Happy Halloween: Have a carrot stick!

Some California schools celebrated Halloween this year with grapes, apple slices, carrots, cheese and popcorn, reports the San Jose Mercury News.  State law now regulates how often schools can serve snacks with more than 35 percent of calories from fats.

After-school parties are exempt, so parents sold cotton candy, nachos and snow cones at Cherry Chase Elementary’s annual Fall Festival fund-raiser. It’s hard to raise much money selling celery and carrots.

Schools in San Jose’s Evergreen School District are moving away from food-centered celebrations. Instead of cupcakes on birthdays, the district suggests parents may bring pencils for kids or donate a book to the school library in their child’s name.

If you can’t eat cotton candy and cupcakes when you’re a kid, when are you going to get the chance?

About Joanne


  1. Ponderosa says:

    I agree that a carrot stick is not a treat, but neither a wad of congealed corn syrup and laboratory-engendered ingredients. One does not have to be a food nazi to criticize the tsunami of crap candy that pervades our kids’ lives, at school and outside of it, on Halloween and during the rest of the year. I’d be happy to see us retrain tastebuds to like quality treats (e.g. Swiss chocolate and caramel apples) and reject ersatz ones (e.g. candy corn and Coke). Same goes for lunch foods –I’m sorry, but there’s no defending the nachos with fake cheese sauce they serve at my school.

  2. Even as a child, I disliked candy corn. If there’s no chocolate, what’s the point?

    My grandfather was in the candy business and he did have a lab at the factory where he worked on new ideas. His best-known product was malted milk balls. He figured out how to aerate the malt.

    Not only did I have a happy childhood, but I knew it was a happy childhood at the time. My grandfather was in the candy business!

  3. L. C. Burgundy says:

    If you can’t eat cotton candy and cupcakes when you’re a kid, when are you going to get the chance?

    If it’s anything like how kids handle drinking when they toddle off from furtive prohibition to college, they would be binge cup-caking starting on Wednesday nights.

  4. OK, I love candy corn. LOVE IT. And I’m a stickler for good, foreign chocolate (I’ve never tasted decent American stuff).

    There is nothing wrong with candy/sweets as a treat. The problem has been its integration into daily eating habits. Now that the vending machine and junk is out of my building I have noticed two things: healthier kids (they’re just not absent as much or asking for as many passes to the nurse for belly aches) and my trash baskets are not overflowing with tonic bottles and candy/salty snack wrappers. Actually, I think the biggest beneficiaries are the custodians who don’t have to clean up all the trash — and the teachers like me who appreciate the extra time they now have to spend on things like dusting my room. I don’t care if it is junk or healthy stuff — nobody needs to be knoshing 24/7.

    As a society, we just went too far to the extreme with the junk food. It’ll self-correct — well, maybe not in California. Sorry. You guys just have issues, you know? (Carrot cake, yum!)

  5. Sister Howitzer says:

    Are they regulating sugar, too? Because there are 0 grams of fat in cotton candy. It’s pure sugar.

  6. Eric Kendall says:

    “Fruit is nature’s candy!”

    –Marge Simpson

  7. Spool back to the 1950’s. Schools were overcrowded with baby boom kids; many were on double sessions. There was no food at all in those schools except at lunch time. Three times per year, there was a party where you could bring snacks (mostly junk). THAT WAS IT. Birthdays were not celebrated (that’s for your family to do). Famous-person birthdays were noted, not celebrated. Do I sound like a grinch? not at all. School was a very positive experience, BUT school did not attempt to do everything for kids. In particular school tried to be a gratifying experience, not a fun experience (most of the time). The fun that was there was from things like games on the playground, reading fun books, singing during music class, teachers with creative and entertaining personalities, etc. etc.

  8. Ponderosa says:

    I agree with you, Jane. Schools are taking on too many tasks. The hoo-hah that accompanies these non-academic activities drowns out the main task: to liberate minds with the liberal arts. This week at our school: massive loud pep rally on Thursday afternoon, whose buzz and stir tricked into the classes earlier in the day. Thursday lunch: birthday party for all the kids with October birthday parties. Friday: Halloween costume contest at lunch, in addition to the normal hub-bub that goes with Halloween at schools (costumes, candy in classrooms). We’re running a complex and labor-intensive Advisory program this year, and a complex and labor-intensive mandatory homework club program as well. Add to that the ubiquitous fund-raisers, can drives, Red Ribbon week activities, sports events. Granted, much of this is meant to have a positive impact on kids’ academic performance (by boosting morale and holding kids accountable for not working), and I suspect some of these things may indeed have a marginal positive effect. But I can’t help but think we’d do better if we just kept it simple.

  9. “State law now regulates how often schools can serve snacks with more than 35 percent of calories from fats.” So if you add enough sugar, it’s OK?