Five Tips for a Healthier Halloween
By Lisa Fuhrman www.drfuhrman.com
A Little Advanced Planning Can Turn This Potentially Harrowing day Into A Happy One!
My kids always look forward to Halloween, even though they don’t eat the candy (at least in front of me). They look forward to dressing up in costumes, being out with their friends, and staying up late on a school night.
I, on the other hand, do not look forward to Halloween. I don’t like the focus on fear of ugly-looking creatures and giving of toxic items to children. (I don’t call the “treats” food because they certainly aren’t nourishing.) The sad fact is that even normally well-behaved children can start acting crazy after consuming all the highly-sugared, chemicalized junk they get. And the disrupting behavior can last for as long as a month afterward.
So, how can you turn Halloween into a fun-filled time for your children while keeping it from being too frightening for you?
I’m not a person who believes in letting eating choices turn my home into a war zone. I believe in providing an education in healthful eating—and setting a good example! I keep unhealthful foods out of the house, and trust my kids to use their best judgment.
Thankfully, we have figured out how to make Halloween a happy time for all of us, without joining in the candy orgy. Here are some tips that have worked for us.
1. Hand out inexpensive toys or gifts instead of candy. By setting this good example, perhaps a neighbor will pick up on the idea. Even if nobody follows your lead, you will feel good about your decision. Toys are perhaps a little more expensive than candy, but not much, and they definitely send a great message to both the kids and the parents. I get different toys each year from Oriental Trading Company.*
My children help choose what they think is cool. In recent years, we have been giving out glow-in-the- dark necklaces and bracelets. The best thing about these toys is that they make kids safer in the dark because cars can see them when they are walking in the road. Kids say, “Wow!” or “Cool!” when they see the glowing gifts, so I know they love them. Plus, my kids are proud to hand them out. Now that my kids are older, they always remind me when it’s time to place my order (which is right around now). Other toys that we have purchased include small cans of Silly String, glow-in-the-dark animals, and glow-in-the-dark balls.
2. Make your family’s favorite dinner on Halloween night, including their favorite desserts. With full stomachs, your kids will be less tempted to eat the junk they receive. You also can try the desserts on page 7, or get some of the delicious Chocolate Pop’ems from www.drfuhrman.com.
3. When the children come home, set a limit on how many candies they are allowed to eat. I suggest you allow them two pieces of candy, which they can pick out—and then discard or give away the rest. We let our children pick one or two candies to eat. Most of the time they only take a bite or two before tossing the rest out. Our youngest, Sean, has no desire to even taste the stuff, because as he explains, “I don’t eat junk food.” Luckily for us, he is too finicky to try anything new. He rejects anything he is not accustomed to.
4. Some people find it easiest to throw out all the candy after the children go to sleep. Little ones probably won’t even remember it once it’s gone, and getting rid of it eliminates temptation for the adults in the house.
5. Life is full of compromises—and this day will pass! I believe that with a little advance planning you can ensure that your children will have a good time and not be tempted to hide or sneak candy. Plus, you will be happier knowing that they will be eating a lot less candy this year than they did last year. That’s a good start!