I always approach the end of October with a bit of trepidation. Maybe there’s still some lingering memory of being scared out of my wits walking through a haunted house, or my permanent terror over the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. Of course, add to that my fear and loathing of all the sugar, food coloring and preservatives that will be dumped into my children’s bags as they hold them open in gleeful, eager anticipation of the great bounty they will amass by the end of the evening. When they were very young, we let them trick or treat at five home. Now that they’re older and can count, we end up having to take them to at least twice as many homes.
My strategy for minimizing their sugar intake has always been to allow them to each eat two pieces of candy the night of Halloween. Then one a day until the supply is gone. Of course, their supplies mysteriously disappear within a couple of days, and until last year, no one seemed the wiser.
As bad as sugar is, I hate to be the one to rain on their parade. I know how much kids look forward to this time of year. (Alas, the dressing up is only half of it.) How can parents make this occasion more than a series of giant insulin spikes and a week of suppressed immune systems?
Consider offering more natural and wholesome treats to the little skeletons, vampires and princesses that show up on your doorstep this coming week. It will set an example for other parents, and you can swap out some of what’s in your kids’ bags when convenient. All natural fruit “gummies,” natural mini-chocolate bars, animal-shaped graham crackers and crispy rice bars are excellent choices for super heroes and ladybugs alike. They taste great and don’t contain chemical preservatives, food coloring and other nasties. My choices for this year include Endangered Species All-Natural Milk Chocolate Treats, EnviroKidz Organic Crispy Rice Bars, Annie’s Halloween Bunny Grahams (honey and chocolate mix) and Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks (in assorted flavors). All of the above items are available at most Whole Foods Markets or on-line.