10 Ways to Have a Safe and Healthy Halloween
“Trick or treat, give me something good to eat,” goes the childhood chant. But the trick for many parents is helping their children enjoy all the fun of Halloween without overdosing on handfuls of candy. Here are 10 ways to do just that.
Before You Go
1. Set limits. Remind children to take one piece of candy at each house and limit the size of their candy bag. Make sure it’s clear how much they’re allowed to eat that night and each day afterward.
2. Feed your children a meal or snack before they head out. That will help keep them from munching on the treats they collect as they go door-to-door.
3. Think about other options. Instead of handing out candy, consider healthier alternatives. Some ideas include fruit rolls, popcorn, pretzels, trail mix, breakfast cereal, mini boxes of raisins, juice boxes, animal crackers, or graham crackers.
While You’re Out
4. Save the treats. Remind children not to eat any goodies before you’ve inspected them at home.
5. Walk it out. Use trick-or-treating as an opportunity to get some exercise. Set a goal of how many houses or streets you’ll visit, or compete to see how many you can hit.
When You Get Home
6. Discard all homemade candy or baked goods. Parents of toddlers should also remove choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, and the like.
7. Inspect commercially wrapped treats for indications of tampering. Look for an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers.
8. Read ingredient labels with extra care if your child has food allergies. You can also look for treats with lower fat, calories, sugar, sodium, and trans fat.
9. Start a “buy back” program. Let your children choose some of their favorite candies to enjoy. Then “buy” the rest of the candy in exchange for a special sleepover, toy, book, or other nonfood treat. This allows your children to enjoy some of their candy without going overboard.
10. When your child asks for some candy, pair it with something healthy like a banana, apple, or nuts.