Traci Paige Johnson, the creator of the new app Yummiloo Rainbow Power and the creator of the beloved series Blue’s Clues offers these suggestions for Halloween fun.
First off, contrary to popular belief, it is possible to enjoy Halloween candy in a way that won’t lead to a sugar overdose or an aching tummy. Try these tips:
- Ration – many parents embrace the candy by telling their kids to trade and eat as much of it as they can on Halloween night and then take it away in the next day or so – leading to unhealthy binge consumption. Instead make kids partner in rationing – make up daily baggies of the candy supply to take to school. Usually after a week or two they will tire of it and the remainder can then be disposed of.
- Cut up candy and freeze it for use when cooking. Sprinkle into whole grain or oatmeal cookie batter instead of chocolate chips. Sprinkle on frozen yogurt or hot oatmeal in place of sugar or syrup.
- When having your candy, balance it with a glass of milk or slice of fruit. This will help fill up your tummy and keep you from reaching for “just one more.”
If you really want to keep your child away from the sweet stuff, you still don’t have to toss the Halloween candy away. There are so many things kids can do with the candy besides eat it…
- Make a wrapped candy mosaic on a piece of recycled cardboard or poster board. Use Hershey’s kisses to make clouds, make houses out of Tootsie Rolls…the possibilities are endless. You can get especially creative with the wide variety of colored Peeps!
- Make a Halloween Haunted House with candy as you would do at the holidays with a gingerbread house. Simply coat an empty milk carton or other small box with frosting and stick on the candy! Alternately you can use frosting as glue and create candy monsters. Attach black licorice for antennae or spider legs, make a scary monster mouth with candy corn teeth!
- Introduce the Candy Fairy as the fun-loving cousin of the Tooth Fairy. Kids put their excess candy under their pillow at bedtime. The Candy Fairy then exchanges it for a new book, small toy, or gift certificate for special date with Mom or Dad.
- Have kids sort their candy into piles and then use the candy as game pieces to play classic games. Draw a tic-tac-toe board or get a checker board and use the pieces to play. An on-your-feet-option: Set your child’s candy pail on the floor and have everyone try to toss in pieces of candy. Give different candies different values (the smaller the candy the higher the points).
There are many other ways to enjoy a healthier Halloween. Even though it’s no longer acceptable to make your own healthy treats to give away at the door at Halloween, progressive retailers are coming to the rescue:
- Stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s offer supplies of fun and colorful healthful wrapped treats that can be given away in lieu of candy. These include: pretzels, organic lollipops, and granola bites.
- Small seed packets for indoor potting or packets of healthy drink mix are also great to give out at Halloween.
- Temporary tattoos, Halloween stickers, and party favors are a great alternative to give out in lieu of candy.
Get your kids involved and make your own Halloween snacks
- Make a Pumpkin Smoothie, Frankenstein Smoothie (kale and fruit), or Monster Mash (purple berry) and sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds on top for the “bloody teeth” touch.
- Make ghost pops by slicing a banana in half, sticking a popsicle stick in the wider half, covering in vanilla yogurt and using raisins for eyes and mouth.
- Peel a whole orange and stick a cut piece of celery in the top for a stem. Voila! You have a delicious juicy pumpkin to eat whole!
- Cut sweet potatoes up into long fang-like triangles (instead of the usual French fry shape) and bake, serve with ketchup “blood.”
- Toast up the pumpkin seeds you scoop out, roast in the oven, and sprinkle with salt or any spice.
And, finally, here are some other ideas for getting into the Halloween spirit
- Play pumpkin volleyball by blowing up orange balloons and drawing on Jack-o’-lantern faces with black markers – team who pops the pumpkin loses!
- Buy gourds at the supermarket and collect things outside to glue on, such as leaves, sticks and seeds, to make gourd creatures.
- Don’t forget the animals! Make treats for birds and squirrels by collecting pine cones, smear them with peanut butter, roll them in bird seed and hang from a bush or tree. On Halloween afternoon, leave a trail of nuts and seeds around your yard so the squirrels can go trick or treating!