It’s nearly time for Halloween, and if you view all those sugary treats as nothing but an unhealthy trick, I’m right there with you. Yes, Halloween is great fun. We get to see our little ones dressed up like princesses and firemen, they get to play in full regalia for the day, and then after all our hard work getting them to eat their vegetables, they high-tail it for the streets and about 50 pounds of unwanted Goobers. So what are some healthy alternatives?
My mother allowed us one or two pieces from our Halloween bucket a day as a way to restrict our desire to gorge. The candy was kept on top of the fridge where we couldn’t sneak. Other parents have their kids pick a small selection of goodies to keep, then they “trade in” their remaining stash for a toy of their choosing. And in many communities these days, churches and malls set up alternative activities for kids that, while they still may include a mountain of sugary goodness, the sweet fun doesn’t involve bringing it all home afterwards.
If you’re feeling a little guilt-ridden about handing out Snickers bars after waving all your homegrown organic produce throughout the neighborhood all summer, there are some alternatives there too. I tried to envision handing out a vegetable or fruit of some sort, but apples have a bad reputation, and somehow the thought of dropping Idaho potatoes into each bag set me into a fit of giggles. Not so realistic. So how about non-edibles? Halloween themed pencils, plastic kazoos, those goofy spider rings, or stickers. Kids love stickers and you won’t be viewed as lame as the dentist from my hometown, who handed out soft bristled toothbrushes every year.
Try getting your kids involved. Let them help you think of fun things to hand out, and take them with you to buy the goodies. Ask them how they think you as a family should handle the candy onslaught – if they’re involved in the decisions they may surprise you and be less resistant to your attempts at keeping them healthy. There are lots of unsweetened ways to enjoy Halloween, and if you join imagination forces with your kids, you may just scare up some great healthy alternatives.