Trick or Treat?
October 22nd, 2011 - By Lari Robling
If you think if you don't give out candy, you'll be the neighborhood object of pranksters—fear not. Lisa Leake of the award-winning blog, 100daysofrealfood.com, offers suggestions to keep the tricksters and the parents happy. And Annsley Klehr of Gluten Freedoms says families with dietary restrictions don't have to feel left out.
"Kids expectations of Halloween is definitely candy and lots of it. But that doesn't mean that other things can't make them just as happy." That's Lisa Leake, she chronicles her family's journey to eat more healthfully in her successful blog, 100 days of real food.
So, with that expectation isn't it easier to say, 'it's one night out of the year?' "The problem is that it's not just one night. Whether it is a birthday party in my kid's class or some kind of celebration at school or someone brings donuts to soccer practice. You'll find candy and junk food almost everyday. So, I'm trying to reduce the amount just in general." So, Leake asked her blog followers to share solutions and not necessarily edible ones.
"The number one idea, I put at the top, because that's what I plan to hand out this year are glow sticks. You can get a tube of 15 glow sticks for a dollar and they light up and glow in the dark. I actually tested it out on some kids on our street the other night and they loved them." Others give bottles of water or juice, Halloween themed pencils and erasers, or even coins. The sweets will still rule that night, but Leake says you can have creative limits, "even if you don't hand out candy you're still going to wind up with lots of it. Some of the things you can do are donate candy to the troops or participate in a candy buy back program with a local dentist office. So, what happens is most dentists that participate in that program they actually give you something in exchange for your candy, whether it's money or toothbrushes or something like that. Then, they send the candy to the troops for you. I personally sent my candy directly to the troops last year and the shipping was kind of expensive. So, I think that would be a great way to not spend extra money and still do something good." Leake also extends a family buy-back program beyond this holiday, "Halloween is not the only time people are putting candy in my kid's faces. So, anytime they get candy they have the option to turn in it to me for a quarter."
As difficult as it this candy control is in general, imagine if your family has dietary restrictions. Annsley Klehr owns Gluten Freedoms and is a consultant on gluten intolerance. She has celiac disease and her toddler daughter is prone to develop it. Klehr's first thought was how to make her daughter feel as though their family wasn't different. "What I found is there is no normal. Some parents confiscate candy anyway, because there is too much candy and some kids have peanut allergies or a neighbor has a kid with cavities, and with the fillings she can't have chewy foods. So, everybody is sorting their candy anyway."
And as Klehr notes, there's more to the holiday than candy. "So we do a lot of build up of decorating, and the excitement, and the dress-up, and the creative parts of Halloween. We'll make pumpkin pie with our pumpkin, and we do all sorts of fun activities. I found one with apples that you can cut the apples in quarters and kind of make it look like a mouth and stick almonds in as teeth. So, that there are these fun snacks that I'm not ruining the spirit of it, it's just we have a different approach to it."
Happy Halloween from FIT!