Goblins, ghosts, and ghouls, oh my!
Tonight the streets fill with little superheroes, mini-monsters, and petite princesses. But how can you ensure an evening of trick-or-treating doesn’t take a toll on your child’s health without becoming the Halloween Grinch?
These Halloween tips from the FDA can help you and your children stay safe and healthy when they go out:
- Make sure children are accompanied by an adult and stick to the sidewalk.
- Send children out on a full stomach so they won’t feel tempted to sneak candy.Discourage children from snacking until they get home.
- Once they get home, remove any choking hazards for small children.
- Teach older children to how to sort their candy by discarding anything that isn’t properly wrapped (including homemade treats).
- Examine all candy for any signs of tampering.
(And if you’re expecting tykes to come trick-or-treating to your house, make sure to keep the walkways and stairs clear and lit. Place candles and lit carved pumpkins out of reach and away from anything flammable.)
After you’ve sorted and thrown away suspicious candy, now comes the hard part. Taking the candy away. First, look at Halloween as a good opportunity to teach children about moderating and controlling their own diet. Make sure they understand why they need to limit the amount of candy they eat. In this recent New York Times editorial, a mother describes her struggle with teaching her kids about moderation, especially since they have a genetic predisposition for diabetes.
Like this mom, parents may find some help in the Sugar Sprite (cousin to the Tooth Fairy). A fanciful magical creature, the Sugar Sprite visits children on Halloween night, and then leaves money or toys in exchange for candy under pillows. The candy can then be put to better use through programs such as Operation Shoebox, which sends care packages to troops overseas. You can also drop off candy with workers at shelters or charities as a thank-you treat.
Other ways to limit Halloween candy binging include saving the candy for a later date by freezing the chocolate and storing other candies in airtight containers. Crumbled chocolate bars can be used in baked goods instead of chocolate chips. And you can also use the saved candy a few weeks down the road when it comes time to make Christmas decorations such as tree ornaments or gingerbread houses.