Guest Author - Patricia Mitchell
Fall is here with cooler temperatures and beautiful colors that surround us with the change of seasons. This brings a flood of Halloween decorations, pumpkins, costumes, toys, and candy to all your local merchants and businesses. With childhood obesity on the rise, is it possible to have healthy Halloween options for your children? The bags and baskets full of candy from this one evening event can leave you scratching your head on what to do with all the leftovers. However, you may want to consider other options. You may be surprised that with a little thought and creativity, you can create some new family memories with a little less sugar and fewer cavities this Halloween season.
Here are some ideas if you choose to try the non traditional route this Halloween:
1.Trick or treat at your local mall. It's a great way to allow your kids to show off their costumes with a fun trip to the mall without bringing home too many sugary treats. Many local malls have the merchants distribute candy to children dressed in Halloween attire, so check your local activities calendar for the date and time. You may want to make plans ahead of time for shopping and a meal. Take your child out to eat something healthy prior to visiting the mall stores and then they won't be famished when they dig into their goodies.
2.Have a Halloween party at your house and invite a few of your child's friends over. You can plan special Halloween shows for them to watch. Some great choices are: "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", “ Scooby Doo Scariest Tales”, and “Casper the Friendly Ghost.” Some old fashion games like, “ hide and seek”, “charades”, or even telling ghost stories will supply endless fun for your guests. Providing healthy snacks are a great way to steer them away from all the sweet treats they normally get when trick or treating. Some good options are: cherries dipped in dark chocolate, apple slices with caramel dip, banana slices dipped in dark chocolate, and celery with almond butter and raisins. You can also set up a fruit station and have them select different fruits to put in the blender for healthy smoothies. Have them make their own little mini pizzas made on english muffins with ground turkey, organic tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella. They will have a blast and won't even miss all the sweets.
3.Have a special Halloween family night. Plan a special evening with your children. Have everyone dress up and get creative with their costumes. Get your children involved in coming up with ideas for healthy options to make or purchase ahead of time for the trick or treaters that visit your home. Let them help give out treats so they can see the wonderful costumes and help greet the trick or treaters. Some good options to give out for healthy snacks are: small boxes of raisins, snack bags of pumpkin seeds, packages of trail mix, all natural gummy bears, pencils, erasers, wrapped dark chocolate, etc. Make the evening special with a Halloween movie or perhaps read some Halloween stories together. Halloween coloring books, dvds, or even putting on the famous Michael Jackson video, “Thriller” and getting the whole family up to dance, will provide endless fun and make some great family memories.
4.If you and your children decide they want to go the traditional route and trick or treat, you may want to set a limit on the number of houses they visit and how many sweets they are allowed when they return home. Discussing this ahead of time makes it easier for your children to know what is expected of them so that they won't be disappointed.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!