Parents cringe on Halloween, envisioning all the sugary treats their child will bring home from school or Trick or Treating. Children are disappointed to receive things like apples or pennies, but there are other ways to give treats at Halloween and make them smile. Five healthy alternatives to candy at Halloween are listed below.
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Make some peanut butter cookies! A simple way to make inexpensive peanut butter cookies is to mix one 20 oz. jar of creamy peanut butter with two eggs, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Roll into 1/2 balls and space on cookie sheet.
Flatten cookies with fork. Parchment paper makes for less clean up. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. This recipe makes about four dozen cookies. Keep in mind that some people have nut allergies. Be sure to say they are peanut butter cookies, or wrap and label them if you are sending them to school with your child.
If baking is too much work, offer juice boxes and fruit chews. There are also many yogurts that are now marketed for children such as Trix and Gogurt. Fruit chews can be purchased in bulk and repacked by you, or prepacked in smaller packages. Most children enjoy string cheese, too.
2) Buy Dime-Store Trinkets Instead of Candy
There are an array of inexpensive plastic figures, soap bubbles, color crayons, bracelets, etc. that can be purchased at local discount stores or from companies like Oriental Trading. There could even be a game involved so participants could win their prize.
Think about non-competitive activities like dropping clothes pins into a jar or simply choosing one hand or the other, that way all age and abilities still “win.”
Glow in the dark skulls rings and small glow in the dark skeletons are fun on Halloween night! Glow-sticks and necklaces are fun and also help make children visible if trick or treating after dark.
3) Trail Mix!
Buy or make you own, package in cute Halloween themed bags. Raisins or dried cranberries can sweeten the mix, or a few chocolate chips can be sprinkled into the mix. Unfortunately a good trail mix may be too costly depending on the number of treats to be given, if so, consider bulk peanuts that can be packaged into Halloween themed bags, or popcorn.
4) Halloween Art Work Station
Set up a Halloween art work station in your mudroom or on your porch for Trick-or-Treaters to create a craft to take home. Search online for patterns of bats, Frankenstein masks, paper-bag ghosts and have the material out on a table along with directions.
This may be a little messy, so consider a porch or garage as the work station. Provide glue, glitter, paper, paints, toilet paper tubes, and printed instructions for each craft. An easier, less messy way to do this would be to print out Halloween themed coloring pages, cross word puzzles, or other take home/do at home activity sheets.
5) And For Your Own Kids…
For your own children who you like to do a little extra for, buy books, t-shirts or movie tickets instead of candy. The local bookstore will surely have age appropriate Halloween themed books for sale in October. Stores will have Halloween wear available and the local theaters will have scary movies as well as animated Halloween movies.
Take your kids to a local haunted house! Many non-profit organizations run haunted houses to raise money for local charities. If your child is older, encourage him or her to volunteer at one of these. They will have fun and be giving back to your community.
For a less expensive Halloween, go to you local big box retailer and look in the bargain DVD bins. Many B horror movies are available for purchase and some box sets as well. Local libraries may carry old classics that can be rented for free! Make a bunch of popcorn and cuddle up on the couch with your kids and watch these movies! Turn out the lights and share a popular movie from your childhood with your own children.
Halloween doesn’t have to mean eating tons of sugary candy without nutritional value. Put the emphasis on scary fun instead of candy, This is a way to show your child that this holiday can be enjoyed without over- indulging in sugar. Please consider these healthy alternatives to candy at Halloween.