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Pass out these treats to turn Halloween green

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As Halloween becomes more commercialized, families across the country are making their Halloween more healthy and green through costume swaps, home parties, and donating their treats to soldiers. But what if you are on the giving end and want to pass out more sustainable and healthy treats? There is no need to turn off the porch light, just think of some alternative ideas that are reusable, useful, or healthier choices for the kids and the planet.

Break from the Traditional Halloween

Candy has long been the traditional treat passed out during the holiday season. But with the increased concerns of childhood obesity, dental health, and piles of candy wrappers heading to the landfills – candy may not be the best of treats anymore! There are other alternatives to candy that involve healthier food or reusable items. These ideas will work differently with different budgets and in different neighborhoods. For example apples are more accepted by parents and considered safe to eat if the kids know you. Below are a few ideas to get you started on passing out ‘greener’ treats this Halloween.

Alternative Halloween Treats

Greener treats list:

  • Locally grown apples are delicious at this time of year. Get festive and fill a basket full of a variety of apples and have kids choose their favorite flavor.
  • Lip glosses or balms are a great choice as cooler weather is near and little lips stand a chance at needing extra moisture. Balms appeal to both boys and girls if they are in neutral flavor such as vanilla or coconut. Some companies even sell organic brands of lip balms.
  • What kid doesn’t like money? Head to the bank and ask for shiny new coins to distribute. Children love the sound of coins sliding into their piggy banks.
  • Cool looking band-aids! Children always have ‘boo-boos’ and love fun decorated band-aids to cover them up with.
  • School supplies such as pencils, erasers, small sticky notes, and glue sticks are an excellent alternative. Many times pencils and erasers can even be found in Halloween themes and can be purchased in bulk.
  • Silly shaped bracelets have become a huge fad and many makers claim there bracelets are eco-friendly and made from recycled silicone. Also, they were originally designed so that people would reuse rubber bands instead of tossing them out.
  • Try giving out seashells or brightly colored polished stones. Kids will love adding these to their collections or will proudly display them on their dresser.
  • Granola bars can be a healthy treat especially if you make them yourself or purchase them from a local health food store. Brands such as Kashi or Nature Valley are made with all natural ingredients if your only able to purchase from the supermarket.
  • Packets of organic hot cocoa are a great treat after a cool night of trick-or-treating. Buy it on-line or from your favorite food co-op.
  • Toothbrushes? Why not! With all the candy the kids may be eating parents just might appreciate a new incentive to keep the kids pearly whites clean.
  • If you must insist on passing out candy try locally made chocolates. Many mid- to large- size cities have their own chocolate shops. Or for another alternative try organic chocolate or lollipops from a health food store.

Healthy Halloween Treats for Children and Tweens

Halloween marks the start of the candy season. This is the time each year when “consumers are bombarded with candies and treats that overflow store shelves tempting adults and children alike with sweet, fat and high calorie confections and other treats.” The season runs from October starting with Halloween and runs until April or May, ending with Easter.

The candy season can make it difficult for health conscious parents to limit the amount of candy given to their children by well-meaning family, friends, teachers and other parents.

Managing the Mixed Messages at Halloween

Halloween sends a mixed message to children; since it is the one day that children are encouraged to eat candy and parents are encourage to pass out candy. One key to resolving these conflicting messages is to encourage children to eat their Halloween treats in moderation and to focus on eating foods that fall in the healthier range of the food spectrum.

Healthier Halloween Options

Fortunately with more parents and teachers being aware of the need to promote health and wellness in children, Halloween treats are turning into healthier options. Finding alternative healthy and nutritious treats for these occasions can be challenging but not impossible. With a bit of imagination you can make the healthier treats fun for children.

Here is a list of suggestions of healthy Halloween food treats or alternatives to Halloween candy. Some of these Halloween treats can be passed out to Trick or Treaters, some used as healthier Halloween treats for school parties.

13 Healthier Halloween Food Treats

  • Trail Mix – Mix together several different nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds raisins, craisins and package them as “Goblin Food.”
  • Popcorn – Microwavable bags to pop later or bagged inside of skeleton gloves.
  • Apples – Apples can be especially fun if part of bobbing for apples or cut up and served with a caramel dip.
  • Sugar-free gum – Another good option especially if the brand has been approved by the American Dental Association.
  • Pretzels – Individual bags of pretzels.
  • Juice Boxes – 100% Fruit Juice.
  • Fruit leather or Fruit roll ups – 100% Fruit only.
  • Raisins, Craisins- Raisins are a healthy options. Craisin have additional sugar added, so are a healthier option.
  • Hot Chocolate Mixes – Some of these come with additional Calcium so are a healthier option.
  • Nuts or Seeds – Individual packages of peanuts or sunflower seeds.
  • Fruit – Fruit is a great option for class parties. Fruit can also be passed out to trick or treaters as pre-packaged containers of natural apple sauce or pre-packages fruit in natural juices e.g. pineapple or low syrup juices.
  • Cheese and Crackers or Peanut Butter and Crackers – Look for options that are low in trans fats and hydrogenated fats.
  • 100 Calorie Packs – There are a wide variety of pre-packaged 100 calorie items from which parents can pick. The benefit of these pre-packaged items is that it prevents children (and parents) from over indulging on an item.

Selecting Health and Eco-Friendly Halloween Treats

Unfortunately, the need to have many Halloween treats pre-packaged makes it difficult to be as eco-friendly as parents might like to be. When selecting healthy and eco-friendly Halloween treats try and pick those treats with the least amount of additional packaging or see if you can repackage larger bulk amounts into snack-sized bags.

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