by Jocelyn Jane Cox
Last year, when our son was almost two years old, we took him trick-or-treating for Halloween and something beautiful and unexpected occurred: he didn’t open any of the candy OR show any interest in eating it. He thought they were just objects. We told him, “They are the treats!” without explaining any further. Our lack of full disclosure may have been evil or it may have been genius (you are welcome to be the judge.) The point is that he enjoyed going trick or treating WITHOUT the sugar high and that made me practically giddy.
It helped that my husband and I didn’t open or eat any of the candy either. It also helped that our neighbor across the street (our first trick-or-treat stop) gave him a little pod of cheerios, so he contentedly nibbled at those all night.
This year, I know it will be a different story; though he still he hasn’t had much candy (yeah, I put raisins in his Easter Eggs), candy has now hit his radar. I’m not intending to lie to my child about what is inside all those little packages, and I am intending to let him eat some of the treats if he wants to. But I am also trying to figure out other ways we can make use of this candy without actually opening it. This is what I’ve come up with so far:
- Vehicles: Tape candy bars together in a long line to make choo-choo trains. Or add button wheels to construct matchbox cars or guitar-pick wings for airplanes. Sure, they’re not as fun as real toys, but they do make a nice crinkling sound that could, with a bit of imagination, be interpreted as the purr (or sputter?) of engines.
- Art supplies: Melt candy down to make “paint.” Get creative with the essential colors…milk chocolate, white chocolate, Red 40, and Yellow 5.
- Sorting: Hours of organizational fun! As in: “Can you put all items that look alike into piles? Then place them carefully in Mommy’s desk drawer, this drawer right here, the one that only Mommy can open with a key?”
- Reading material: “Look at all these interesting letters…small case, upper case, in a myriad of fonts. And here are some extra long words that even Mommy can’t pronounce!” (By the way, you’re not lying if you take this opportunity to explain that the Milky Way is spiral-shaped galaxy and Hershey is a city in Pennsylvania.)
- Juggling: It’s never too early to start teaching your child the ultimate exercise in hand-eye coordination. And this is obviously a wonderful first step on the career path to becoming a clown.
- Basketball: This is the perfect way to practice your lay-ups! Your free-throws! Your slam dunks! Right into the…garbage can.
- Holiday decorations: Get a jump on things this year by adding hooks to candy to create Christmas tree ornaments or string them together as a holiday garland.
So what are you going to do with your candy this year? Please share your serious or funny ideas on the Nyack News and Views facebook page.
By the way, most of the above is, of course, a joke, except for the desire to avoid the crazy sugar overload. This is why, in all seriousness, I really like The Teal Pumpkin Project even though we don’t suffer from allergies.
Jocelyn Jane Cox is a freelance writer and author. Her 2012 humor book on life in the New York suburbs, The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness: How to handle natural disasters, design dilemmas and various infestations, is available on Amazon.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JocelynJaneCox.