Healthcare

The Grinch of Halloween

I hate Halloween.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for costumes, parties and tricking; it’s the
treating part I hate. Why, when a huge percent of this country is
morbidly obese, when heart disease is the leading cause of
death, when diabetes is epidemic, when we know that fat-filled, sugarcoated crap is killing us — why do we go
gaga for gluttony? Or allow our kids to?

Trick-or-treating came to us, in altered form, from that hallowed country
across the pond. One of their traditions, called souling, involved children and
the poor going door to door, singing and saying prayers for the dead in return
for food. We Americans love to modernize and sterilize things; presumably some
combination of convenience and fear led us to only give out — and accept — shrink-wrapped
candy.

Delicious though it may be, this stuff tends to be several generations removed
from anything resembling food. America is paying for years of eating junk; it’s
time to end this ridiculous tradition right now. Honestly, we might as well
hand out sodas, booze and cigarettes to kids. Candy is an addictive drug,
too.

I wouldn’t have a problem with Halloween if we could marshal the desire to
dislocate our jaws and swallow entire bags of chocolate the other 364 days of the year. But we just
can’t seem to keep our collective mouths shut. And you can forget about
exercise! It’s no match for candy: go for a one-hour run and you’ve burned the
equivalent of … two whole Snickers bars. For some kids, that’s breakfast!

I’ve decided what I’m going to be for Halloween this year: the Grinch. Watch
out, Whoville! Come to my house and get a recyclable cup of water! Or don’t come.

Kathy Kemper is founder and CEO of the Institute for Education, a nonprofit foundation that recognizes and promotes leadership and civility locally, nationally and in the world community.

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