The Grinch Who Stole Halloween

A North Dakota radio station is reporting that a local woman plans to hand out sealed letters to overweight trick-or-treaters. The letter, which you can read here, states in part, “My hope is that you will step up as a parent and ration this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits.” The woman, only identified as “Cheryl” in the radio station clip, says that she does plan to give candy to all the children who come to her door and doesn’t want to hand out non-food treats because she doesn’t want to be the “mean lady.”

Um, too late for that. Assuming that this isn’t a radio-station trick (remember that viral video that Jimmy Kimmel faked of the twerking girl on fire?), I have my own letter for Cheryl.

Dear Cheryl,

Don’t be the Grinch who stole Halloween! While childhood-obesity is a major concern—about one in five trick-or-treaters between the ages of 6 and 11 are obese—your plan is scary. First of all, how will you be able to tell whether kids are overweight? You won’t be able to eyeball it, especially because they’re wearing costumes. The community I live in had trick or treat last Friday, and to stay warm, my daughter grudgingly put four layers of bulky clothing underneath her owl costume. We saw plenty of puffed-up superheroes, padded Minons, and other outfits that made it practically impossible to determine a child’s true size.

If a child genuinely is overweight, putting a letter in his treat basket—which he might open and read himself—is completely out of line. Do you want to embarrass children in front of their friends? Ruin a special night? All kids, whether they are overweight or not, should be able to enjoy trick or treating. Halloween doesn’t cause childhood obesity–the junk-food wonderland that’s available to kids daily at school, the mall, and even sometimes at home is the culprit.

I’m also upset that you singled out parents of obese children, urging them to ration candy. I wouldn’t be quite as offended by the letter if you gave it to all kids. Parents, regardless of a child’s weight, do need to have a plan in mind for what to do with an overstuffed treat bag. But I think it’s ridiculous to remind them of that by slipping in a letter with the Skittles and Snickers, which you’re planning to hand out.

Your comment about the mean moms who offer non-candy treats was terribly offensive. I’ve given out pencils, crayons, and mini notebooks over the years and I find that the kids actually appreciate them because they’re something different from candy. What’s really mean is making kids feel bad about themselves on Halloween. If you’re so worried about how parents will deal with the candy, go to the store and find something else fun to hand out!

Celebrate Halloween with our free Carve-a-Pumpkin app. And if you’re still not sure what to dress up as, use our Halloween Costume Finder!

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