One woman from North Dakota is on a mission to ruin Halloween for a lot of kids. Instead of candy, she’ll be handing out letters addressed to the parents of “moderately obese” trick-or-treaters. The letter, shown in the Consumerist, says:
Happy Halloween! You are probably wondering why your child has this note; have you ever heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child? I am disappointed in “the village” of [blank].
Your child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season.
My hope is that you will step up as a parent and ration candy this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits. Thank you.
When interviewed on the radio, the woman explained that she wants to send a message to the parents of kids who are overweight: “I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ‘cause all the other kids are doing it.” By handing out candy, she feels she would be contributing to their health problems. Since “their kids are everybody’s kids” and “it [takes] a whole village,” the woman believes it’s her responsibility to get involved. Somehow, I doubt the children’s parents would share her opinion that their kids are also her kids, simply because they live in the same town.
While I’m all for community involvement, this woman needs to mind her own business. If she is truly concerned about child obesity, then there are far more effective ways to promote health that don’t involve surprise punishments, insults, or hurt feelings at the front door. A psychology professor who studies eating disorders explains, “It’s just that kind of thing that, for some kids, if they’re vulnerable, might trigger major problems.” It’s also a good way to guarantee she’ll never get another trick-or-treater again, once word spreads around town.
As a parent, I agree that candy is insidious and annoying, but that’s not a good enough reason for kids not to participate in Halloween. Ironically, I think that Halloween is a wonderful example of a community banding together to put on a fun event for children. At what other time would parents sent their kids out to knock on strangers’ doors and receive treats? It’s a refreshing act of trust, even if that “food” isn’t the healthiest.
No one’s making the grumpy woman hand out candy. There are plenty of delicious healthy snack options, such as plain old fruit, that can send a clear message to trick-or-treaters. Or, better yet, she could just keep her lights off and let the little ones pass her by if she doesn’t have anything nice to say.