Halloween

It’s mid-October, so hopefully your kids have decided on a Halloween costume, and you’ve been able to locate the perfect one and have either pulled all of the pieces together or are waiting on an order to be delivered to your front door.

It’s probably still too early to buy the treats you’ll be handing out. Word is they tend to disappear before October 31 ever rolls around if purchased well in advance. Can’t imagine where they go!

Make sure Halloween is fun for all — including kids with food allergies. Food Allergy Research & Education’s Teal Pumpkin Project promotes safe trick-or-treating options for food-allergic children. The Teal Pumpkin Project asks people who are providing food-free Halloween treats to put a teal pumpkin on their porch or a sticker in their window to let trick-or-treaters know. Some parents have even been known to go from house to house ahead of their child to give the treaters a special Halloween treat their youngster can eat. While Halloween and healthy aren’t two words that usually go together, there are options.

Here are some healthier, allergy-friendly options:

  • Yogurt Raisins
  • Granola Bars – Make sure you have some non-nut selections available.
  • Craisins – A raisin, cranberry mix
  • Individually packaged dried fruit
  • Fruit cups. Grab a pack of mandarin orange cups and use a sharpie to draw little faces on them for a spooky Jack O’lantern treat
  • Fruit snacks
  • Fruit and veggie pouches
  • Goldfish. Individually-packed Goldfish crackers with spooky themes are available in October just in time for trick or treaters
  • Juice boxes
  • Trail mix
  • Fig bars
  • Water bottles

There are some treaters who would prefer giving out small trinkets. Some non-food options might include:

  • Glow sticks, glow necklaces, and bracelets\
  • Pencils, erasers, crayons, coloring books
  • Sealed packages of raisins and dried fruits
  • Glow sticks, spider rings, vampire fangs
  • Bubbles, bouncy balls, finger puppets, whistles
  • Bookmarks, stickers, and stencils.
  • Laser finger lights
  • Halloween pencils, mini erasers and notepads
  • Crayons
  • Bubbles
  • Stickers
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Silly straws
  • Matchbox cars
  • Mini Play-Doh
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Glow sticks
  • Bouncy balls
  • Noise makers
  • Spider Rings

Give your child a good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating; this will discourage filling up on Halloween treats. Keep hydrated while on the go. Bring a water bottle along during trick-or-treating and offer sips every so often. Sometimes thirst gets mistaken for hunger so staying hydrated may reduce the risk of overeating later.

Keep an eye on what your child has in their mouth at all timeswhile on the trick-or-treat trail. Don’t let young children have hard candy or gum that could cause choking.

As you check what your kids brought home, keep track of how much candy they got and store it somewhere other than their bedrooms. Let kids have one or two treats a day instead of leaving candy out in big bags or bowls for kids to eat whenever they want.

The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends children (and parents) limit added sugar to less than 10 percent of their daily calories. It’s easy for kids to easily exceed that limit many times over without realizing it. Taking in excess sugar can fuel cravings for even more sweet foods or drinks.

Checking out the treats your kiddies received during the night is a must.

  • Make sure all treats are sealed. Throw out candy with torn packages or holes in the packages, spoiled items, and any homemade treats that weren’t made by someone you know.
  • Throw away any unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Suspicious or questionable items of any kind
  • If your child has any food allergies, inspect candy labels fully.
  • Teach portion control. If you have leftover candy after Halloween, pair it with a healthy snack like fruit, yogurt, or milk and limit to one or two treats per day. A cup of milk offers blood-sugar balancing protein and fat plus tastes good with the sweet stuff.
  • If you want to encourage kids to avoid all the extra sugar after the fun of trick-or-treating, ask your children if they might like to swap out some or all of their treats for something else, like a book, a toy, or an outing to a park, restaurant, movie, or museum.
  • Once your child is ready to enjoy treats at home, keep in mind that babies and toddlers should not have any hard candies, caramel apples, popcorn, gum, small candies (jelly beans, etc.), gummy candy, pumpkin seeds, or anything with whole nuts.
  • Make sure your kids brush their teeth after their candy intake.

Don’t forget, it’s a school night, so try and keep your children to as normal a schedule as possible. They are sure to be hyped up on sugar, so putting them down may be a bit of a chore. But overall, have a good time as a family and enjoy your time together.