Halloween is truly a kid's holiday—good friends, creative costumes, event-filled parties, all with a cool spooky theme—who could ask for more? Oh yes, one more thing, the treats—lots of sugary candy treats! With all the fun of this holiday comes a parent's worst fears, too many sugary treats in your kid's possession and the arguments that ensue over this treasure trove. If you don't feel like contributing to the neighborhood children's tooth decay, consider giving treats that are healthier.
Here are some suggestions:
- Naturally flavored and sweetened gum
- Small packages of nuts
- Small boxes of raisins or other dried fruit
- Peanuts in the shell
- Granola bars
- Whole fruit
- Organic treats
- 100% Juice Boxes
- Popcorn balls (natural)
- Homemade treats (for family or friends)
If you are not opposed to sugar, but would prefer your treats to be natural or vegan, we suggest you visit your local natural food store. There are many natural candy companies that offer a big variety of candies. The one drawback, expect to pay more for these items. Natural products come at a higher price tag.
You could make a homemade treat. Unless you are in a neighbor with close friends, we don't suggest this approach. Most parents are trained to go through the Halloween candy and throw out unopened, unwrapped, or homemade treats. If you decide to make your treats, wrap your homemade item up well, and add your name and phone number to the bag with the treat. If the parent recognizes your name, it will make them feel the treat is safe.
Halloween treats do not have to be edible. An alternative to avoiding the junk food challenges is to hand out a non-food treat. Today, many families are opting for this choice. With a little bit of thought and some clever shopping, you can find some really nice items for a few cents per item. Here are few ideas:
- Homemade non food items
- Cool stickers or temporary tattoos
- Halloween balloons, you can even rent a helium tanks and fill them on the spot
- Pencils, colored chalk or fun-shaped erasers
- Whistles or noise makers
- Rubber spiders, worms, or other equally creepy figures
- Spider, skull, or pumpkin plastic rings
- Crayons (buy a large box and give a few to each child)
- Kids paint (one small bottle each)
Check your local dollar store for fun items. There is also plenty of time to shop online, and have items shipped to you. A quick search on Google will give you plenty more online shopping choices, including shops that offer fair trade and natural alternatives.
Getting Rid of Unwanted Candy
Don't want your kiddos consuming all that sugar and artificial ingredients? Try these ideas.
- Have the kids trade their candy to you for a new book, handmade item, or homemade treat (like thse Jack-O-Lantern Cookies)
- Bring your candy to a local dentist who will trade the candy for other fun items and then donate it
- Give it to charity and then bring the kids out for a special treat to celebrate
- Have a after Halloween party and pass it out in a bowl or as prizes for games
- Use it to make Candy Experiments
Start the day off right, with a festive breakfast of bagels, pumpkin cream cheese (recipe follows) and fresh apples. This meal also works as a great treat for a morning Halloween party at your child's school.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese:
Beat in a bowl, 8 ounces softened cream cheese, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin and 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Serve with toasted bagels and fresh apple slices. Before your children venture out in their costumes, make sure they eat a meal before going trick-or- treating.
Try the Incredible White Bean Pizza recipe below. It is fast and simple. With full tummies, they won't be so tempted to dig into their bag of goodies before they get back home. Ask your kids not to eat candy while they are out.
Incredible White Bean Pizza
Start with a store bought crust (i.e Boboli), puree one can of drained, rinsed white beans with one clove of garlic, 2 Tablespoons water, and 1/2 tsp oregano in a blender. Spread mixture over the pizza crust. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese, fresh, diced tomatoes and chopped basil. Bake in a 425 degree oven until cheese is bubbly, about 10-12 minutes.