By: Shanna Rottloff, Montana State University Community Health Intern
Fall is in the air and Halloween is just around the corner. Halloween is a day filled with tricks and treats, but not all those treats must be filled with sugar. After a successful evening of trick or treating, children can bring home between 3,500 and 7,000 calories worth of candy. Many children – and parents! – simply cannot resist the temptation of devouring handfuls of candy before, during, and after trick or treating. Follow these tips for a safe and healthy Halloween:
- Feed your children a healthy snack or dinner before leaving the house for Halloween festivities. This will help curb kids’ urge to nibble on candy throughout the evening.
- Tell children to only accept candies and treats that are pre-packaged and commercially wrapped. To be safe, children should avoid homemade treats; even fruit could pose a potential safety hazard. Parents should always check their children’s candy at home for possible dangers before allowing them to consume any and throw out any that may look suspicious.
- Be aware of the appropriateness of treats. Developmentally appropriate candy should only be consumed. Parents should be cautious with candies that could pose a choking hazard or could contain any potential allergens.
- Encourage children to walk while trick-or-treating rather than being driven around. Walking can be a great way to burn off kids’ excess energy. Make sure children are highly visible to cars and other traffic hazards.
Halloween doesn’t have to revolve around sugar-ladened treats and goodies; there are many healthy substitutes to make the day fun!
- Try alternatives to treats. Inexpensive toys, pencils and erasers, or small tubs of Play-Doh can serve as safe and fun substitutes to candy.
- Ration children’s candy intake! Have your child select their favorite candy and store the rest away for later consumption.
- Repurpose extra candy. Save unwanted candy for future craft projects. Old Halloween treats work great for decorating gingerbreads houses or other projects.
- Locate candy exchange programs. Local dentist’s offices may trade in unwanted Halloween candy for small toys or in some cases, small amounts of money. Operation Gratitude is a non-profit program that provides support for American troops. During Halloween, the program also accepts donations of unwanted candy.
Use these tips for a safe and healthy Halloween this year!