Halloween is a magical holiday for most people. Who doesn’t like getting candy by the shopping bag full? I liked candy a bit too much as a child, so much so that when I was a chubby nine year old, I rigged the scale when my parents told me I couldn’t trick or treat if I didn’t lose a few pounds. There was no way I was missing that candy fest!
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No one enjoys being the health police, especially on this kid favorite day. Fortunately, parents these days have gained some knowledge about nutrition and can employ more productive and creative strategies to keep kids healthy without having to miss Halloween. If Halloween were one evening of sweet festivities and indulgence, it would make it a lot easier to be the carefree parent we all want to be. How fun would it be to say, “Sure, honey! you can have 10 candy bars tonight! It’s Halloween!”
A Season of Candy?
Sadly, our culture is one filled with treats and sweets, and Halloween is not simply one night. It can often be weeks of parties at school and at friend’s houses, libraries and community centers. If we add in the year-round parties in all these venues, we are talking about non-stop sugar fests.
So the question is, how can we make Halloween a healthier holiday without being the scrooge of Oct. 31st? Never fear, it can be done!
Fun, Scary and No Junk
Let’s begin with activities that are fun, scary, and have nothing to do with junk food. Halloween crafts are always a winner, from spider masks and ghosts made out of sheets to floating eye balls in a bowl of jello. If you are not crafty by nature, you can get your Martha Stewart on by browsing throughmagazines and websites such as PBS Kids to create fun family crafts that appeal to you and your kids.
If you still want some sweet treats but want to serve them without the fat, salt and sugar, there are plenty of out-of-the-box Halloween foods that can make you the festive mom of the year without making your kids sick, such as:
- Bloody finger bananas. You can make it with almonds for fingernails, and blood from strawberry jam, for example.
- Pumpkin pie dip. A few years ago, I came up with this recipe for pumpkin pie dip made with Greek yogurt, pumpkin puree and spices that evoke the season. It’s easy to make. Serve it with celery sticks, baby carrots, or pita chips. Put it out when you do Halloween preparations in your home — or bring it to the next Halloween party.
- Spiders made of prunes and pretzel sticks. Stick some small pretzels on either side of prunes, put non-pareils for the eyes, and you are good to go!
All are delicious and easy to prepare. If we make an effort to get the ball rolling, others may follow our lead, making our job of health monitor easier. Just think, you may be spearheading what everyone else has been wanting to do but were too afraid of for fear of being the bad guy. You’ll be their new Halloween hero/heroine! Happy Halloween and BOO!