If you strive to feed your family an additive-free and nourishing diet, the scariest part about Halloween in your family may be the flood of processed candy that's about to come streaming your child's way. Monsters such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and genetically modified organisms are lurking in most conventional "trick-or-treat" goodies; and these ingredients have been linked to a variety of health conditions in children from behavior problems and allergies, to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. While the kids may enjoy these treats and look forward to Halloween because of them, it is entirely possible to create a fun-filled holiday without the worry of damaging your children's health by substituting with the tricks and treats provided here.
A man dressed up as the deceased Libyan leader Gaddafi takes part in the 39th Annual Halloween Parade in New York
If you prefer your children do not ingest processed candies, try these "tricks" to ensure they have a fun, but healthier, Halloween.
- "Healthier" Halloween parties - Skip trick-or-treating, and host or attend a "healthier" party with naturally-minded friends, so you'll have more control over the quality of treats offered to your children. Party foods can be made from scratch without artificial colors and processed ingredients, and party bags can be filled exclusively with natural (or homemade) treats and non-food toys and trinkets.
- "Natural" trick-or-treating - Perhaps a local organization (or natural food store) where you live sponsors a "healthier" trick-or-treating event. If not, maybe you should take the first steps to create one for health-conscious families in your area. Granted, your children will likely still come home with quite a bit of processed junk; but odds are better they will avoid some harmful ingredients like artificial colors and also get a hearty dose of non-food, toy goodies in their bags as well.
- Candy "buy-outs" - Allow your child to trick-or-treat the conventional way with the intention of "buying" their candy from them when they get home. You can determine what percentage of their candy they must sell (up to 100 percent if necessary), and then offer them a pre-determined amount of money for each candy they "sell" to you. This way, the kids "earn" money to buy a toy or game they want, they won't be eating as much (if any) junk, and they also won't miss out on the neighborhood fun with their friends. You can also allow them to cash in their trick-or-treat candy for money to purchase healthier options at a natural food store that you feel better about allowing them to eat.
Do you enjoy passing out little goodies to the neighborhood ghosts and goblins or do you need treats for your child's classroom party at school, but you don't feel good about filling their bags with corn syrup and GMOs? Natural treats like organic popcorn, raisins or trail mix can be expensive - and many kids will frown at attempts to fill their bags with nutrients during the Halloween festivities - but the following non-food treats can be a huge hit with the kids. Most of these items can be purchased for a reasonable price at dollar stores, party supply centers or discount sites online.
- Miniature packs of clay, silly putty, bubbles or crayons
- Mini frisbees
- Rubber bouncy balls
- Mini yo-yos
- Temporary tattoos
- Glow-in-the-dark items
- Crazy straws
- Parachute army guys
If you want to be extra festive, look for trinkets specifically themed with Halloween designs, such as:
- Pencil toppers
- Plastic rings or bracelets
- Plastic figurines
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