The Ying and Yang of Halloween

Trick or Treat time. Once again many of us are plagued by the ying yang of what to do. Give out candy, which perpetuates poor health and health habits, or give out something healthy that kids will likely throw away. I have two suggestions. One is to give out non-food items. There are many inexpensive and small items kids like to have. Try temporary tattoos, shiny rocks, shells, pencils, erasers, small rubber balls, glow sticks, stickers or even coins. If you are feeling creative, make something yourself. Give each child one or two pieces of origami paper and directions to make an animal. Buy a book of Mad Libs or crossword puzzles. Give each child a page of the book, rolled up with a ribbon. You can even make your own mad lib or crossword puzzle. Find the directions to a unique paper airplane and attach them to the appropriate size piece of paper.

If you want to give out candy type items I recommend sticking with real food. By real food I mean nuts, seeds, dried fruit (with no sugar added), honey based treat (as opposed to high fructose corn syrup) and popcorn. Buy small individual serving size bags of sunflower seeds, nuts or pumpkin seeds; or bag them yourself. There are several different brands of sesame honey candy available. Even peanut brittle is real food; nuts and sugar. Dried fruit such as raisins, mango and berries are widely available, but also may require you bagging them in small sizes.

Popcorn is great for kids. If you like you can pop it yourself and give it out warm in small bags. The children can eat it as they walk from house to house. You can also give out small bags of unpopped popcorn kernels with directions on how to pop it on the stove top with oil. Many children think popcorn needs to be micro waved and are amazed that it can be popped in a pot. Please do not give out microwave popcorn, the bag liners have carcinogenic ingredients that escape into the popcorn when heated. Also, flavored popcorn usually has high levels of food coloring, artificial flavors and salt. Another corn based real food is dried corn kernels. These also come in small snack bags.

Although honey is just pure sugar, it is a natural real food. Purchase honey in small plastic tubes. Also, the amount of honey in the tubes is very small, but kids love to suck it out. You might consider serving real apple cider on Halloween night, let the kids and adults drink it at your home. Warm the cider if it is cold on Halloween night. Hot chocolate, made with real milk, may also be appreciated in some areas of the country. So enjoy, and have a great, guilt free evening.

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