By: Sapna Fliedner MSN, HHC
As a mom who’s trying to instill healthy habits in your children, the truly scary part of Halloween aren’t the ghouls, ghosts, and goblins haunting your neighborhood—it’s the bag of sugary sweets that makes its way into your home after a night of trick-or-treating. Please read my article Sugar…New Drug.
While you can’t likely stem the flow of non-sanctioned treats, you can do your part by handing out a healthier alternative at your home on Halloween. Because many big box grocers carry mini-packs of treats, you are in luck! There are several options that go beyond milk chocolate and artificially colored junk, such as:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Trail mix
- Carrot sticks
- Mini rice cakes
- Granola bars
- Dried apples / dried fruit
While it may be tempting to whip up something healthy and delicious, avoid giving trick-or-treaters anything homemade. Baked goods and fruit are frowned upon because a parent can’t know if the items are safe for their child to consume.
But that’s not to say that you couldn’t offer little ones a choice of non-food goodies on Halloween. This is a fun way to get creative. Look for some small Halloween-themed gifts to offer in lieu of candy—putting out a big bowl of these items will delight little ones!
- Novelty pencils
- Glitter pens
- Small notebooks
Finally, if you want to save yourself a trip to the store altogether, you could always take the money you would have spent on candy or stickers, cash it in for a bunch of small change, and put it in a big jar. Let kids swipe a handful for a unique, sugar-free, treat. I give my kids a nickel for every candy they get and they exchange it for a small item at Micheals’s Art Supply or Barnes and Noble; their favorite stores. Luckily, my kids know that these candies are truly poison…. they have been reading food labels since they were young and they don’t try and sneak any.
- I also have to be careful to not over healthify. Halloween is a once-a-year event that is tied to eating candy — not other healthy, everyday foods. I believe that pushing healthier items during Halloween makes candy even more desirable and healthy not so desirable. Instead, if I want to give them a candy, I will give them some natural, raw chocolate or surf sweets…natural gummies ( You can find these at any health food store like Whole Foods or Mother’s Market) or I make them myself.
Here are some healthier alternatives to the commercial chemical laden candies:
- Instead of M&M’s, try UnReal
- Instead of Starburst, try TruJoy Sweets Organic Fruit Chews
- Instead of Dum Dum Suckers, try YumEarth Organics Organic Pops
- Instead of Twizzlers Licorice, try YumEarth Organic Licorice
- Instead of Nestle Crunch, try Alter Eco Organic Quinoa Crunch
- Instead of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, try SunCups made with sunflower butter
- Instead of Almond Joy, try Ocho Bars
This way, they don’t feel left out and know that they also get treats to eat that evening.
Creative healthy Halloween party treats