Are Parents Monsters in Disguise?

Moms and dads who buy and distribute Halloween candy — are they really monsters in disguise? Well, who else would poison children? Calm down, we know that parents who want their kids to have nice holiday memories are not really horrible people. But they sometimes lack awareness, and that’s never good. So we are going to highlight the hiding places of some of those poisons, as revealed by Food Babe, also known as Vani Hari, mentioned recently by Childhood Obesity News as the inventor of the term Holiday Death Aisle.

This is because, no matter how that notorious section of the supermarket is decorated, it always contains the same stuff. Sure, for Christmas, we see a lot of red and green packaging, whereas the run-up to Valentine’s Day features more bags and boxes in the red and pink range. Easter brings out the pastel shades. And Halloween of course is largely the orange segment of the palette. The point being, no matter what colors they dress it up in, the product inside is virtually identical.

Cheap ingredients are processed to a fare-thee-well, pretty much extinguishing any actual value the alleged food might have contained before the ingredients are pressed into the appropriate shape for the upcoming celebratory occasion. Whether shaped like hearts, corn kernels, eggs, or jack-o-lanterns, every piece of brightly-dyed holiday fare, no matter what its disguise, contains toxins, which is of course how the term Holiday Death Aisle originated.

Hidden Horrors

So we note some of the problems mentioned by Vani Hari, along with the interesting information that many of these substances are banned in other countries. In the good old USA, apparently, we’ll eat anything. Our holiday goodies are packed with corn syrup, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, soybean oil, monoglycerides, TBHQ, PGPR, and several other alphabetical mystery substances. Hari says about partially hydrogenated oils that they are:

The main source of trans fat in our food that contributes to heart disease. It’s so harmful to our health that even the FDA has stepped in and is requiring companies to remove this ingredient within 3 years — but until then you can still find it in Halloween candy!

Speaking of trans fat, it might, under the guise of DATEM, be an ingredient of dough conditioner. Caramel coloring is made from ammonia! So is a chemical with the charming moniker 4-MEI, a suspected carcinogen.

Then, there are the petrochemicals, derived from the same stuff that makes engines run. Chemicals made from what is, essentially, motor oil can be found in artificial flavors and artificial colors, solvents, preservatives, and emulsifiers. Some of these witches’ brew ingredients have been linked to hyperactivity, which annoys adults, especially when a family is attempting at least partial withdrawal from the public world during a pandemic.

One preservative, with the charming name of tertiary butylhydroquinone, is suspected of causing asthma, allergies, and dermatitis. A type of artificial vanilla flavor is derived from oil. Another kind comes from wood, which at least starts out as a living substance.

It is not only the petrochemicals that are suspected of causing cancers. Oh no, you’ve also got your preservative, BHT, and your growth hormones that are found in chocolate. Apparently, most of the sweetness in candy comes from sugar beets, which are specifically bred to be compatible with the herbicide Roundup, which is seriously on the list of suspected carcinogens.

Hari supplies a big list of Halloween alternatives that, while not exactly good for children, are preferable to the contents of the Holiday Death Aisle.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “How To Stop Poisoning The Neighborhood Children On Halloween,”, undated
Image by Robert Couse-Baker/CC BY 2.0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources