Word association test: The cue is “Halloween.” The first thing that comes to mind for most Americans is candy, right? Candy is made from sugar. Evidence strongly connects sugar with a weak and suppressed immune system. A feeble immune system is not a particularly good thing to have in the midst of a pandemic, even one that a bunch of people want to pretend doesn’t exist.
Of course, this year, the spookyscape will be very different in many communities. Children may not be traipsing from house to house. Residents may not want just anybody coughing on their porches. While mourning the probable loss of the neighborhood trick-or-treat custom, we tend to forget another tradition that thrives in some places. Grownups organize events at senior centers and assisted living facilities, where kids can parade around the common area in their costumes, and maybe even collect some treats. The custom is unlikely to be widely observed this year, or perhaps ever again.
Go haunt yourself
The usual sources of much seasonal enjoyment will be gone. Schools and other institutions will not be having parties unless they don’t care much about lawsuits or human life. Haunted houses are not advised. If any parents are incautious enough to throw a party for the kids, surely they will not be bobbing for apples. Anyone who has the technology would probably be smart to skip the party and organize a virtual costume contest instead.
If there must be a group activity, let it be outdoors, distanced, and masked. Under the right circumstances, jack-o-lantern carving is said to be pretty safe. (For little kids, little pumpkins and markers.) Some experts say that visiting a pumpkin patch could be okay. An outdoor costume parade might be pretty low-risk. We spoke recently of some not-recommended, high-risk activities. Some parents are under extreme pressure to cave in and relax their isolation standards. Much compassion should be extended toward them.
The mole people
The safest of all is staying at home. Have a scary movie night with popcorn. Some parents are lucky enough to be in control of how much candy comes through the doors this season. To add a little pizzazz to the evening, they might borrow from the Easter egg hunt tradition and somehow divert the kids’ attention while they hide treats all around the living space.
A person might expect that all previous Childhood Obesity News posts about this holiday are devoted to emphasizing how disgusting it is to allow children a candy feast. But a person would be mistaken! Many, many articles from this collection are about candy avoidance, and a big part of that topic is alternate activities. Lots of people have made very inspired suggestions about how to do things that are so much fun, the kids forget to miss the sugar orgy. Type “Halloween” into the search box on this website, and have a creativity festival instead.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Image by Pat Hartman