With candy being the main draw for trick-or-treaters, it may seem impossible for parents to put a healthy spin on the Halloween holiday. However, Pediatric Dietitian Sarah Tankersley, with Children’s Hospital of Georgia, offers five healthy alternatives that can help you take the bite out of fright night.
- Healthy can be tasty. Rather than passing out high-calorie snacks, consider giving mini boxes of raisins, trail mix, sugar-free gum, granola bars, or even Goldfish crackers. These items are easy to find at the local grocery store and are still a hit among most children.
- Be cautious of food allergies. Make trick-or-treating less scary by ensuring that treats are safe for all kids, especially those with food allergies. In fact, Food Allergy Research & Education, or FARE, encourages families to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, by placing a teal-colored pumpkin on your porch to help trick-or-treaters find homes providing non-candy options. Learn more at http://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project#.Vhv3t-xVhBc
- School supplies are always a great idea. The thought of passing out school supplies may seem boring at first, but you can still spice things up by handing out fall-themed items such as decorative pencils, stickers, rulers, bookmarks, erasers, mini crayon or marker sets, and notepads.
- Small toys are an option. If you decide to add more enthusiasm to the trick-or-treating experience, consider handing out inexpensive toys such as glow sticks, bubbles, key chains, waxed lips, small coloring books, bendable plastic character figures, mini koosh balls, and stress balls.
- Let’s play dress up. Since children enjoy wearing costumes and playing dress up for Halloween, add to their fun by giving out disguise glasses, snap bracelets, silly mustaches, or adjustable rings.
If you find yourself feeling guilty for not handing out candy, Tankersley says you can still join in the festivities by choosing to hand out low-calorie sweets such as hard candies or licorice.