This year for Halloween I’m handing out candy to all the kids in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, not everyone shares my excitement for this same activity.
A woman in North Dakota has decided to take control of childhood obesity on her own by handing out the following letter to children she deems at least moderately obese.
You’ve got to be kidding me. Way to take the fun out of something.
Also, do people not realize shame does not always jumpstart weight loss in people?
Adults sometimes like to ruin Halloween for kids by handing out dental floss or healthy snacks (though sometimes that’s a good thing). I always used to hate houses that anything besides my favorite candy. But sending a letter home with trick-or-treaters? That’s a new level of Halloween hate.
On her local radio station she tried to explain her motives:
“I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight…” she told Y94 morning radio, via ValleyNewsLive.com. “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.”
“I’m contributing to their health problems and really, their kids are everybody’s kids. It’s a whole village,” she adds.
I understand the concern with childhood obesity. It’s definitely a problem. I became obese at a young age and still have weight problems, so I agree that stopping it early can really help children live better lives. But does a stranger punishing and shaming kids on a holiday that’s purely for fun the best way to achieve meaningful change?
It seems like something that would hurt kids rather than help them change the every day habits that led to their obesity.
“It’s just that kind of thing that for some kids, if they’re vulnerable, might trigger major problems,” said NDSU Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology Dr. Katie Gordon who studies eating disorders.
Dr. Gordon says people should be careful to judge by appearance and should leave the matter of an individual child’s weight to his or her parents and pediatrician. In her opinion the letter this woman plans to hand out will not have the desired effect.
If you feel strongly about not wanting to give kids candy then DON’T GIVE KIDS CANDY! Don’t bring a lecture or fat shaming into a situation that you have no business being in. They are kids. No reason to scar them with your personal agenda against obesity – just don’t participate in halloween.
What’s your opinion on this letter? Or Halloween and candy giving in general? Do you participate? Would you ever hold back candy from kids you felt didn’t “deserve” it because of their weight?