t say boo. Every family has their own ways that work for them. But if you are looking for a hand to make the holiday a little healthier, we hit up the experts for tips (conveniently included at the end of the Trick or Treat guide). If you are of the mind to let the kids go nuts on that one night, but want to rein in the chaos in short order, we have tips from another medical pro about adding a good dose of activity to balance the scale (in the Ask the Expert department). If your kids are older, and you fear the holiday will come with some scary peer pressure, our Family Wellness column might open your eyes about underage drinking.
If you were too tied up with class projects and soccer practice and bake sales and now the costume store looks as bedraggled and barren as the haunted house you helped draw on the party invites, we have ideas you can pull together from items around the house — 26 six of them, one for every letter of the alphabet. Two of our favorites we featured on our cover (researching your family heritage for ideas) and in the A to Z feature (gaining inspiration from a favorite book). In fact, I swapped out my pic at the top for one of my kiddo who fell in love with The Phantom Tollbooth and decided to go as the Invisible Man. (No one had a clue who he was, but thought he looked super creepy and he got to tell everyone how good the book was all night.)
If you scrap the whole Halloween experience in your home, we added a Fall Festival and Harvest Happening Guide for events around OC. All we really hope for this festive time of year is that you spend some time together building family memories. After all, what could be sweeter?