If you live in almost any English speaking country and many other nations as well, you've are aware of what this Saturday, October 31st is: Halloween. While some cultures take this time of year to honor or appease the dead, in the USA and some other states it is a time to dress up, get candy, and hang out with friends to gorge on sugary treats. Your Chocolate Priestess has a few suggestions to share with you to help you remain on the Path of Moderation and Purposefulness.
1. Buy at least two types of candy if you are welcoming trick or treaters to your home.
Obviously one of them should be chocolate not simply because this is The Chocolate Cult but because chocolate is very popular, just check the profits in the cocoa and chocolate industries. Remember that not everyone likes or can even eat chocolate so bye a non-chocolate variety or something that isn't candy like raisins or stickers.
2. Buy only what those in your household like.
Sometimes you run out of candy during the course of a Halloween evening but often times you do not. So buy only what you know people in your household will eat so you haven't wasted money.
3. Compare prices before you buy bulk.
At first glance it seems that buying the 100+ bags is the best price but be aware that your stores know this is your instinct and their prices may not actually be lower. Take along a calculator and compare prices per piece.
4. Use coupons and consider sales.
One big risk in waiting until the last minute is that the candy you want will be sold out. This year it seems that candy sells are doing great. I can see in our local stores that they have not dropped prices as they did last year by this time suggesting they are making good sales and see not need to lure you in with lower prices. Look for coupons in your newspaper or the store flyers but read them carefully because $1 off one bag is certainly a better deal that $1 off three bags.
5. Hide the candy until right before trick or treating or party time.
I remember when we bought candy a few weeks before the holiday and then had to buy more because we ate it. No more. We have a big Halloween decoration box that we put the candy we are going to hand out in and then only put out decorations the day of Halloween. The candy stay in the box until about 15 minutes before we expect the costumed candy seekers to arrive.
6. Watch your own treating on Halloween.
While you hand out the candy it is very tempting to grab handfuls yourself. Maybe you'll be lucky and like us you'll have little down time between waves of super heroes, princesses, and puppies arriving with their pails and sacks out held. If you aren't, come up with a family guardian of the candy, someone known for her or his self-control. That person can dole out one piece of candy at a time to anyone who wants it.
7. Eat other food on Halloween.
Make sure you have a good breakfast and lunch on that day. Don't skip meals so you can gorge on candy. You might want to do something fun for dinner but again think of what your body needs and feed it well before you turn to the treats.
8. Track what you use.
For years I've kept track of how many trick or treaters we get. One of us makes a mark on a piece of paper for each that comes while one or two others hand out the treats. This helps a great deal when I plan my purchases for next year but I also keep an eye on how my neighbor is changing. We've added a few new families with children in 2009 so I bet I'll have 150+ visitors this year. If you have new neighbors approach them and let them know how many trick or treaters they can expect.
9. If you are throwing a party, think higher class treats.
If you have dozens or hundreds of trick or treaters, I'm unlikely to convince you to go for the organic, fair-trade chocolates because they do cost more. But if you are having a party and know how many guests you will have, I urge you to consider places like Taraluna or Equal Exchange or The Cookie Sandwich Company to get your treats from. Or make them yourself so you can control the type of ingredients you are using.
10. Store the leftovers.
If you have leftovers store them and use our guiding principles of Moderation and Purposefulness. Limit how much you and others eat, see if you can give some away or use any leftover candy in homemade goods for the rest of the fall and winter holidays. Why buy more candy to use to decorate your Christmas cookies or add a burst of color to your brownies at Thanksgiving or New Years when you can use these?
I hope this list of suggestions gave all of you, Sisters and Brothers, some time for reflection. If you haven't bought your treats or decided what you are doing, if anything, to celebrate Halloween, it isn't too late. If you have, use this year to track what you use so you can purchase more wisely in the future.
Sisters and Brothers, may you too take the time to slowly appreciate what the Divine and human ingenuity have offered you in chocolate.