Halloween Treats And Alternatives

Trick-or-treating is done for the year, kids have collected their bags of loot, and parents everywhere are plotting to lighten those loads of treats. Halloween treats can put big smiles on the faces of children and give parents nightmares. Parents these days worry less about the random psychotic person putting poison or razors in the candy than they do about the sheer amount of sugar their child will be consuming over the next few weeks.

Epidemics of obesity, attention deficit disorders, and food allergies have made parents much more conscious of what their children are consuming on a day to day basis. Some studies have shown that some food substances, like sugar, can actually be addictive and habit forming. Any parent who has been chased through the house by a child begging, cajoling, or bargaining for just “one more” Halloween treat would probably find that conclusion to be a no-brainer. More and more events are being celebrated with food, mostly sweet treats, but none of them approach the sheer volume of Halloween. The treats collected from Halloween can fill entire pillow cases, and if doled out judiciously, can last until nearly Easter. Unfortunately, judicious distribution of Halloween treats is extremely difficult. Halloween treats constitute a draw that is almost impossible to disregard.

kid and candy cropped

There are many creative options now available for parents who are looking to find ways to part their children from some of the treats they’ve collected on Halloween. The Switch Witch is a popular option. The Switch Witch comes in the days following Halloween and trades treats for a desired toy or other gift. Some dentists offer to trade Halloween treats for dental care accouterments such as toothbrushes and toothpaste. Other dentists are taking donations of the treats to send to military personnel deployed overseas. The whole gist is to lessen the amount of candy children have at their disposal. There’s another movement that is gaining ground that can reduce the amount of treats kids are bringing home on Halloween.

A Teal Pumpkin Project pumpkin
A Teal Pumpkin Project pumpkin

The Teal Pumpkin Project is a new tradition that was started by the Food Allergy Research and Education foundation. With roughly one in 13 kids suffering from life threatening food allergies to what are collectively known as the top eight (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, shellfish, fish and wheat), this is a way for these children to participate in the fun of Trick-Or-Treating without being at risk for a life threatening allergic reaction.

This movement can benefit so many more than just those that suffer from allergies. Juvenile diabetes is increasing in prevalence, along with children who don’t tolerate food dyes, or have gluten intolerances. The list of children who can’t have candy grows ever longer. Add to that the parents who are just tired of fighting to keep the sugary Halloween treats to a minimum, and you have a great second option. It doesn’t have to be bad options. In days past, the only alternatives to candy were fruit or pencils, and kids weren’t all that interested. Now, an abundance of inexpensive and attractive options exist. Glow stick bracelets, stickers, rainbow bands, trading cards, the options are endless. Food alternatives don’t detract from the fun of Halloween. They can actually enhance the experience for kids who aren’t able to indulge in typical Halloween treats, or for those who will wind up trading half their treats for something else anyway.

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