Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween Safety: How to Have Your Candy and Eat It, Too!

For some of us, it’s our favorite time of year: spooky yard ornaments, orange and black decorations in homes and businesses, and costumes that allow us to be someone other than ourselves, if only for a short time. There are plenty of Halloween safety tips regarding personal safety while trick-or-treating, safe consumption of candy received from the hands of strangers, and even considerations for pets during the Halloween celebration.

Kids at halloween party

So instead of addressing these issues that have been covered already, let’s talk about the reality of Halloween candy consumption, and how to enjoy it in the healthiest way possible. Let’s be honest: Halloween candy isn’t health food. It doesn’t lend much by way of nutrients to your diet, and it’s usually made with the cheapest ingredients available. (I call it “indulgent food,” as consuming it is a rare pleasure in my house, so I enjoy every moment when I do.) So can this plastic-encased, fake-colored, artificially flavored substance ever be part of a healthy diet?

With some advanced planning and preparation, it can, and here’s how you can get started.

Have some basic rules. You need to establish up front, the rules for all candy coming into the household. Yes, kids are going to attend birthday parties, holiday events, friends’ houses, etc. and often, they may bring home bags (or baskets!) of candy. Rather than make it an evil thing crossing the threshold, or a free-for-all when it does, it helps to create expectations up front. Humans crave patterns and rules, so this is a great opportunity to come together as a family and write up a Junk Food Constitution. For example, assign a drawer, basket, or container for all candies (if you have multiple children, you might have one per child to avoid arguments) and allow them to have a certain number of candies for dessert. Five was the rule in our house, and of course, that changed if it was a large gummy spider or M&M’s. This is where serving sizes can be reviewed – all processed foods have them, and if you don’t have the box the candy came in, you can look it up online. Keep in mind, as well, that when the thrill of the candy wears off, it’s likely that your children will forget about the candy, and then you can safely dispose of it as it ages.

Eat candy after a meal. When you put processed foods high in sugar into a body that is hungry, the sugar hits the blood stream faster, causing a high…and then a crash. When you eat a hearty meal of protein, fat, and carbohydrate, and then add a sugar-laden dessert, you are slowing the absorption of the sugar into the blood stream, allowing the body more time to respond to processing the sugar and maintain a more steady blood sugar level. Not to mention, once the stomach is full, there is little desire to eat much more of anything, so serving sizes are much easier to stick to.

A little is not going to kill anyone. Even in the healthiest of households, a little junk food shows up here and there. If you eat out, your food is cooked in unhealthy seed oils, trans-fats, and sugars. That’s why your body is its own amazing detoxification system. And if you eat healthy 80% of the time, you can afford to take some time off here and there and enjoy life. You don’t want to create disordered eating in the form of intense restrictions. If your children love Halloween candy, develop a plan that works best for your home and life, and creates healthy patterns for them, as well. Living in a bubble isn’t ideal, either, any more than eating junk food all the time is. So finding a balance, and teaching your children how to create that in their own life perpetuates a healthy mindset about food.

Offer tempting substitutions. For some kids (and adults), the temptation is the presence of the candy, not necessarily the candy itself. Perhaps you don’t really care for Hershey’s chocolate, but if it’s the only chocolate present, you’ll make do. Particularly in situations when the take has been huge and you have more than enough candy to last for quite some time, offer your child healthier options, like their favorite healthier dessert item, in exchange for a serving size of candy. This will help them learn to negotiate, make healthier yummy choices, and dispose of the candy at the same time. Take heed: If you turn this into a manipulative situation, kids will pick up on it. Make sure the choice is theirs, and if they choose to enjoy their candy instead of a healthier option, keep the rules of servings sizes and after a meal in place, and let them have their choice. For some of us, a sweet that we love is worth more than a whole recipe of chia-seed pudding, no matter how much healthier the pudding is.

What patterns around indulgent foods have you found that work well in your household? What elements of junk food do you find unacceptable? What substitutes have you discovered that work well for you and your family?

Contributing Writer

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tricks for Treats

Halloween is always a fun and favorite time of the year for kids. They get to dress-up and be someone else for the day plus this is the one day that candy is considered okay. Pretty much all the rules are thrown out the window and kids can really be kids with no worries. Even though there aren't many rules to follow here are some ideas that may help to have a safe and unforgettable Halloween.

Trick or Treating Tips

When my girls were younger I would always wonder when were the best trick or treating times? Daylight savings not changing until November 4th makes it nice for young children. This way kids can get started early and finish up while it's still light out. Speaking as a parent and a teacher, nothing is worse then sending your child to school the next morning after a long night of trick or treating. Plus, the earlier you go the better chances you have that no one will run out of candy!

Usually you can cover two or three blocks in a couple of hours and be done. Starting earlier with young kids also gets them out before older kids come out with scarier costumes. This is a consideration if you have a child that is easily frightened. 

Halloween Events in your Community

Many communities have alternative activities for Halloween if you don't want to do traditional trick or treating. In our community we have a Halloween party at the high school that all the kids love. It is a safe environment and the kids play fun Halloween games in exchange for candy. There is also a costume contest and plenty of food and beverages. You can Google your city, town or county plus community Halloween parties to find the perfect Halloween event.

Halloween Parties

Throwing a Halloween party is always a good way to keep your kids safe and close. If you are a parent who loves to organize and throw parties this may be a great tradition to start with your kids. There are plenty of great ideas that can make your party a success and it will keep your kids and their friends entertained for years.

Fun Halloween Party Food

Kiwi Frankenstein
Cauldrons filled with goodies
Banana Ghosts
String Cheese Ghosts
Mummy Hot dogs
Zombie Fingernails and blood (Slivered almonds and ketchup)

Spooktacular Halloween Decorations

You can make inexpensive easy Halloween crafts.

trick or treating
Milk Carton Ghosts
All you need is a little imagination, construction paper, markers, and a lot of pumpkins. 

Start by finding some free cut out patterns of bats, pumpkins, ghosts, and witches. Next have your children trace and cut out the Halloween figures. 

Color and hang up all over the house with fishing line.  

You can add streamers, webs, lights and place carved and non carved pumpkins throughout the house to add that extra Halloween feel. 

If your carved pumpkins are in a low place for little fingers to touch make sure you use battery operated tea lights for inside the pumpkins rather than candles to keep your kids and house safe.

Halloween Extras

There are a lot of different Halloween extras that can be found on the Internet that can take a lot of time so I have done all the searching for you and compiled the best of the best to make your Halloween Holiday out of this world. Just click on each idea and it will take you to the page on how to make it or play it. 

Top 5 Easiest Halloween Snacks

Fun and creative Halloween food ideas

Fruit Bat Kabobs

halloween event
Ghoulish Halloween Drinks

Witches Brew
fun Halloween games
Fun Halloween Desserts
(Photo credit

Creepy Dessert Recipes

Free Halloween Print Outs & Game Ideas For Kids


Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer