Halloween Side Effects

English: Candy corn, specifically Brach's cand...

English: Candy corn, specifically Brach’s candy corn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is Halloween.  I would ask that you watch your child’s behavior and complaints over the next 3-4 days.  If you observe something, don’t just blame it on “sugar.”  What is sugar often accompanied by?  Red food dye.  Blue food dye.  Yellow food dye.  Dairy.  Wheat.  Nuts.  High fructose corn syrup.  Preservatives.  Artificial flavors like vanillin.

In our family I expect to see some of the following in my children, and I know what to expect from each child for the next several days:

  • Insomnia
  • Over-excitability and fidgeting (temporary ADHD-like symptoms)
  • Crying
  • Most out of the ordinary anger outbursts
  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Stomach aches
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Bloating

So if I know it’s coming why do I allow it?  I don’t know.  They like to eat the candy?

And if I know the red food dye or artificial flavoring does that, does the child get a free ticket for anger and meanness?  No.

Do I understand all of this food stuff?  No, but I’m now convinced that it makes a huge difference.

I am glad for all the food diaries we kept, the food exclusion/food inclusion/food exclusion/food inclusion/food exclusion/food inclusion we persevered in, and all the information becoming available which allowed us to pinpoint so many things we took to be a part of our and our kids’ personalities and physicalities–which were related to food.  Today, many of these symptoms are a choice in our family.  Why we’d still choose to inflict them on ourselves with food on special occasions where we want to feel tip-top is beyond me.  So as a mom, as a former working doctor who saw all this stuff and prescribed Zyrtec and Allegra and Flonase and Singulaire and Miralax and lactulose and Tylenol and Ritalin and Adderall and Concerta and Zoloft and Paxil and Prozac and more–perhaps for constant food exposure rather than an intrinsic problem–I ask you to consider food.  Be diligent.  To truly test the theory will require a bulldog nature because labels are so confusing and food is everywhere.

Happy Halloween.  Go eat your candy–with awareness.


(My party is over.  Back to resistant starch, fiber, short chain fatty acids, butyrate, and improper physiology.)

20 thoughts on “Halloween Side Effects

  1. The Vanilla Housewife

    We went to a Halloween trick or treat activity in my husband’s office and my little one has a pail full of treats. I weeded out most of the junk (and ate them myself) but I must confess, the little one had too much candy today and was soooo cranky before I left for work. 😦

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      I’m so sorry he is soooo cranky–at least the candy didn’t make you cranky, too! (That’s my problem with candy–makes me cranky mom dealing with three cranky kids, trying to pretend to do school…) Hope you had a good day at work and the candy effects wear off soon!

  2. All Seasons Cyclist

    Our sons are now grown so we don’t have to worry about this. However, to keep us from experiencing any of these problems we buy Halloween candy that neither my wife nor I like — therefore there is no temptation to indulge in the packs of dyed sugar. And the last kid who visits our house on Halloween always hits the jackpot — we empty the candy bowl into his or her bag!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      This is the first year I have not given out candy. Unlike you smart, disciplined ones, we always bought candy we loved and hated giving away and we kept the “jackpot.” LOL.–Just today, when we were in the store’s line after sifting through tattoos, pens, and glow-in-the-dark bats, my daughter asked, “Why don’t we just give out candy?” “Well, if I say you shouldn’t eat it, should I give it to other kids?” It would be a lot easier to just give out the chemicals.

  3. IrishMum

    We don’t give out candy, we don’t even open the door. We have tried the stickers and small toys but I am over it now. Those kids should know that I am doing them a favour 😉

      1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. You’re a rock star. 🙂 We do okay here. Seriously though–many moms ask me how to do this for their kids. I’d like to get takes on different approaches–tough love ones, easing into it ones, ideas that have worked, failed, etc. We’ve really crossed a bridge in our eating culture, and I feel the way most people let their kids eat is wreaking havoc. So I’d love to motivate people to take this step.

      2. IrishMum

        I know what you mean, but I don’t believe in half measures. You know? If I know something is bad for my kids I just can’t feed it to them on a regular basis. So I’m no rock star, in fact it is easy for me. I am black or white about it. We just went cold turkey on most of the bad stuff. We do occasionally ‘cheat’ but those occasions get less and less as the years go by.
        I tell my friend any little step is a step forward, no matter if they go all in or baby steps they are still going in the right direction. There is no one size fits all.

      3. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Thank you. I respect your opinion and appreciate your offering it. There is no one right way, but hearing how others like you do it successfully can help many. Thanks again. Hope all the door-knocking didn’t bring you any tricksters. 🙂

  4. lakenormanprep

    Lol! I read the first part “Today is Halloween. I would ask that you watch your child’s behavior and complaints over the next 3-4 days. If you observe something, don’t just blame it on “sugar.” What is sugar often accompanied by?” to my kids aloud and they immediately blurted out the other things in candy. They all know the bad stuff in the candy and they know how it makes them feel (bad). They will go crazy today on the sugar (eating it throughout the day). Tomorrow they will all eat soup to cleanse their systems and then they will forget about it. In fact, they had to throw out their candy from last year last night. They love the excitement from getting the candy, but they know that it doesn’t do any good for their bodies. I find the more I put my foot down and do not allow it, the more they sneak it. By explaining the effects it will have on them, they realize it on their own. In fact, they call each other out on it. It is pretty funny every year around this time. (Another funny thing-last night while going through their candy, they picked out everything with gluten and red dye on their own.)

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Oh, man…can we be “real” friends? This is exactly what I want for my household and everybody’s household! If only kids knew, they’d have such a better chance! Usually parents think it’s enough to say, “That’s not healthy.” Or (cringe), “That’s fattening.” Thank you for commenting so other readers know it can be done! Lots of moms and friends ask me, “How?” Thank you!

  5. Jacqueline

    We decided not to hand out candy this year. I didn’t want it in the house and now after reading this I’m glad we didn’t do it! Of course, I still managed to eat my fair of candy this holiday and am feeling the negative effects. Thanks for posting this.

      1. mummyflyingsolo

        Yes I’m around just still trying to catch up and get on top of everything, including blogging! It’s almost more work to go away lol All good here. Thank you for the thoughts 🙂

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