Many of us will see trick-or-treaters visiting our neighborhoods this week. When you do, consider starting a new Halloween tradition. My sister, Debbie is a great hostess for trick-or-treat night. She fixes a big pot of chili with healthy beans, lean beef and tomatoes. As the soup simmers, family members can stop in for a bowl of soup and some veggies before hitting the streets. A fun veggie tray encourages everyone to try a veggie dipped in reduced fat ranch dressing. The kids and their parents have a healthy meal to get them started on their journey.
Let’s explore some Healthy Option Trick or Treat Ideas:
• Offer Halloween toys, stickers, glow sticks, pencils, or erasers.
• Offer small balls, bubbles, modeling clay, plastic spiders, bugs, skeletons or sidewalk chalk.
• Offer fruit cups, 100 % juice boxes, nuts, trail mix, graham crackers, or raisins.
• Offer small Clementines with a pumpkin face for an added surprise.
Did you know? A research study from Yale University found that children are just as likely to choose a small toy as candy when offered both of them. Given the choice between lollipops, fruit flavored candy, tart hard candy and stretch pumpkin men, glow in the dark insects, Halloween-themed stickers and pencils, 50% of the children chose the toys.
You may have your candy stash ready to go for this year but I challenge you to visit the store after Halloween and pick up some of the non-perishable ideas to offer next year. Oftentimes we can get post-Halloween items at 50 -90% off! Purchase these for savings next year and store them in your box with your Halloween decorations (if you have one) or in the special place that you can easily find when it is time to buy candy for next year. You may be surprised at the savings you see!
You don’t have to stop offering candy but consider adding some healthy alternatives. Did you know that the average Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin contains 250 pieces of calories equaling about 3 pounds of sugar and 9,000 calories? Let’s make that number closer to 100 pieces of candy next year! That’s enough of a treat for anyone.
Can you start a healthy Halloween tradition?
Writer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, email@example.com
Reviewer: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credits: Debbie Klinger, Pat Brinkman and Michelle Treber.
American Heart Association, (2014). How to have a heart healthy Halloween. retrieved from: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/How-to-Have-a-Heart-Healthy-Halloween_UCM_317432_Article.jsp
Schwartz, M. , Chen, E., & Brownell, K. (2003). Trick, treat, or toy: children are just as likely to choose toys as candy on Halloween. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 35, 4, 207-209