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Linda Thomas
Approximately 598 million pounds or $1.9 billions worth of candy is sold during the Halloween season. Almost every child in the USA will have candy on Halloween, and about half of the adults will eat some. (AP file photo)

A mom's attempt to change Halloween by trick-or-treating for something else

It'll happen in all over western Washington neighborhoods and likely in your home Thursday night.

Knock, knock, knock.

"Remember to say trick or treat," a father instructs his daughters Tinkerbell and Cinderella as they wait for a door to open.

"Trick or treat," the girls scream.

Approximately 598 million pounds or $1.9 billions worth of candy is sold during the Halloween season, and much of it will be collected and then inventoried.

"I think I broke a new record," says a 5th grader as he spreads his candy on the floor to begin counting.

Kids love the holiday and most parents do, too.

Then, there's this mom.

"Halloween is all about the candy, the costumes and their lives revolve around what they can get and there's very little reflecting on how fortunate they are," says Jill Smokler.

She is right about this being a candy holiday.

About 4 percent of all candy consumed in this country occurs on Halloween, according Harry Balzer, chief analyst for the NPD Group, which does market research on eating trends.

Almost every child in the USA will have candy on Halloween, and about half of the adults will eat some, he says. That compares with 24 percent of all adults and kids who have candy on a typical day.

Smokler, aka the Scary Mommy blogger, wants to change the tradition of Halloween so instead of trick or treating, kids would go door-to-door asking for spare change instead of candy.

"Doing anything they can do to raise a couple dollars, maybe $10, $20," she says.

The money collected would be donated to a food bank or a charity like hers that provides meals to needy families during Thanksgiving.

Smokler is the New York Times bestselling author of "Confessions of A Scary Mommy" and "Motherhood Comes Naturally And Other Vicious Lies." She thinks parents need to do a better job of teaching kids to appreciate what they have, to realize they have enough, and to understand that others may not be as well off.

While Halloween is all about the decadence of munching on what seems like unlimited candy, soon we'll be talking about those who are in need for Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, why not start now with "teachable moments" for kids at Halloween.

Though Smokler is serious about wanting the 31st to begin the giving - not taking - season, she's also wants kids to have fun.

"I bought my Halloween candy two weeks ago and we've all been gorging ourselves on chocolate, so it's not like I'm planning on completely depriving my children," she says.

"I'm not saying cancel the holiday, not at all. I'm just saying let's give them a little perspective at the same time."


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About Linda
Linda is the morning news anchor and features reporter for KIRO Radio. This is her local news blog, with an emphasis on social media, technology, Northwest companies, education, parenting, and anything else that grabs her attention.

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