Halloween – my least favorite holiday.
Sure it’s fun to dress up and go to the parties. And who doesn’t like a good haunted house now and then? But the biggest part of Halloween, at least for our impressionable children, seems to be centered around the candy. Lousy full-of-sugar candy. But you don’t have to eat or give out sugary candy.
The store aisles are lined with confection after confection. I can’t even stand walking by those aisles. It will never cease to amaze me that I can smell that stuff through the containers and plastic wrappers (I’m convinced the manufacturers somehow make this happen on purpose, just to torture me). My kids are teens now, and could care less about the trick or treating part of it all, but I remember all too well the piles of sugary temptations they used to bring home. If you have children, you also know that you’ll have to hide most of it, or that ceiling-high stack will be devoured within a couple of days, unless you like your kids bouncing off the walls like a super ball. I personally prefer my home intact and my kids healthy.
Instead of Giving Out Candy…
We can do very little about what other people give out on Halloween, but we can make a difference for other parents. Instead of that same old bowl of sugar-coma inducing junk food, consider giving out non-food prizes. It’s not terribly hard to find items that are fun, inexpensive, and will still be around long after the candy, and bellyaches, are long gone.
If you’re concerned about the rapidly rising obesity and disease rate in our children today, I urge you to consider this one small change in your holiday routine. Other parents may be happy to see non-candy treasures in their little Thor’s goodie bags and do the same themselves in the years to come!
Here’s a few ideas to find somewhat inexpensive, fun, and healthy treats for all those Peter Pans and Tinker Bells that show up at your door.
Kids love stickers, pencils, cool erasers, coloring books, cars, bubbles, etc. Just be sure to check that it’s safe for all age groups. If not, you might want to keep a special package of items back, like board books or rubber ducks, just for the toddlers that visit you.
Check online retailers such as Oriental Trading
Oriental Trading has a huge array of items, all reasonably priced. When our catalog arrives every month my kids used to spend a good hour looking through it and picking out stuff they’d like. Normally I wouldn’t have use for 12 light-up yo-yo’s or 50 glow in the dark pencils, but on Halloween those bulk deals really come in handy.
Give the gift of books
Books For Treats is an ingenious program that encourages parents to recycle their gently used children’s’ books by giving them out on Halloween.
“Since Halloween 2001, we’ve given up to 6500 books each year to excited, costumed Willow Glen trick-or-treaters. Now-former Mayor Ron Gonzales, now-former Councilman Ken Yeager, Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio joined us in greeting the kids and happy parents. We are supported by the Diabetes Association.”
How can you participate? The website gives us some ways to get involved.
- Gather gently read children’s books to give out in your neighborhood.
- Download our kit to help you sort your books by grade level.
- Volunteer to help (fill out the form on the left)
- Have your company become a sponsor
- Make a donation of any amount through paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate any funds, as they help us purchase used books, provide pr and ads to get the word out, and keep our web site up to date.
- Talk to your friends, co-workers and neighbors about participating in books for treats. Send them a link to this web site. Want to talk to someone about how you can help? Contact Rebecca Morgan, founder and executive director 408/998-7977 or email@example.com.
How about healthy snacks?
If you are determined to hand out food, look for snack packs of apples, oranges, carrots, etc. (these are usually sealed and thus more appealing to parents who are concerned about safety.) At least this will give mini superman something healthy to munch on while he saves the world.
Now I realize that some of you may live in high-traffic areas, and these options could be come expensive very quickly, so you’ll have to do what is best for your budget. But even if you purchased a few dollar store items and mixed them in the candy, you’d be encouraging less candy consumption. We need to teach our kids that doing something that’s good for you is a treat – candy is the real trickster.