These days, as we are getting more and more informed about nutrition and conscious about our health, many of us are thinking of alternatives for the Halloween treat. But no one wants to be "that" house.... I think you know which one -- the one that gives out toothbrushes or mini raisin boxes. We don't want to be the house that the neighborhood kids dread!
Many of the treats that kids bring home on Halloween can play evil tricks on parents, whether it's the sugar high, the fighting over candy, or the begging for one more piece! As a result, some parents have come up with different ideas and options for a healthier Halloween that are still fun for kids.
Here are some treat alternatives instead of handing out candy:
- - Mini Play-Doh containers (Costco, Walmart, Target)
- - Mini packs of temporary skin tattoos (kids love these)
- - Stickers (rolls and sheets can be found in scrapbooking stores)
- - Pennies or nickels (you can get a roll of them from your bank)
- - Plastic spider rings or other mini Halloween toys (Target, party stores, craft stores)
If you must hand out candy, buy your least favorite so you're less tempted to snack on it.
But what you offer visiting trick-or-treaters is only part of the battle. The real challenge for many families comes once the kids return home with the plastic pumpkin basket (or pillow case) filled to the rim with candy and sweet treats. Here are several ideas that may work in your family:
- - Buy the candy from your kids for 5 or 10 cents per piece.
- - Let them have one piece of candy each night as long as they eat their vegetables.
- - Trade the candy for a small toy or game.
- - Use other incentives for trades, like going to the movies with your kids, or having a bowling night.
If your kids won't trade their candy with you, you can certainly have the Tooth Fairy or Great Pumpkin help out! This works especially well with small children. Have them leave the candy basket or bucket outside their bedroom door and the next day the Tooth Fairy or Great Pumpkin will leave a present in its place.
Some dentist and orthodontist offices offer programs for buying Halloween candy. One dentist office near Sacramento, CA offers patients $1 in exchange for each pound of candy. The office then sends the candy to U.S. troops overseas via Operation Gratitude. You can find out more information about the program and search for participating dentists at Operation Gratitude's Halloween Candy Buy Back website.
You can check with your local dentist and orthodontist to see if they are offering anything similar; you can also organize your own buyback program to benefit your children's school or recreational sports league. Swapping candy for exercise - now that's a real treat!
For more recipes and nutrition tips, please visit Cheryl's Blog.
- Cheryl Forberg, RD