When I was a kid, which was when dinosaurs roamed the earth, when you went trick-or-treating, you got not only candy, but taffy apples, fruit and penny toys. That was in the days before sickos put pins or razor blades in fruit. So, now it's candy, candy and more candy. It's not just one piece of candy at each house, either. It's great fistfuls of candy. So, by the time my son is finished, he has a wagon full of candy. No kid NEEDS a wagon full of candy. Ever.
When my son was 5 years old, we discovered it wasn't the sugar that made him bounce off the walls as much as the food coloring did. As you can imagine, Halloween has been a nightmare for us; no Smarties, M&M's, Tootsie Pops, Skittles, Laffy Taffy or Lemonheads. It is a veritable food coloring nightmare. Trying to keep him off all that stuff after he had it in his possession was terribly stressful. My husband and I would have a sense of dread by mid-October, every year, as Halloween approached.
Then, if matters weren't bad enough, we discovered that our son is also gluten intolerant. We finally got him to stick to a gluten free diet which has helped him both with his digestive system and improved his behavior. But now the prospect of keeping him away from both candy with food coloring and gluten was even more of a nightmare. Basically, all he can eat is Hershey's Chocolates, Snickers bars, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and 3 Musketeers. I wasn't sure about Milky Way and 3 Musketeers Bars, so I looked up the ingredients online and discovered that Milky Way has gluten and 3 Musketeers does not. I never expected to be googling "ingredients in a Milky Way bar". I can add that to the list of things I never expected to do.
I am a member of several online support groups for kids like mine and a few years ago, an "angel", well, actually, another Mom of a special needs child came up with the most brilliant idea that has saved Halloween for us and turned it back into a fun holiday. My son gets to collect a shitload of candy and then when he gets home, we sort it into categories; the stuff he can eat and the stuff he can't eat. I remove all the "contraband" and give him a couple of bucks in exchange. Then, I hide it in my room and eat it when he is at school or after he has gone to bed. Please don't tell him this since he thinks I throw it away! Everybody happy.
Halloween has turned into a multi-billion dollar holiday and retailers do everything in their power to keep that going year after year. I wish we lived in a "sane" country where food coloring was banned and where the citizens care about what food manufacturers are putting in our food. Until that happens, we'll keep on doing the "candy exchange." Did you realize that the amount of food coloring in food in this country has increased significantly since 2012?
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