Its Halloween Week!
I have always loved Halloween. I remember growing up my older sisters would come up with costume ideas for us. I mean, when you grow up with six kids in your family, its not like you can run out to the local party store and buy 6 costumes…that would get downright expensive! Back in the day, we were allowed to wear our costumes to school…I can remember one specific year that my sister made me a costume that wasn’t my favorite. I don’t really remember what I was, but she made me skirt out of cedar bark…if you don’t know what that is…here’s a picture. It seriously was the most itchy thing I’d ever worn!! But when you live out on 5 acres, in a big family, you make do with what you have! She was definitely creative!!
In any case, while I’m a firm believer in moderation when it comes to allowing your kids to be kids and enjoy the holidays! Sometimes it can be overwhelming the amount of sweets that accumulate over the holidays!
So I wanted to provide you with some ideas for healthy alternatives for Halloween candy! I think the key to providing healthy stuff, so that kids will like them is to make them frightfully good and fun! These are some ideas for healthy holiday food and celebrations that are low on sugar and still a lot of fun.
Healthy Foods to Substitute for Traditional Halloween Candy:
- Make your own sinister snacks. Kids love gross things. Use cookie cutters to design homemade cookies in shapes like ghosts and bats. Bake gingerbread zombies with missing limbs. Pinterest will be your best friend for this…here’s a quick search I did CLICK HERE When making treats from scratch, you can adjust the conventional recipes to lower the sugar and substitute whole grain flour for half the white flour. Kids will also love to eat fruit and vegetables if you arrange them right. Peel grapes so that they look like eyeballs. Make a skeleton shape out of carrot sticks and sliced vegetables. Even arranging them in fun Halloween themes like this would entice them to want to at least try something healthy! Every Halloween I see this image floating around!!
- . Try sugar free or organic candy and gum. If you want to serve candy, try sugar free or organic brands. Read the labels to check on any chemicals you want to avoid and to find out how much sugar they contain. Sugar free gum is especially good to help keep dental plaque from forming if your kids eat any sugary candy. It stimulates saliva and can help fight tooth decay.\
- Hand out healthier foods. There are lots of nutritious foods you can have for parties and trick or treating. Focus on sturdy fruits and vegetables like baby carrots, raisins, apples, oranges, or bananas for parties and maybe in additional to candy, have some pre-packaged carrot sticks, cheese/crackers, 100 calorie packs etc. (We still hand out candy for trick or treating but my girls have selected the healthier options when houses have had them available)
- Beware of cereal bars that may have as much sugar and fat as candy.
- Create your own trail mix with granola, nuts, and dried fruit for parties.
- The sophisticated older child may even like seaweed or unsalted soy nuts.
4. Serve hot chocolate or juice. Water is the best way to quench your kid’s thirst, but controlled portions of other liquids can also be reasonable choices. Small servings of hot chocolate will provide some warmth if the weather has already turned cold – doesn’t happen til December or January here in AZ. Individual juice boxes with straws will provide hydration and vitamins while keeping sugary drinks from sticking to your kid’s teeth. Just be sure avoid the high fructose corn syrup as much as possible!
Other Healthy Halloween Festivities and Ideas:
Consider alternatives to trick or treating. More and more parents are choosing healthy and safe alternatives to trick or treating. These are some party ideas that switch the focus away from the candy.
- Have a costume parade. Dressing up is a huge part of the holiday. Let the kids show off their costumes. Dream up creative categories so that everyone gets a prize. You could honor the best princess costume based on a movie and the princess with the prettiest shoes. We love doing family costumes…this one was my favorite
- Tell scary stories in a haunted house. Halloween is supposed to be creepy. Turn your basement into a dungeon or make your backyard look like a cemetery. Practice some ghost stories or encourage the group to make up their own as they go along. Plant appropriate sound effects and props to enhance the scary parts.
- Indulge your creative side. There are all kinds of holiday crafts you can enjoy with your kids. Get free ideas at the library or online. You can decorate pumpkins, make scarecrows or do some face painting.
- Hand out non-food treats. Whether you trick or treat or throw a party, you can hand out treats and favors other than candy. Give children stickers, temporary tattoos, coins, pencil toppers or small novelty toys. Black toothbrushes will come in especially handy this time of year. Just make sure there are no choking hazards for very young kids.
There are healthy alternatives to Halloween candy that will keep your kids happy and your dental bills down. Make this Halloween good and scary for you and your family. Be safe and have fun!!