Archive for Thursday, November 1, 2007

The day-after dilemma: what to do with the candy

November 1, 2007


Zombies invade downtown Lawrence

Volunteers at the Wednesdays at Liberty Hall program transformed junior high students into ghoulish creatures before the students starred in a zombie movie of their own. Enlarge video

Haskell shares its haunted past

Students, faculty and staff have compiled some of Haskell Indian Nations University's spookiest stories and plan to share them at tours on Halloween night. Enlarge video

On the street

Did your parents limit the amount of Halloween candy you ate?

My mom stole a lot of it, but she didn’t really limit how much I could have.

More responses

Susan Krumm was not impressed with my piece of candy logic.

In a quest to help you find a safe and sane way to dispose of the approximately three tons of Halloween candy that is now weighing down your kitchen counter, I've been thinking a lot about candy.

Sure, I know it probably isn't a good idea to eat all of it. At least not at one sitting.

But surely there is some piece of magical candy that we can eat as much as we want and still feel good about it. After much deliberation, I determined that the sinless sweet must be: Bit O'Honey.

Think about it.

It is honey. That's natural. And here's the deal-sealer: It's not a lot. It is only a bit.

"Oh, that sticky candy worries me as much as anything," said Krumm, a nutritional educator with the Douglas County Extension Office. "Sugary candy that is sticky is a problem because it sticks to your teeth. That sticky candy can be deadly for your teeth."

Humpf. That's what you get for asking a nutrition educator.

So, what does Krumm suggest? Moderation.

In fact, she said probably one to two pieces of candy a day is about all that is wise to eat from a nutritional standpoint. Yeah, as you now read this - one day after Halloween - your children probably have eaten a 60-day supply of candy.

"You know, candy isn't even on the food pyramid anymore," Krumm said. "We really want to limit those empty calories."

Well, sure, if you are into pyramids.

Gayle Sherman, a dietitian with the WIC program of the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, said we really ought to be interested in such matters. She did a little research and found that if you ate a snack-size Milky Way candy bar every day - and that candy bar was the only food that put you over your daily recommended allowance for calories - you would gain eight pounds in a year.

Here are some suggestions from Krumm and Sherman on how to deal with the candy deluge:

¢ Sherman suggests putting the trick back into trick or treat. She says it may not be a bad idea to throw half the candy away once the children go to bed.

"Younger kids probably won't know how much was there anyway," Sherman said.

To me, that seems like it will take up a lot of landfill space, but that's just me.

Krumm counters, though, that instead of throwing it away, the candy could be donated to a local nursing home or senior center where residents may not get treats from family or friends very often.

She has an answer for everything.

¢ Another option is to freeze it. Krumm said most chocolate candies freeze well. The sugary, sticky candies - like lollipops, Jolly Ranchers and, yes, Bit O'Honey - do not freeze well. She recommends putting the candy in small bags and pulling out a limited amount of candy at a time.

¢ Using logic - regular logic, not candy logic - is another option. Krumm said the Halloween holiday is a good opportunity to discuss nutrition with children.

"You can tell them that candy is part of the celebration, and that is fine, but it is not a good thing to eat all the time," Krumm said.

Dr. Keith Van Horn, a Lawrence dentist, agrees. He said a candy extravaganza for special occasions is OK for your teeth, as long as you are prepared to put in a little extra time with the toothbrush.

"Just realize that you need to be more thorough in your brushing and flossing," Van Horn said. "That's what I'm going to do."

Out on the streets of Lawrence, many parents were planning on being a bit more permissive than the nutritional experts suggest.

"I say it is a free-for-all on Halloween," said Andrew Klotz, who was visiting from Durango, Colo. "Let them eat till they get sick. They'll learn a lesson."

Ah, yes, tough love. I like it.

Pass me the Bit O'Honey.


sourpuss 7 years, 11 months ago

If you don't want the candy, why go out and collect it? Just throw a fun Halloween party and skip the "Trick or Treating" part.

kmat 7 years, 11 months ago

What a stupid article. If you think you've let your kid get too much candy, then don't take them to every house in your neighborhood. We had lazy parents that first took their kids downtown, then drove them around my neighborhood (well known to be crazy on Halloween - tons of people really do it up) and had them going block to block. They don't live in our neighborhood, but their parents had no issues bringing them here.

What ever happened to going to the houses on your block and a few on other blocks (usually friends houses) and calling it a night?

I envy my parents growing up. The nieghborhood I grew up in did adult trick or treating after 9:00. The parents would take turns going to specified houses for shots (the Jone's always had Jack, the Smiths' tequilla, etc...). I remember my parents always loving Halloween, but they always took the day after as a vacation day. I never understood until I got older. ha ha.

costello 7 years, 11 months ago

"They don't live in our neighborhood, but their parents had no issues bringing them here."

Why would they have issues bringing their kids to your neighborhood? If you don't want out-of-neighborhood kids knocking on your door, turn your porch light off and let the pre-selected kids know in advance to come your house.

When my son was small we frequently trick-or-treated out of our own neighborhood. Several years he wanted to trick-or-treat with friends who lived across town. One year we were in the country - no neighbors at all. Several years we lived in neighborhoods where no one seemed to be interested in trick-or-treating. Was I lazy for taking my son somewhere he could enjoy the holiday? I had no idea the smiling people handing out the candy might have begrudged my little boy a few pieces and were making value judgements on my parenting!

badger 7 years, 11 months ago

My parents would let me eat as much as I could hold Hallowe'en night (once they'd checked my candy bag for razors, needles, poison apples, and the always-suspect Snickers Bars that never made it past Mom's special 'two-bite safety test'...), and then after that the bag went on the shelf. I could have a few pieces a day (about a handful's worth), and eventually I forgot about it and threw it out when I found it again at Easter.

costello 7 years, 11 months ago

"Another spectacular article from Mr. Lawhorn filled with worthless and inaccurate information!"

I guess I missed the inaccuracies. It seems like the kind of advice you'd expect to hear from nutritionists and dentists when it comes to candy. Will most of us follow it? Probably not. Does that make it inaccurate? Not necessarily. I thought the article was kind of cute, although I agree that if you're just going to throw the candy away, you should probably go to a party or a haunted house instead of trick-or-treating.

Do they still have haunted houses?

TongieMom 7 years, 11 months ago

Simple solution to the crazy people who are worried about 'all that candy'.....First of's Halloween and if you don't want your kids to have all that candy..........then don't take them trick-or-treating! Host a Halloween party or have them sort thru and keep a certain amount and toss the rest to the homeless guy begging on the corner or give it to the 'big kids' at work :)

Common sense, which apparently some people lack, would guide you to make sure your kids are using a little moderation with the candy as well as brushing and flossing every night which is the first step in preventing tooth decay...maybe a little extra brushing after all that candy. I'd be more worried about all the sugary pop that some children drink almost daily....I'm certain that is more of an issue than a little extra candy at Halloween.

It is kind of difficult to type this as I lick the melted Snickers off my fingers though...

costello 7 years, 11 months ago

Well, I'm not sure I'd call it an inaccuracy. Possibly an oversimplification. I think it was meant to illustrate that even a tiny change in your diet could have a large effect over time.

Personally I think our present knowledge of nutrition is limited. But it's still complex enough that you can't really sum it up quickly in a cute newspaper article about Halloween candy. However, I doubt there's much controversy over the fact that candy isn't all that good for you, especially in large quantities, and that one of the bad effects of consuming too much is weight gain.

costello 7 years, 11 months ago

"I want my little guy to enjoy the same wonderful experiences I remember from my own childhood, walking from door to door in friendly, old-fashioned neighborhoods."

My thoughts exactly. Halloween is fun! I always thought the people handing out the candy were enjoying it too - even if they didn't happen to know my little ghoul personally. It's purely a voluntary thing; I never forced anyone to give my kid candy. And I swear it wasn't just a clever way of getting freebies. I could have bought the candy for less than the cost of the costume.

It was also a good chance for me to teach saying "Thank you."

When my boy was small there were quite a few foreign families in the married student housing at KU. (Maybe there still are; I don't know.) We went there a few times, and the students seemed to get a kick out of taking part in our holiday.

"Why do these people have to be so mean spirited?"

I don't know. I just don't know.

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