Halloween: The Organic Way

Source: Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers

Halloween is truly a kid’s holiday—good friends, creative costumes, fun-filled parties with spooky themes, and candy. Lots of sugary candy! Too many sugary treats in your kid's possession and the inevitable arguments that ensue over this treasured trove can be a parent’s worst food nightmare. This Halloween doesn’t have to be so scary. Upgrade your holiday to a healthier one with low-sugar alternatives, organic and fair trade goodies, or homemade treats.

The candy typically given out during Halloween is laden with the number-one ingredient contributing to childhood obesity: high-fructose corn syrup. Battle this nasty demon this Halloween by handing out lower-sugar alternatives such as the Bear Fruit Bar, Healthy Handfuls or Thompson Seedless Raisins Minipacks.

If you are not opposed to sugar, but like the “good stuff,” many organic and fair trade companies are offering minitreats made with their popular chocolates. Check out Endangered Species Chocolate Company's Milk Chocolate Bug-Bites that come with educational trading cards or individually wrapped Fair Trade, Organic Trick-or-Treat Chocolates that come in a festive bag or the Fair Trade Trick or Treat Kit, which includes Equal Exchange Fair Trade chocolate (42 pieces), a large Fair Trade is Boo-tiful poster, Festive Halloween postcards for handing out, Mexican party streamers, and a recycled trick-or-treat bag.

If chocolate isn’t your game, lollipops are always a hit. Try College Farm Organic Naturepops or Yummy Earth organic lollipops.

Finally, if you are having a Halloween party, this holiday offers the perfect excuse for a little creativity in the kitchen. Unless you are in a neighborhood with people you know well and/or friends, we don’t suggest this approach for trick-or-treat handouts as most parents have been trained to go through the Halloween candy and throw out unopened, unwrapped, or homemade treats and have advised their children to not eat such items. Cherry Moon Farms has a wonderful organic candied apple set that would be a blast for a small gathering. Using saved pumpkin meat, prepare a pumpkin pie (and, of course, don’t forget to toast the seeds!) and explain to the children where this marvelous treat came from. Also, prepare cupcakes ahead of time and save the decorating fun for the children.

Post–Halloween Rationing!
When your children arrive back at home, don’t let them take control over their bag or bucket of candy. Working with them, check the treats and keep only treats that are unopened. Be sure to inspect fruits and homemade goods for anything suspicious (see note above about homemade items from neighbors who you know and trust, though). While you are going through their candy, let them pick two or three treats that they can eat on this special night. Store the rest of the candy out of reach and out of sight.

Over the next few days or weeks, rationing the treats is the best approach. Allow your children to make their own selections, but tell them they can pick one large piece or two small pieces. If your children have trouble with this, do it for them in advance. Just place small amounts of candy in bags, and let them select one of the bags. If there is just too much candy, consider donating some of it to a shelter. It will bring smiles to others.

Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers are sisters, the mothers of five children, and founders of Fresh Baby, creators of products, such as homemade baby food kits, baby food cookbooks, baby food and breast milk storage trays, breastfeeding reminders, and child-development diaries. Visit them online at www.FreshBaby.com and subscribe to their Fresh Ideas newsletter to get monthly ideas, tips, and activities for developing healthy eating habits for your family.