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Don’t be spooked, let your little goblins eat the candy corn

Across the nation, parents like me are bracing for the annual sugar rush known as Halloween. I’ve got pounds of mini-treats to pass out to neighborhood goblins and ghouls. But many parents struggle to balance our kids’ mania for sweets with a nagging feeling that all that candy can’t be a good thing.

Everybody knows: Candy rots kids’ teeth. Candy ruins kids’ dinner. Candy makes kids fat. Any and all sugars will pitch the fragile child into a lifelong battle with diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

But a lot of this worry about children and candy isn’t about candy at all. It is about whether children have a right to their own pleasure.

Consider the lollipop, the ultimate symbol of children’s innocence. The sweet lollipop is a few licks from the illicit, and Lolita with her bright-red candy on a stick is just the beginning. Search online for an “all-day sucker,” and you may find a kid in a candy store — or accessories for an X-rated bachelorette party. Children’s candy pleasure is unabashedly sensual, and that is part of adults’ problem with it.

Candyland is a real place, and it starts on top of my fridge

The chocolate in most mass-produced candy bars is as waxy and luscious as any pillar or stick at a mall candle store.

Candy corn tastes nothing like corn and it’s debatable whether it is worth bothering with calling itcandy.

Jaw breakers, lollipops, and gumballs are choking hazards.

Sweet tarts, Sprees, and Smarties are little disks of processed cringe, perfect for when you want to experience the feeling of your throat puckering.

And classic Tootsie Rolls? Reminiscent of cough medicine, cat poo, and cement.

I love them all.

Halloween is looming and with it parents find themselves ranting about all the candy that will be in the house. Some kids harvest quite a bit and we are no exception. In fact, with several kids of trick-or-treating age I anticipate at least a dozen pounds of pure evil perched on top of our refrigerator. I like seeing it there, knowing that at any time I can be the proverbial kid in the candy store. I smile when I find an empty candy wrapper in my pocket.

Candy is not evil in ounce form. A piece will not

Fun-Sized Season is No Fun for Peanut Allergic Kids

It’s not too early to start thinking about Halloween and Fall harvest parties. How do I know this? Because the stores told me. The moment the first bell rang on the first day of school, clerks everywhere sprang into action. Out with the lunch boxes and in with the treat buckets! If you don’t have your costumes chosen or created by now, you might as well start cutting eye holes in your Egyptian cotton sheets. Show me your treat sack. Here’s a rock.

Because it’s the season of Fun Sized candies, I start getting nervous. Walking down aisles of candies, candies, and candies confirms we are a country deeply in love with our peanuts. I won’t mention brand names, but the deluge of Futterbingers, Nickers, and Peese’s Reanutbutter Goblets scream how popular dusty little legumes can be—especially when coated in chocolate. Who doesn’t like the tiny but mighty peanut?

Those of us who have peanut-allergic kids.

Mama Drama: Calming the Candy Crash

Dear Mama Drama:

Every year I dread the post-Halloween crash. My kids are exhausted and alternately hyper and cranky from sugar highs and lows. After they spend so much time planning costumes, decorating the house, carving pumpkins, and trick-or-treating, I don’t have the heart to limit their candy. How can I help them moderate their candy intake without ruining the fun?

~Crash Tested Mama

 (photo credit)

Dear Crash Tested:

The hype, anticipation, and preparation for Halloween do make it a holiday many parents struggle to manage. However, just like with other parts of parenting, it’s our job to set limits and create structure for our children.

I’m assuming your kids are a bit older as you have experienced this a few times. First, I would talk with your children about what you notice when they binge on their candy and how it effects how they feel physically and emotionally. They may notice the connection of the highs and low or it may be a good learning moment for them.

Next, negotiate a reasonable plan for eating their candy. Some things to include in the conversation are eating plenty of fruits and veggies as well as protein to even out those highs and lows, eating candy after meals, and limiting their overall intake each day.

Depending on their age and how trustworthy your kids are, you may also need to address whether the candy is out for them to access independently or should be put away for you to dole out. I would involve them in this decision as well, asking them how they think they’ll be able to handle regulating themselves. They may each have different needs or skills, so be flexible.

How do you manage the Halloween candy aftermath?

Motherhood is an amazing journey that can have its share of Mama Drama. The Mama Drama column runs on Fridays with everyday mothering questions from readers and answers providing strategies to tackle these daily challenges. Send your questions and challenges to [email protected], and your Mama Drama could be in next week’s column! Lisa is also available for private consultations. All emails and identifying information will remain confidential. Read more of Lisa’s parenting perspective at her Laughing Yoga Mama blog.

Valentine’s Day Product Picks: Goodies for the Family

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and while I am not one to give into the Hallmark holiday, this year, I couldn’t resist, but only because of Hank the Tank. It’s like once you have kids, you kind of see what Hallmark is all about. I have found two delightful Colorado-based companies that will bring a smile to your family’s faces. I feel if I am going to splurge on this holiday, I have at least got to keep the money pumping into the Colorado economy; it makes me feel better for my retail therapy.

JJ’s Sweets
Boulder, Colorado

Not too many kids can claim their day is a candy man, but 7-year-old Liliana is one lucky gal!

J.J. of J.J.'s Sweets

Her dad is the modern-day version of Willy Wonka. After years as a musician, educator and other assorted career ventures, JJ Rademaekers had an epiphany one night during a dream and wahlah—JJ’s Sweets was born. His Boulder-based company creates delicious delicacies for all sweet-toothed lovers. And it wouldn’t be a Boulder product if it weren’t produced with biodegradable packaging, cardboard and recyclable materials.

With the crazy amount of allergies present in diets today, JJ wanted to take into account everyone’s needs and produce a candy that is not only unique, but contains healthy fat. His

Sweet! Colorado is candy country you and your kids will love

This Halloween, instead of trying to pass yourself off as a costume- clad grade-schooler or rifling through your kid’s goody bag to claim the Halloween Parent Tax, visit one of Colorado’s prized candymakers to stockpile your own booty before the big night.

Moms and dads will hardly notice that pile of jawbreakers and lollipops once they’ve reserved a private, hidden stash of locally made, Grand Marnier-flavored truffles.

Colorado is home to a smorgasbord of independent confectioners and candy boutiques. Some sell their wares worldwide on the Internet, and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchise stores serve as Colorado’s chocolaty ambassadors to places including Canada and the Virgin Islands.

Many locals fondly remember the red-and-white barn in Wheat Ridge that for decades produced one of the state’s most delicious exports, Jolly Rancher candies. That company was acquired by Hershey in 2002, and the entire manufacturing operation moved to Pennsylvania. The worst part of the move: We lost those awesome factory tours.

But even with the relocation of Jolly Rancher, there are still many local candy companies, some offering tours. Take the kids or don’t;