Halloween-Picture-Swenson_FrankWould you agree that kids get plenty of candy while trick or treating? Wouldn’t it be fun this year to focus on Halloween fun instead? Here are some ideas for parents, grandparents, adopted grandparents, teachers and neighbors to enjoy a Halloween celebration that does not focus on candy!

  • Focus on the costumes both for the children in your life as well as how you might choose to dress when you greet children as you receive them when they come to your home.
  • If you live in a neighborhood, put together a costume parade so that everyone can see and appreciate the uniqueness of each child and their costume.
  • Instead of candy, try giving small toys like stickers, small plastic spiders or ghosts, spooky plastic rings, chalk, fat pencils or crayons, small coloring books, bubbles or false teeth.
  • Decorate pillowcases with your children for their trick-or-treat outing. This just extends the fun of the evening and encourages creativity.
  • Food snacks worth giving include:
    • Small containers of apple cider
    • Roasted pumpkin seeds
    • Small oranges
    • Commercially wrapped baby carrots
    • Mini-packages of dried fruit
    • Packages of whole grain crackers with cheese

What is behind these suggestions? Typically, foods for Halloween include lots of candy. So what’s the harm? There is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, but unhealthy choices have become the norm rather than the exception.  Parties, food fundraisers, vending machines, and school parties constantly expose children to high-fat, high-sugar, and low-nutrient choices.

Overall our children’s eating habits are poor. Most children do not eat enough fruits, vegetables or whole grains. Obesity rates among children are on the rise, with serious health consequences. Constant exposure to low-nutrient food makes it difficult for children to learn how to make healthy food choices. By providing children with nutritious choices whenever food is available, including Halloween, we can positively influence children’s eating habits.

Remember, children need to receive consistent messages that their food choices are important.  What do you think? Are you willing to make some changes?

Happy Halloween!


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