Yes, 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.