By DR. KAREN LATIMER
We are a much more healthy conscious generation than our parents. We buy organic, we encourage exercise and we cut down on sugar – except on Halloween. On Halloween, and for my family, the whole month before, all bets are off. We've been getting ghosted for over a week now (ghosting being a ring and run with a left behind bag of candy,) I have renewed my love affair with candy corn and we are giving in to too many sweet temptations. By the time the calendar says October 31st, we will be up to our spooky eyeballs in sugary treats.
Each year, my kids hit the streets for some trick-or-treating and come back with sacks full of sticky, calorie laden, cavity-causing, yet yummy snacks. And then, after a few bites, it just sits there. Days and weeks later, it is often still sitting there because after a month of Halloween prep, they are over candy.
Why not do something different? Offer an alternative. Last year, I didn't give out any candy and I didn't get one complaint. Kids were filled to the gill with typical treats, and they were happy to be given a different choice.
Here are some not-candy trick-or-treat ideas:
- small bottles of water
- baked chips
- yogurt covered raisins
- sugar-free gum
- temporary tattoos
- vampire teeth
- mini sports balls
- glow necklaces and bracelets
- spider rings
- costume jewelry (I think I'm going with these snap bracelets this year)
Last year, I bought a couple of these toy boxes from Oriental Trading. I did the math. Each toy cost me 40 cents. A ring pop when bought by the bag is about the same at 38 cents, so it really isn't cost prohibitive to go sugar free.
If not offering candy makes you feel like a party-pooper, offer and option between candy and something else. You will be surprised at how many kids leave the chocolate in the bowl.
If you are giving candy, consider these gluten-free options for kids with celiac disease.
If you are going nut-free, advertise it with the Teal Pumpkin Project. It is always a let down for my peanut-allergic son to get a Snickers. Of course, those go right in my pocket for later!
Halloween can be fun without adding more sugar to this sometimes sickeningly sweet holiday.
See the most popular Halloween candies in each state:
More from Dr. Karen:
What happens when you drink in front of your children
The science behind being scared
Teens are not getting enough sleep