Halloween can be a little tricky with the rise of childhood obesity, diabetes and food allergies. We want our kids to be able to participate, but we’re also worried about health, safety, and the effects of our actions on the environment.
With a few adjustments, a Halloween with organic and allergen-free and/or gluten-free treats can be fun without being stressful.
A Halloween Party
Instead of trick-or-treating, offer to host a Halloween party. Turn your garage into a Haunted House, play Halloween-themed games, and serve a variety of organic and safe treats.
Some foods appropriate for a Halloween party are surprisingly sweet and otherwise satisfying. A nice variety of these treats could include:
- a Chex-style snack mix made with organic or gluten-free ingredients
- Caramel apples
- Caramel corn
- A “boneyard” of barbecue chicken wings
- Brightly colored vegetables with spooky names, like grape tomatoes disguised as “eyeballs”
If you’re like me, then you enjoy a variety of candy treats during this time of year. Fortunately, there are plenty of choices for the earth-conscious consumer. Companies that produce organic, vegan, kosher and gluten-free candy include Annie’s, Pure Fun, Yummy Earth and the Natural Candy Store. If you have a specialty store near you (think Trader Joe’s), stop by and see what’s available locally. Otherwise, these “green” treats can be purchased online.
There are many kinds of mainstream candy that while they aren’t organic, they are gluten-free and allergen-free. Many of these include fruit-flavored candies, like different varieties of Smarties, gummy candy like Swedish Fish and Gummi Bears, hard candy like Jolly Ranchers and suckers, and Jelly Bellies. However, always double-check using the packaging provided as well as contacting the companies producing the candy to make sure they are truly safe for kids with allergies to consume.
Trading With the Treaters
If your child is allergic to certain treats, it’s vitally important that he/she doesn’t consume any of them. This can be tough when kids are getting so many different kinds of candy while trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.
Make a deal with your kids to help keep them safe. My kids know that my husband or I must inspect their candy before they eat it, but that doesn’t mean we have to be at home. If one of our kids wants to eat a piece while trick-or-treating, we take a few moments to make sure it’s safe to eat.
Another deal that could be made with kids is to agree that no candy is eaten until you all arrive at home. Then you can trade unknown or unsafe pieces for a stash of organic treats that you’ve bought ahead of time.
Avoid Candy Altogether
It might be wise for your children to simply avoid candy during this one night of the year. It might be that the risk of allergic reaction is too great, or that trick-or-treating doesn’t fit into your value system.
However, if you want to avoid candy but still participate in trick-or-treating, fill your treat bucket with a variety of small, inexpensive toys to hand out to kids who come to your door. You could also trade these items for any unsafe candy your child might collect as well.
This bucket of special treats could include stickers, pencils, temporary tattoos, fun erasers, glow necklaces or bracelets, coins, false teeth, and superballs (to name a few). This will allow everyone to have fun and be safe at the same time!
Kelly Wilson is a busy mom and an editor with Teaching Resource Center, a Teacher Store providing families and classrooms with low-cost, high-quality Teacher Supplies.
We heavily weed out the candy sending most to Daddy’s office. Her halloween bag is placed on the dining room table and the Halloween Witch comes to replace the bag with a toy. Pretty sweet deal, huh? (pun intended) Thanks for the tips on candy that is safe to hand out as well.