- BC Games
Connect with Us
Trick or Eat: There’s more to Halloween than sweets
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays.
Well, growing up, Halloween was definitely the best time of year. Who can argue with dressing up, running around town, and getting heaps and heaps of sugary candies? To be honest, it wasn’t the candy that made Halloween exciting, it was being out at night, surrounded by other ghouls and goblins (aka children) and experiencing something almost mystical with the stories that surround the Day of the Dead. Personally, I loved hanging out with friends, and later in life, running amok, and stirring up tricks instead of dutifully asking for treats.
Amazingly enough, the amount of candy consumed over the course of the Halloween week is astronomical. It’s a nutritionist’s nightmare and a dentist’s dream come true. With everything that we know about healthy eating it boggles the mind and makes one wonder how we mixed up another great day with an amazing story to a crass, consumptive week of debauchery. The amount of gimmicks, kitschy decorations, high sugar and high fat products that end up being consumed boggles the mind.
According to one study done by Stats Canada; one in five calories consumed by Canadians comes from sugar. This number amounts to roughly 26 teaspoons consumed per day by the average Canadian. Most will come from the natural sugars found in milk or fruit, but a large portion (about 1/3) will come from those that have been added to foods and beverages in the form of refined sugars and artificial sweeteners. These sugary products have been linked to a number of health problems such as, tooth decay, obesity, and diabetes.
Halloween and it’s derivatives, All Hallows Eve, Samhain, and the Day of the Dead, all originated from harvest festivals where after the main harvest, folks turned their eyes to their deceased loved ones and enacted in a series of remembrances. The earliest records of Halloween celebrations date to the early middle ages, with the Christian holidays of; All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Which were holidays to honour Christian saints and martyrs and the souls of the dead. Followers would light bonfires, which symbolized the plight of souls trapped in purgatory. One practice was known as “souling” which consisted of travelling door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes. Also popular, in subsequent centuries, was “mumming”; a tradition originating in the British Isles, whereby people would dress in costumes chant rhymes and engage in play-acting. However, “mumming” and “souling” did not become popular in North America. Instead, Halloween appeared in the 1930’s, with the first advent of mass-produced children’s costumes and trick or treating.
This year, Trick or Eat has become a new campaign that gets young people organized and out to make a difference. The idea is that as kids and young people go door to door, they not only ask for candy, but they also ask for a canned product or a monetary donation for local food security organizations (e.g. Richmond Food Bank, community meals, etc…). It’s a great way for young people to gain valuable leadership skills as they coordinate routes, plan the event, communicate to the broader public, learn how to plan a social media campaign and have a fun time with friends for a great cause.
If you see young people out singing Trick or Eat be prepared with some canned goods or a small donation towards the cause. This will be a help to promote many community members, increasing healthy foods for many years to come.
Colin Dring is with Richmond Food Security Society, which works to ensure that all people in the community have access to safe, nutritious, culturally appropriate foods that strengthen our environment and society. If you want to contribute and learn more about activities, visit our website at www.richmondfoodsecurity.org