Halloween tips and treats

TrickorTreatTipsWhile Halloween is all spooky fun for kids it can be a nightmare for parents who are trying to avoid sugar-overload in their youngsters.  Every adult knows that candy and parties are part of what makes Halloween fun for kids so trying to avoid all sweets is probably a losing battle.  Here are a few tips to keep everyone happy and a wee bit healthier this Halloween.

  • Talk to your kids before they start trick-or-treating.  Decide where they are allowed to go and how much loot they can collect.  That way you can limit the amount of candy they get, and ultimately eat, even before they ring the first doorbell.
  • Tell your kids to bring everything home before they start eating any of it.  This gives you a chance to check over the candy to make sure it is safe to eat.  Toss anything homemade that isn’t from someone you know and trust. This also applies to fresh fruits; if you don’t know the person who handed it out, toss it.
  • Also pitch out anything that has damaged wrapping or appears to be stale.  Yep, some ghouls hand out last years’ leftovers!
  • Now that you are sure the treat bags are safe, let the kids sort through their candy and trade with each other! Sorting and trading is some of the best fun post trick-or-treating and it can eliminate the stuff they don’t even like.
  • Limit how much candy they can eat. Typically 2 or 3 pieces a day is reasonable but decide this based on your own child’s health and diet.  Also decide when they can eat it – at lunch time in their lunchbox or after dinner – whatever works best but avoid negotiating how much and how often endlessly.
  • If some of the treats are healthier options, then don’t include those in the daily limit and encourage kids to eat those first.
  • Some kids can be trusted to stick to the daily limit.  Others won’t be able to resist eating “just one more” piece every chance they get.  Know your kids and decide if they can monitor the candy-haul on their own or if you need to keep it and let them pick out their treats each day.
  • Finally, at some point, most parents admit to tossing some of the candy to make it disappear faster.  By Thanksgiving is a reasonable “outer limit” on how long it can hang around.  After all, by then there’s turkey to be eaten and that is much healthier than candy!

Here are a few suggestions on what you can hand out to the trick-or-treaters who stop by your place:

  • Prepackaged mini-pretzels or bags of popcorn
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Bite-sized dark chocolate bars
  • Fruit based “gummy” candies
  • Dried fruit rolls
  • Trail mix with nuts and dried fruits
  • Raisins
  • Packages of hot chocolate or apple cider mix
  • Individual fruit cups or applesauce
  • Peanut butter cracker snacks
  • Small novelties including:  Halloween pencils or erasers, washable temporary tattoos, party whistles, mini bubbles or toy spider/monster rings
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