I know, I know, don’t be a Grinch on Halloween. Frankly, it’s a bummer to be the “voice of wisdom” on holidays. But taking into account that current obesity statistics are alarmingly high, someone has to put the kibosh on the way we celebrate a so-called candy driven holiday. Make Halloween healthier is my new mantra. And get kids excited, by being creative.
I just saw some data that shocked me. The average child who goes trick-or-treating successfully, and comes home with a full bag, is probably hauling about 4,800 calories, and at minimum three cups of sugar in that hefty haul. We won’t even discuss trans fats and saturated fats, because I think you get the idea. Yes, the holiday is also filled with costumes and get-togethers, but for most kids (and parents) it is candy-focused. We need to change that. I am not suggesting a “no candy policy.” I am suggesting a couple of small treats and holiday over. Donate the candy, give it away, trade your child for something. But get the candy out of the house.
Of course, you can also change the whole tone of the fun day and evening, by emphasizing costume competitions, fun games, maybe a cooking class where the kids make something easy like a yogurt parfait with healthier toppings and some dark chocolate chips, baking healthy muffins and decorating them, or even creating a salad and pizza bar with healthy toppings.
Some other ideas to make Halloween healthier and fun:
- Use a smaller candy bag and have kids decorate and personalize the bag.
- Communicate with neighbors and friends to offer healthier treats like fruit bars, boxed dried fruit, healthy nutrition bars, small boxes of cereal, snack-size bags of healthier baked chips and popcorn, 100 calorie snack packs or non-food items.
- Create a trade-in center at a home where the kids trade their candy for sports cards or other collectibles.
- Do a Halloween scrapbook page with your kids and trade the candy for stickers
- Have a themed party like a paint Halloween pictures party, a sculpt Halloween creatures Play-doh party, even a Halloween dance party.
We write so many news articles and blogs about all the industries contributing to the obesity crisis. We implore them to stop advertising to kids, stop manufacturing highly processed treat foods, and to stop making unhealthy foods so accessible. On a holiday like Halloween, it’s time for parents to also “do the right thing.”
Amy Hendel is a health professional, journalist and host of Food Rescue, Simple Smoothies and What’s for Lunch? Author of Fat Families, Thin Families and The 4 Habits of Healthy Families, she tweets health headlines daily @HealthGal1103. Catch her guest appearances on local and national news and talk shows. Follow her blogs at: http://www.healthcentral.com/profiles/c/86903.
Published On: October 25, 2013