I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween. All the talk of darkness and death and the sugar rush because of all that candy aren’t things that motivate me at all. So, this year, as a result of this idea of mine to see the good in all the bad that COVID-19 has left us, I invite you to make Halloween a much more humane and meaningful day in our lives.
Halloween has long been centered around the purchase and intake of sweets and fun costumes, due largely to marketing pushes by big candy companies. But that extra hype from the candy doesn’t last too long in our bodies. The dopamine it generates brings with it a never-ending craving for more, which means we aren’t able to truly satisfy ourselves.
Although the negative effects of excessive sugar consumption have been known for years, today we have the opportunity to turn our Halloween celebration around. Let’s replace all that candy with the extra dopamine that we generate as a result of gratitude and kindness, avoiding the holiday’s usual health drawbacks and adding new positive qualities to it.
What if, instead of going to the traditional Trick or Treat with masks (not only because of the costumes but because of the pandemic) and physical distancing, we turn things on their head? Instead of going out on the street, we could stay at home with our families. Instead of asking someone else for a treat, we could perform acts of kindness to give the treat of happiness to those who need it.
Instead of leaving our houses with a large empty bag to collect all the candy that’s out there, we could make gift bags of our own to give out to others. Sure, the bags should have a few treats in them, too—maybe a few fun, but healthy snacks. But we should include something more to go along with them: thank you notes, pictures of moments spent with that person, or even an invitation to get together via video call or in person in the next few days. The idea is to deliver kindness, having our kids reach not only dear and close friends but also people who might not be at having the best time that day. That way, we can add some smiles in their lives. (Of course, when we return home, we could reward our children with sweets treats for a job well done, too.)
Instead of going out with our children, pretending we might have a traditional Trick or Treat, we should give ourselves the task of giving out a new kind of treats treats. We can teach them about the 3 most important pillars of sustainable happiness—gratitude, kindness and relationships—while still having fun together as a family. Maybe this can be the start of an all new tradition: a kinder kind of Halloween.