We are newly vegan, and as I was shopping for Halloween treats, I realized that my daughter might feel completely left out for Trick-or-Treating. What do other vegans do?
—Carlee, Providence, Rhode Island
I get this question a lot from my friends: “Do your kids Trick or Treat”? And, my answer is “Yes! Of course!”
My children do the exact same tradition as all omnivore children—they dress up and go door-to-door begging for treats. Does this kill me on the inside? Sure, my heart dies a tad. I hate the idea that we condone collecting massive amounts sugary, non-vegan candy as something fun. But, who wants to be the party pooper? I may as well be that parent that hands out apples and toothbrushes! I choose to pick my battles. I don’t want to take away a fun night of tradition or being with their friends just because of the food they collect.
My children dress up in their costumes and gather their goodies with their friends. However, when we get home, instead of sorting their candy into different piles—chocolate candy, coconut candy, hard candy, extra-large candy—we switch it up.
We have our own tradition of swapping the treats for toys. I go to a dollar store or Target dollar bins and load up on fun little toy goodies like punching balloons, Hot Wheels, boxes of crayons, coloring books, bouncy balls, or books. Then, I tell the kids that I have an even better surprise for them, and that they have to leave their candy bins in another room. They sit on the sofa with eyes closed in anticipation. I empty their candy bags and fill the same bag with the toys. For younger children, this is just as fun! The kids love it! They get more than the instant gratification of candy and instead get a fun toy they can play with over and over again. Other kids have seen this process in action at our house, and they asked for a toy instead, too!
There are several variations you can do with this concept. If the kids are older, you can swap out all the candy for one big present that they have been wanting for a while. If they are younger children, you can wait until the kids go to sleep and say the “Switch Witch” came in the middle of the night and swapped out the candy. I don’t do this because I like giving the kids their toys right away, but some parents enjoy playing up the concept of a Halloween Witch. If you still want to give candy to your child, that’s not a problem either! Just buy a lot of vegan treats and swap them out when you get home. The young ones won’t notice you doing it at all, and older kids don’t care so long as they get candy!
I believe that as long as your child doesn’t feel like he is missing out on anything, it’s a win-win. Good luck!
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