Also back then, nobody worried much about eating candy on this holiday, other than quelling fights between siblings over candy trades. Probably because: We didn’t have GMO corn syrup (possibly more allergenic), high fructose corn syrup (a reliable mercury source), trans fats (nasty for young brains), or a bunch of other oddities now in food. And we didn’t get candy on a regular basis either. The amount of weird processed stuff marketed so relentlessly to moms and kids now didn’t exist either. No squeeze tube yogurts (this is basically candy), many fewer processed soft drink or soda options (candy), no Goldfish Colors (is that food?), power bars (many are sugared oats with vitamins sprinkled in, so… candy). So, Halloween candy was an actual treat, not a daily, disguised-as-food lunchbox item.
So now what? Twenty-first century Halloween candy is rife with all sorts of chemicals that nobody should eat, especially kids, who are smaller and have lesser capacity to process toxins that us adults. But, it’s Halloween! If it works for your family to entirely defer the candy frenzy, of course that’s better for your kids. No way around it. But, seriously, who does that? (If you do, my hat is off to you.)
Your options depend on your kids, and your intuition as a parent. Kids avoiding colors, additives, or allergens obviously have to be especially careful: Expect any Feingold diet followers to go bonkers if they get some Haribo gummy candies. If they do get an item that is too much for their little livers, brains, and intestines to process, you can:
1 – Give a digestive enzyme to help process the food. Use a DPP-IV enzyme for a wheat/dairy transgression. Use a broad spectrum enzyme like Tri-Enza if you’re not sure. Use a phenol enzyme like No-Fenol to help excrete those colors and dyes. Chewable versions of these are available. They may diminish reactions.
3 – You can stick with candy that is made with cane sugar, colorings from vegetable extracts, and naturally occuring, unprocessed fats or oils, rather than high fructose corn syrup, fake food dyes, and artificially manipulated fats, which, undesirable as all this sugary fatty stuff is, is actually easier for a human gut and liver to manage. There is a whole universe of organic Halloween candy out there, awaiting your perusal. This will lower your children’s toxic load to some degree.
If you are feeding your family healthy whole foods most the time, barring any dangerous reactions to known trigger items, a day or two of candy should not tumble your child for long. If it does, all levity aside, this is a sign that some nutritional support and clean up is in order. Most importantly, give your kids as safe, happy, and healthy a Halloween that you can, without demonizing the candy – which can backfire into making it a highly sought out item year round. Make the memories good, not stressful – you don’t want to go down in history as the house that gave out toothbrushes or you might get egged the next year!