By Danielle, Contributing writer
Halloween is just around the corner, and you may be scrambling to find a costume, getting out your sewing supplies, or decorating your home with harvest or spooky decor. You may not be thinking about how to curb the massive sugar and dye rush on its way to your little ones now, but come Halloween night, you sure will! Americans spend $2 billion per year on Halloween, and consume on average 3.4 pounds of candy over the holiday each year.
Halloween isn’t everyone’s thing – some of us decorate every last inch of our homes, and some of us, okay maybe just me, plan to be MIA that night. Regardless of your feelings on Halloween, the holiday and its treats will be in your children’s faces and their guts.
Let’s face it. The candies passed out on Halloween are a lot to shriek about.
Food dyes, including red 40, blue 5, and yellow 5 and 6, are in almost all candies, and been linked to gastrointestinal and neurological issues. Most candies are still made with high fructose corn syrup, which is banned in many other countries, causing behavioral and digestive issues. Other corn and canola oils in the candies are GMO’s, linked to cancer and other degenerative disorders. All of this and no mention of the sugar.
Additionally, the sugar used in most candies is GMO-derived beet sugar. By Halloween, we are getting less play time outdoors and therefore sunlight, further dragging down our immune system. The sugar and chemical-laden is more than a trick than a treat, and is the final nail in the coffin.
When you consider one to two Halloween school parties, maybe a home school party, a neighborhood party, a church party, you have more grams of sugar in your little one than Santa consumes on Christmas eve.
6 Ways to Make Halloween Less Scary
Here are six ways you can prepare your Halloween to be a bit more healthy, and maybe more happy, too.
1. Prep the Candy
Stock up on healthier candies from your local health food store, or make your own (great idea to incorporate in a homeschool plan!). Today, candies without dyes and preservatives are easy to find and mostly affordable.
2. Supply the School Candy Monsters
Schools today have at least one, if not more, Halloween parties. Grab stashes of your healthy candy and supply them for your child at each party. Volunteer to briosng treats to a Halloween party, or even host your own. This ensures there are at least some healthy options for your little.
3. Give Out Healthy Snacks
For the last few years, I have been handing out apples. Sure, some of them are still in the bucket at the end of the night (score!), but I like to think there is one or two parents who are thankful that their little one has a healthy snack to balance the non-stop sugar assault. Maybe you’re also like me, and have about .5 seconds to get dinner on the table, and this is the bulk of dinner for the night.
4. Hand Out Non-Food Snacks
There are a lot of treats you can give out that won’t involve a later sugar trick. Check out your local dollar store, Pinterest, or Google search non-food alternatives to give out this Halloween.
5. Remake the Holiday
We haven’t celebrated Halloween (at all) for two years and counting. How do we do it? We plan something else MORE fun! For religious reasons, I couldn’t keep up with the holiday, so we go see a movie, or even book a night at the water park on Halloween. My son hasn’t missed the day one lick. He knows he would spend the night in the cold (we are in the north, where your Halloween costume must fit over two sets of long john’s), picking out candy he can’t eat, otherwise. If you don’t want to skip it altogether, plan a natural-minded Halloween parties with your natural mama friends and their kiddos, or go do something outdoors.
6. Be Honest with your Child
Now you can throw the Skittles at me. It’s OK that your child doesn’t participate in every holiday. It’s OK that they don’t get every candy they want. It’s OK to tell your child that in this world, they will need to pick and choose what is right and wrong, and determine what they will and won’t do. The world is a smorgasbord of possibilities – but that doesn’t mean each one is good for them. Determine which holidays and what parts of the holidays are truly benefiting your family, and don’t be afraid to scrap the mainstream plans for plans of your own!
Halloween may be the spookiest day of the year, but it doesn’t have to be. Reclaim the holiday and make it healthy!
How do you keep Halloween healthy? Share your ideas!
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