Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloween Tips - revisited

Here's a reprint of a blog post that I did 5 years ago from a previous blog that I started back then, plus some additional tips from this year:

Options for Halloween Candy
Are you doing something different this year, instead of giving out candy for Halloweeen trick or treaters?

We're trying to keep a low-sugar household (ideally I'd like it to be a candy-free house, but it's been very, very difficult with outside influences. We're trying though, everyday!) I'm not doing it for any medical reasons (at least not that we're aware of right now!), it's just so that we can try to prevent future problems caused by sugar such as cavities, overweight, diabetes, etc. I had bad memories of getting cavities filled when I was in kindergarten and don't want my kids going through that. I've learned from a dietician that excess sugar can eventually lead to extra weight, loss of energy, etc.

Up to last year, we always gave out candy for Halloween trick or treaters. I had two unopened bags left last year, that ended up getting thrown away because I couldn't find anyplace to donate them to (every place I called was already overloaded with candy left from Halloween). (note from Eva 2010: check with local dentists and organizations who may be accepting donated candy to send to troops)

This year (2005), I decided NO to giving out candy. I found some kid friendly treats from Market Day (, which is a fundraising food company that I order from every month, to help support a local school. This is what I purchased to give out:

  • Small packs of goldfish crackers with special halloween packaging,
  • Individually wrapped pumpkin shaped cookies.

I also found in the supermarket, small packs of halloween-themed pretzels (bats, pumpkins, etc), which my kids loved last year (at their grandparent's house).

Also, I'll be giving out to our visiting trick or treaters a "free class" pass from the karate school that my son attends, so that we can promote fitness instead of candy, and also give some free publicity for the karate school too.

What have you done in the past (or will be doing for this year) for your neighborhood trick or treaters? Maybe it's too late for this year, but what can you think of for next Halloween that would make a difference for the children? Please share your thoughts in Comments. (from Oct. 31, 2005)

I'd like to add some additional Halloween tips and ideas from this year 2010 as well:

1. I collected unopened kids' meals toys throughout the year (I know, I know -- fast food is not the healthiest of options, but sometimes I purchase it for myself as a quick lunch option because it's less expensive, with smaller portions, compared to the regular value meals, plus I get the toy as a bonus, all for under $4). I mix in the toys for the trick or treaters to choose from.

2. Buy treats that your family doesn't like -- less likely to sneak a snack from the stash! (I have to admit though that this year, I did buy candy to mix in, along with the non-candy items mentioned in this post).

3. We purchased small bags of chips and pretzels to hand out.

4. We opened packs of those shaped, colorful rubber wrist bands and sprinkled them in with the other treats in the basket for the kids to pick from. Those went fast! The little kids spotted them and picked them out first.

5. Try to encourage your kids to choose a long-sleeved costume, with room for layers underneath. Kids don't like to wear coats or sweaters over their costumes; they want it to be seen while trick or treating, but sometimes, the weather can get pretty chilly. At least with layers, they'll be warmer.

6. Prepare for bag malfunctions. --had it happen to us, seen it happen this year, where the plastic bag handle breaks or a full bag splits open, spilling all the goodies all over the street. Here are some tips:
  • Use a stronger tote bag (we purchased a plain, orange fabric one at the craft store, on sale for 99 cents, and used fabric markers to personalize it).
  • Double bag it
  • Pack a back-up bag to take with them.
  • I carry a separate tote bag with me (containing an extra kid sweater too) when I accompany the kids, so they can empty their sack halfway through and continue trick or treating without it getting too heavy or breaking the bag.
7. Other handy things to remember to bring with you trick or treating:
  • Tissues
  • Camera w/fresh batteries
  • Small flashlight
  • Cell phone
  • Keys
8. If you go trick or treating before dinner, plan in advance what you'll do for dinner. It's a good day to use the slow cooker/crockpot if you have one, or plan take-out in advance and call ahead, or have someone start dinner at home before you get home if possible. I made the mistake of not remembering to go to the supermarket before trick or treating, and not having dinner plans prepared in advance for when we came home, which made for some pretty sugared-up kids, plus a belly ache thrown in there for good measure.

9. We adopted this idea after seeing it done by other neighbors: if you don't want to be disturbed when the trick or treaters come knocking at your door (e.g. when you are eating or resting), or if you'll be out with your own kids around the neighborhood doing your own trick or treating, or at work, etc., but you'd still like to offer the little visitors the treats that you bought, you can put out a bowl of treats on your steps and let the kids help themselves. My experience is that the kids will go by the honor system and take only one or two treats; I haven't seen the whole contents of a bowl disappear. I made this sign just for the occasion, slipped it inside a plastic sheet protector, and propped it next to the bowl.

What other tips or suggestions do you have for Halloween while it's still fresh in your mind? Feel free to post a comment or send me an email: cservice {at} sort-things-out {dot} com.

Til next time...

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