Do you already find yourself dreading Halloween due to the sheer volume of sugar your children will be consuming as a result of it?
It has been estimated that by visiting 15 houses, the average trick-or-treater can collect up to 60 pieces of “fun-size” candy on Halloween night. And, research by the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta found that a typical bag of Halloween treats collected by a child on Halloween is equivalent to 4,800 calories, one-and-a-half cups of fat, and three cups of sugar.
According to Beverly Anderson, Executive Director of Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in Milwaukee, Mequon, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa, “Children love this fun holiday where they get to dress up and trick or treat. As parents, it is important for us to realize that Halloween doesn’t have to be all about candy. If we put a little effort into planning for this holiday, we can find plenty of fun ways to celebrate it that aren’t sugar-laden.”
Healthier Food Options
If you are looking for a great food alternative to the traditional “fun-size” candy bars handed out at trick-or-treating time, Anderson suggests that you consider giving out cereal or granola bars; fresh pieces of fruit such as apples, oranges, nectarines, and pears; mini-bags of baby carrots or trail mix; pretzels or whole-grain Gold Fish; individually wrapped string cheese; popcorn balls; or sandwich crackers.
“All of these items are delicious and still special to children, but they don’t contain the as much sugar as a candy bar,” says Anderson.
Anderson also says you should consider handing out non-edible items such as bouncy balls, coins, stickers, temporary tattoos, small craft kits, pencils, erasers, mini containers of Play-Doh, spider rings, glow-stick jewelry, coloring sheets or coloring books, false vampire teeth, decks of cards, bubbles, plastic bugs or animals, or even a gently used book.
For girls, you could also go to a local dollar store and pick up hair scrunchies, barrettes, or miniature dolls to hand out. Likewise, boys would enjoy receiving matchbox cars, army guys, or a few football or baseball cards.
“The idea behind trick-or-treating is to give children a little ‘treat’,” adds Anderson. “As adults, we need to remember that the term treat can mean non-edible items that are fun for children to play with.”
If you are hosting a Halloween party, Anderson says to focus on activities rather than food.
“The internet provides a wealth of information on Halloween games to play, craft projects to create, and songs to sing with your children while at a party. It also has wonderful resources for creating healthy, but also creative, treats.”
Two of these websites include: http://familyfun.go.com/halloween/best-halloween-recipes-786790/#Eerie Eyeballs;1 and http://familyfun.go.com/halloween/best-halloween-snacks-793734/#Goblin Feet;1
Ebenezer Child Care Centers will be hosting a FREE Family Fun Night entitled “Halloween Treats That Won’t Rot Your Children’s Teeth” on Thursday, October 11th, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at its Southside Milwaukee Center located at 1496 South 29th Street. Most of us are aware of the obesity epidemic sweeping our youth, and passing out candy does nothing to help us get children moving in the right direction. So how about making your home a candy-free home this Halloween? Pass out non-food treats like those found at children’s birthday parties such as pencils, note pads, bubbles, noisemakers, etc. If you have leftovers, these treats can easily be stored for use the following year. Come to this Family Fun Night for even more ideas! Activities will include playing with orange playdough and pumpkin cookie cutters, making pumpkin noodle necklaces, and playing “Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin.” In addition to the activities, you will have the opportunity to enjoy dinner on us! Registration is required. Please call 414-643-5070 to register.