Healthier Halloween? Is it possible? myspace graphic comments
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Halloween freaks me out a bit. And not really because of the spooky costumes or the potential needles or other really dangerous things in the candy; but rather, I’m freaked out for other reasons like high fructose corn syrup, artificial food dyes, sugars, and/or aspartame, and thousands and thousands of empty calories. My kids rarely get non food treats at Halloween, but they do get a whole host of sugar coated, multi-colored, oh-so-delicious, yummy treats that I rarely let them have. They’ve even received Hostess cupcakes and ding dongs before from various houses. UGH!

Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea? Do you think I’m really weird? 😉 I just know that stuff is unhealthy. Artificial food colors alter my kids’ behavior. I swear. Tons of sweets make them crabby and more apt to fight with each other. It makes the days just delightful, let me tell you. I’m recently paying attention to aspartame in candy. Did you know it’s often an ingredient in sugar-free gum?

In past years I have been sneaky with the candy. Saying no to trick or treating is simply not an option. And we always end up with a TON. A lot of it has simply disappeared. Daddy is to blame, of course! 😉 I’ve also limited them to one to two pieces per day (to spread out the poisons, perhaps?) This year I’m trying a slightly different tactic. I don’t want to be “Mean Mom,” but I do want to limit the total amount of bad sweets they ingest.

So, here’s what we’re doing:

First, we’re having a family Halloween party before Trick-or-Treating. I’m cooking up some yummy, healthy soups (I’m thinking Baked Potato Soup and Taco Soup) and some healthier desserts for them to fill up with first. The entire extended family is coming over because the baby goes for hip dysplasia surgery on Nov 1 and we’re also wishing her a good surgery and speedy recovery.

Second, we’re walking to do our Trick-or-Treating. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen shuttle their kids door to door in cars the past few years. What’s up with that? May as well walk off some of the calories, yes?

Third, I’m letting them eat a fair amount during Trick-or Treating (and I’m not going to freak out about it). I might even let them choose a handful of candy to keep for a couple days. The majority of it will leave our house though, permanently. Last year, Daddy bought some candy from them, but this year, I don’t want anybody eating it.

I have two options for making the candy disappear. What works for one kid might not work for another. Last week at the dentist, we noticed that she is buying back candy to the tune of $1 per pound and then sending the candy overseas to the troops! She’s also giving out toothbrushes and little prizes on November 1st. Provided I can find someone to take my kids to the dentist (we’ll be at the hospital with our baby), at least two of them (the 2 oldest and most motivated by the almighty $$) will sell their candy to the dentist! You can check here for participating dentists in your area. Just put in your zipcode and it’ll locate the dentists for you! Easy peasy.

The second option is to leave the candy for the Switch-Witch. Have you heard of her? She will take whatever candy your kids leave outside their bedroom door and trade it for a new toy! Hooray for the Switch Witch! This might work better for my littlest big kid. But, I’m not sure, so I’ll let them each choose. If I can’t get my kids to the dentist, the Switch-Witch may just weigh the candy and leave money instead of a toy…we’ll have to be flexible this year.

While these might not be the healthiest of options, I’m hoping it will work well for our family. I’ll be sure to let you know.

Healthy Child, Healthy World also has many more good ideas on greening your Halloween, here, here, and here too.

Will you do anything to make your Halloween a little bit healthier? I’d love to hear!

day2day joys
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  1. I like the switch witch idea! I also only give my kids 1-2 pieces of candy a day. Last year I took our whole bag with me when my cousin and I had a yard sale - anyone who came to look got a treat!
  2. I was diagnosed with type one diabetes shortly after Halloween almost 15 years ago and my parents did simlar things for me at all the holidays. Looking back I loved the idea. Having 2 sisters and 8 cousins eatting candy was hard so my mom usually paid me for the candy that way I could buy something that lasted longer than candy. At Easter my aunts hid special eggs for me with money inside. I was allowed some candy but it was usually saved for lunch boxes or after school. I really like the switch witch idea
  3. I am definitely adopting the switch witch at our home. Kudos for that one. And I really like your balance of letting the kids have some candy. We have a similar tactic. After all, you can't take ALL of the devilry out of Halloween.

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