Halloween Candy Might be Poisonous, so Let Mom Try it First

Young girl outdoors in witch costume on Halloween holding candy

It’s that time again…surviving the week or two following Halloween.

The real problem is there are numerous times in the day when my kids are not actively watching their Halloween candy. I should suggest they lock it in a fire safe box, or tell them to hide it somewhere far off our property. But then how would I find that delicious morsel of a Milk Dud if they actually followed through?

My dilemma is children often go to school outside the home, leaving unwatched tidbits of treats. Also, some children sleep through the night, albeit mine didn’t until they were in second grade, but I digress. The thought of no longer getting some of our children’s candy is more haunting than the headless man in a coffin down the street. That bloke has been scarring my children every October for the last half decade.

So how can my husband and I “borrow” a fun-sized Snickers, without them noticing? We’ve tried it all. Disposing of the wrappers in another room and hiding them under Kleenex. Never eating more than one of the same type of candy from the same kid’s stash. I’ll tell you, multiples of one kind will lead to being found out, and it’s not pretty.

For years, I sampled my children’s goodies by pleading the Snow White law. Someone has to be brave to test the candy to make sure it’s not poisonous. The tainted apple just about took out that princess. My cute girls used to think I was so worried for their health, and always appreciated my selfless concern. Sweet, sweet girls…

“It’s out of love, Sweetie!” I would sing in a high voice with forest animals running to my feet.

But my grade school girls have caught on to our long-lived lie. The gig is up!

They carefully scan the house for new locations to hide their gooey goodies. When asked if they would like to donate their candy to the wonderful men and women in the armed forces who don’t get any candy, they scoff or roll their eyes. Since they are inching closer to the teenage years, I’m afraid to stick my hand in the proverbial honey pot. I might lose a finger or worse yet, jewelry.

So this year I bought a small assortment bag of candy for my husband and I to share. If we can have just a nibble while the kiddos are eating theirs, it couldn’t be too harmful, right? Could it keep the peace in the house? Probably, not, but hopefully, the parent stash could keep all body parts safe and our chocolate-filled children from haunting our dreams.

Author’s Note: While writing this I got a hankering for a bite of chocolate; however, when I returned to my chair, I seriously heard and felt the seat of my pants rip, not once, but twice! The good thing to come out of this is my four-inch rip completely fixed my chocolate problem. Hallelujah! My children are safe because nothing fixes candy stealing faster than a clothing fail!

(Previously published in The Kansas City Star on October 11, 2016.)


Love You, Pumpkin and Halloween Safety

KC Parent – October 2012 issue

by Stacey Hatton, RN

The crisp smell of autumn permeates the air, telling you to head to one of the local pumpkin patches because it’s time again to pick that perfect orange orb for carving your family’s masterpiece! The one thing that can ruin your October day is if someone gets hurt, and a child’s playing with knives is a surefire way to program your GPS for an urgent care trip.

“Keep kids involved and safe with pumpkin carving by letting the child design the face,” Dr. Lara Sullivan, a pediatrician at After-Hours Pediatrics urgent care center in Leawood, says. “We always let each child draw with a Sharpie marker and let the parents do the carving.”

The American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) suggests, “Any moisture on your tools, hands or table can cause slipping that can lead to injuries.” Many stores carry special pumpkin carving kits that “include small serrated pumpkin saws that work better because they are less likely to get stuck in the thick pumpkin tissue,” says ASSH.

That’s a Fact, Jack-o’-Lantern! (Source: USDA)

Orange veggies are full of beta-carotene, a plant carotenoid that converts to vitamin A in your body. A diet containing this is said to reduce certain types of cancers and improve heart health. Gotta like that!
Pumpkin (1 cup cooked, boiled, drained, without salt)
Calories 49
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrate 12 grams
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Calcium 37 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Niacin 1 mg
Potassium 564 mg
Vitamin C 12 mg
Vitamin A 2650 IU
Vitamin E 3 mg

5 Trick-or-Treat Tips

  1. Have a responsible adult accompany trick-or-treaters. If there’s a group of children going, several chaperones are needed for crowd control and crossing the streets safely.
  2. Older trick-or-treaters need a safe plan, too (if they must go). Instruct them to remain together. Review a safe route so parents know their teens’ whereabouts. They also need cell phones to be accessible.
  3. Children should wear reflective tape/clothing or carry flashlights or glow sticks for night visibility.
  4. Face paint is better than a face mask. This way the child can effectively see an approaching car, a change in landscape or stairs and curbs.
  5. NO cutting through wooded areas, back alleys or fields! Children must remain in highly populated, well-lit areas. Remember: safety in numbers, but kids still shouldn’t go into a stranger’s home or their car. Tell children it’s acceptable to be impolite and leave, if they feel uncomfortable.

Stacey Hatton is a pediatric RN and humor columnist. She can be contacted at www.NurseMommyLaughs.com.

Want to follow my blog? Scroll to the top right side of the page to “FOLLOW BY EMAIL” add your email address, then click on “SUBSCRIBE.”

© 2012, Stacey Hatton.  All rights reserved.



My Chocolate is Laughing at Me

Yes, it is that time again…surviving the week before Halloween.  The decorations are strategically placed, the pumpkins are purchased – not carved, mind you… the smell makes me barf and the girls’ Daddy has been well working until bedtime.  But they sure look pretty on the porch in a lovely formation that Martha Stewart herself would glance over her shoulder and say, “Nice job. They must not have children at their house.”  SEE, THAT CRAZY WOMAN DOESN’T KNOW EVERYTHING!!!

So back to Chocolate…and for all of you English teachers and grammatically perfect persons out there, yes I capitalize the word “Chocolate” because it is biblical to me.  A deity, if you will.  Now I will continue with my obsession.  My last week’s post regarding the snicker bars and how I was going to promptly take the bag of candy over to the neighbors kind of fell through.  Not because my neighbor wasn’t there.  Not because I haven’t had my neighbor over 3 times in my kitchen since then, BUT because I really wasn’t ready to let go of “It.”

All week long, I followed my “Weight Watcher’s-esque” food life plan and felt very proud of myself (down 5#, can I get a woop?).  But at three o’clock, those little giggles from the kitchen cabinet (aka the Snickers), which I moved to a lower shelf, so I didn’t have to hoist my leg up on the counter this week and pull myself to a standing position on the kitchen granite, strictly for fear that my children might learn this trick from their vertically challenged, yet limber mother, were conquered and slowly devoured each day.

Now, however, there is no Chocolate in my party bag of Halloween candy.  Just Starbursts and Skittles.  Am I going to be known as the house with the bad candy?  I think immediately before I put the candy out, I’m going to have my husband pick up a bag of Snickers for the T-O-T’s.

Hopefully, he won’t eat half of it before he gets home from the store!

(© Hatton, all rights reserved.)


Halloween’s Coming: Where are my Snicker Bars?

If you are a close friend of mine, you already know I have made an untraditional “New Year’s” resolution, which happened to start sometime during the month of October.  My goal was I was going to be able to fit into last year’s jeans, and not only zip them up…but be able to SIT DOWN IN THE FARBER-SCHNARBERS.  I’m trying to give up swearing too, but that isn’t going well either!

As one can imagine, I am a social type of person who likes a full dance card; and you know since the holidays really start mid October and continue until one can’t move or breathe in their baggy sweat pants on January 2nd, I am facing an uphill battle.

The problem is becoming quite serious though because I am not going to buy another size higher from last year. I AM NOT!!  But I can’t imagine standing until Valentine’s Day.  My feet will be killing me!!  And watching my kids opening their Christmas gifts while laying supine on the chaise lounge is not a pretty picture…no beached Shamu Christmas for me.

So when I started my “food life change” (not a diet, mind you) that is a taboo word for us 40-something women, I decided to increase my vegetable intake and cut out sugar.  So I filled up the veggie drawer and purchased some yummy fat free dip and gave myself permission to dip away when the hunger bugs started chanting my name.

Well, I don’t know when those pesky “bugs” stopped chanting my name and started screaming “Snicker Bars!!” but I panicked.  I moved the Halloween candy up to the top shelf of the kitchen where I would actually have to get a ladder to reach it.  That should work, right?

The chanting continued.  There were other types of candy in that mega bag of trans fat hell (see), but they were keeping their lips sealed – just those pesky Snickers.  I think I even heard them laughing at me (hence the name, I’m sure!)

OK…don’t freak out.  Have one.  Then you can tell them who’s boss and be proud YOU are in control!

So I had four.  Is that such a crime?  They were mini’s and they don’t even count as a whole bar you would buy at the QT.  The next step is to go to the computer to get my mind off of this.  I solve all the world’s problems and my expanding waistband issues at the computer. Unfortunately, I am wearing jeans and I have to type while standing…but I digress.

By this point, my pants are cutting off all circulation to my legs, my back is tightening up and my feet are going numb.

That’s it!!  I’m heading over to the neighbors with my bag of candy.  She’ll hide it for me until the 31st.  Until then, don’t bring me anything sweet or I might bean ya with a handful of broccoli, while donning my parka and shorts!


Halloween Costumes are Terrorizing

Yes, I realize it is only nearing the end of September, and October 31st is an entire month away, but when you have young children, when is the appropriate time to start asking them what they want to be for Halloween?

For the past several years I have gotten it terribly wrong!  I start too early…and they change their minds three times before the big day.  I wait ‘til the last minute… then I am either up all night Halloween eve sewing until my fingers are bloody stumps (which apparently is only cool to teenagers and not to preschoolers or kindergartners). OR I am S-O-L when it comes to purchasing the “perfect” costume that is sold out everywhere in the bi-state area!

So do other parents just have kids who are easier to please than mine?  Or do you holler at them suggest, “You have to make a decision by October 1st , OR you will wear your father’s bathrobe AGAIN this year and go again as an hobo or a shepherd!”

When those blasted costume magazines junk up the mail, it’s like Christmas at my house.  The girls will turn off their favorite TV show, curl up together in one big chair and peruse the catalog, drooling on the pages and savoring each morsel of fabric and sequins.  They will do this for hours and pretend they are each character and their eyes will light up like the top of the Chrysler building.

The problem comes when I finally insist they make a decision and make a top-three list.  Just getting this list on paper can produce tears, whining and even hysterics.  Really.  They love them some costumes!

So you’re thinking, “Well, you should just take that catalog away from them and YOU choose what they will wear.”  Nice thought.  Tried it one year.  They hid under their beds and cried until the sun went down and their dinner turned cold.

Well, this year I am going to win.  They are in charge and whatever they wear out of the house (that is presentable, of course) is going to be what they are going to wear.  I know there will be tears.  Even with weekly reminders to make their decision.

But I am NOT going to get myself in a frazzle…because I will have the bathrobe and an old sheet on stand-by.  And if they don’t go out trick-or-treating, that means LESS candy for me and my husband to eat after they go to sleep.  (Little jokey!)