Did you know that according to Dr. Sears the busiest time in his pediatric office is the week after Halloween?! This is because of the abundance of toxic ingredients ingested by our children on this frightful night. Sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), artificial dyes and flavors all contribute to a shock on the system that leads to illness. The body is too busy fighting off the “food” to fight off germs and bacteria. So what do you do? You want your kids to have fun on Halloween, but they do not understand why they cannot have candy. Here are some suggestions for reducing your child’s sugar intake and alternatives to pass out instead of candy. These recommendations come from my own ideas, fellow natural parents and my colleagues at the Natural Parents Network (www.naturalparentsnetwork.com), where I am also a contributor.
There are several options to reduce your child’s candy intake on Halloween. A popular strategy is to trade the candy that the child collected while trick-or-treating for a different kind of treat. For example, you could offer a DVD, toy, or basket of goodies (like stickers, small cars, coloring books, books, etc.). These trinkets could even be Halloween themed (similar to an Easter basket without the candy). Another creative idea is to take your children trick-or-treating early then come home and pass out the candy that they collected. This plan takes care of both issues: how to get your children to eat less candy and what to pass out on Halloween. You could also donate the candy that is collected during trick-or-treating. This is a great opportunity to teach your children about the cause(s) in which you have donated; for example, speak to them about the troops overseas as you send a care package to our deployed soldiers. A great idea for home-schooled children in particular is to use the candy for science projects. There are lots of great ideas for science experiments involving candy online.
Many parents do not want to pass out candy because they do not want the sugary sweets sitting around their house in the days leading up to and/or following Halloween. Other parents do not want to spend money on the harmful ingredients contained in candy and find the organic, dye-free, HFCS-free candy too expensive for trick-or-treating. Here are some fun things that you can pass out instead of sugary sweets. The children in our neighborhood loved it when our neighbor passed out Play-Doh one year. Some of my colleagues at Natural Parents Network have handed out stickers, temporary tattoos, crayons, etc. Another idea is to give out small toys from the dollar store. We did this for the piñata at my son’s second birthday party. We filled it with cars, trucks, tractors, stickers, pencils, etc., and the kids loved it! If you want to pass out candy try something that is free of artificial dyes and flavors like Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops: http://www.yummyearth.com/index.html.
Hopefully these ideas will help keep everyone in your house happy and healthy this holiday. If you have other Halloween traditions or strategies to help reduce the amount of sugar your children ingest on Halloween, we would love to hear them!
Have a safe, happy and HEALTHY Halloween.
THRIVE: Natural Family Living