Halloween of Days Gone By
Having grown up in an era where it was safe to go trick-or-treating way past dark with no adult supervision, I remember the excitement of receiving not only the usual candy bars of the day, but also those homemade popcorn balls, taffy apples, and occasionally cupcakes or brownies.
We weren’t concerned with germs, unpackaged items, or that someone were might try to poison or abduct us. Times have changed, but some things have not – namely, the amount of sugary treats being distributed and consumed remains high, whether they’re home-made or not.
How Much Sugar is Too Much
Sugary candy at Halloween wouldn’t be that big of a deal if we weren’t also giving the kids so much sugar on a regular basis: sugary cereals for breakfast, sugar-filled sodas, fruit punch, fruit gummies and roll-ups, processed snack cakes and donuts, ice cream, flavored yogurts, puddings, and candy/candy bars on a regular basis.
Plus the festivities throughout the year which also feature lots of sugar, such as birthdays, Christmas, Easter, other holidays and school events. Sugar has become an all too frequent part of the daily fare. Some homes treat every day as a birthday party as far as the foods go.
Celebrate Without Overdosing
However, there are some party snacks and Halloween hand-outs which will allow you to celebrate and enjoy the festivities without overdosing on refined sugars, and without contributing to your child’s possible life-long addictions. You may not know this, but sugar and chocolate are two of our most highly addictive foods.
Check out just ONE label on a candy bar and read the number of sugar grams. There are 4 grams of sugar in one teaspoon, so find the number of sugar grams and divide it by 4. For example, a regular sized Snickers Bar with 27 grams of sugar contains nearly SEVEN teaspoons of sugar (27 grams ÷ 4 = 6.75 teaspoons).
Healthy Handout Alternatives:
- Halloween-themed Snyder mini pretzel bags, mini Lara-Bars
- Individual raisin boxes, microwave popcorn packets, mini applesauce containers, mini water bottles
- Halloween-themed pencils, erasers or pencil toppers, temporary tattoos, stickers, super balls
- Bracelets or hair accessories, mini toothbrush kits, Mardi Gras beads
- Small plastic spiders, spooky false teeth, plastic rings
- Tiny pumpkins or gourds, whole-grain granola bars, matchbox cars, crayons
- Small activity pads, bubbles, and playing cards
- Party stores are a great resource for trinkets, but use caution that any toy pieces aren’t so small they could be swallowed.
Party Food Ideas
- Create your own pizza (mini crusts, sauce, veggies galore, sundried tomatoes);
- Spooky Black Bean Hummus with rice crackers or pretzel crisps; Chef AJ’s Mushroom Chili ;
- Spider Pumpkin Muffins (muffins with eye balls and licorice strings as the legs);
- Roasted Veggie Tacos (super easy); Chef AJ’s caramel apples; Graveyard Cakes (healthy brownie recipe);
- Witch’s eyeballs (whole dates sliced open, fill with peanut butter and an almond);
- Home-made Tootsie Rolls
- Silly Apple Bites (which resemble an open mouth with eyeballs and a tongue);
- Homemade granola bars and trail mix (call it Goblin food);
- Grapes, and apples with almond or caramel dips; Low-fat guacamole with baked chips;
- Snack cups of canned mandarin oranges or other fruits.
What to do With All That Candy?
After trick-or-treating, my recommendation is to allow your children to eat a few special pieces of candy on Halloween night (within reason), and then offer them the choice of trading in all their candy for a trip to the toy store or for something else they’ve been longing to purchase.
Dispose of (or donate) the remaining candy, but get it out of sight and more importantly, get it out of the house. Some area dentists will take the candy off your hands and send it to the troops. Find a participating dentist at the Halloween Candy Buy Back website.
Explain Why This Matters
Take the time to encourage healthy snack eating with your children throughout the year, and explain the reasoning behind it.
Then, instead of battling over candy on Halloween and other events, your child will have a better understanding as to why it’s being limited and will be more receptive to trading or donating come November 1.
When you’re given a box of candy, don’t gulp it all down; eat too much chocolate
and you’ll make yourself sick. (Proverbs 25:16, MSG)
Grown ups, how about taking care of YOURSELF as well as the kiddos!
Check out this FREE Training Class: 3 Food Mistakes Which Lead to Painful Joints, Extra Pounds, and Health Issues the Doctors Aren’t Solving.
Or order a signed copy of this award-winning book: The “Plan A” Diet” – Combining Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition with the Timeless Wisdom of Scripture.