Not only do my kids both have Halloween festivals at their school, but our community has a zillion candy-oriented festivals and get togethers. We had our son exclusively on an artificial dye-free diet for a few years, but lately we’ve been slacking a little bit on it. Partly because as he is getting older I don’t see as big of a difference when he does have it and partly because it’s just easier.
But easier doesn’t always mean better! So we are making a point to go back to no artificial dyes – it really is healthier! EW – the stuff I learned about food dyes just from the FDA website when I did my research – it’s enough to churn your stomach! But why oh why did we decided this right at Halloween!! 🙂
While trick or treating I usually have a bag or pocketful of some of the below items to “swap” out of my kids candy baskets. It takes a little bit of pre-planning but my sanity is saved because my kids do not have sugar overload, and I know it is healthier which makes me feel better about it! For the sake of teachers the day after Halloween I really wish more parents would go to a healthier route for trick or treating!! Here are a few ideas that we have done in years past to help tone down the candy consumption for our kids – specifically on Halloween night.
Have snacks like mini bags of pretzels, goldfish, or other snacks on hand. Even rice krispy treats have less sugar than a pile of candy does!! Plus it fills them up a little more (I hope!) than candy. Even those little packs of Handi-snacks make a better choice than candy. Or popcorn balls!
Small toys like balls, spider rings, temp tattoos, and other goodies put a smile on kids faces. They even have little containers of Play-doh out too! And bubbles!
Dye free candy we love: all Yummy Earth products (lollipops, gummy worms, gummy bears), Surf Sweets (jelly beans, gummy bears, gummy worms), Stretch Island Fruit Leathers, Florida’s Naturals Fruit Nuggets, Target brand fruit leathers too! You can find these and more at Toys R Us, Walmart, Target, Sweetbay, Publix, etc.
Slice up some homemade caramel apples! Throw a baggie of it in their buckets for a quick sweet snack. Boxes of raisins do well. And cereal bars! Even sugar free gum!!
Halloween stickers and pencils make for nice goodies too. Vampire teeth.
You really can get creative not only in what you pass out for Halloween but what you sneak into your kids buckets as well!! My kids know that they will be able to have some treats in their buckets but that mommy has the final say. I have found that as long as they have something – anything – they don’t really care what it is!! My son will happily hand over many of the candies in exchange for other candies that I provide!
For my youngest son Halloween is a bit of a nightmare because of his food allergies. He can have Smarties but everything else is just easier for me to swap out of his bucket. I pre-plan my Halloween month by slowly purchasing fruit leathers and dye free goodies and hiding them in my closet until it’s time to go trick or treating! A lot of their candy from their buckets either goes out on my front porch!