The following is a guest post from Simple Kids editor Kara Fleck.
As the end of October approaches, so does the annual dilemma for families who choose to celebrate Halloween: how to find that happy medium that allows your kids to have fun and enjoy the day without an overindulgence in candy and sweets.
Here are a few ideas that I hope can help keep parents, kids, and dentists happy this Halloween.
The Sugar Plum Fairy
While Halloween is one of the few times a year we allow candy at our house, we don’t want our kids to go overboard with excessive consumption of it either. One great solution that limits the amount of candy, yet keeps the magic of the holiday, is a visit from the Sugar Plum Fairy.
When our little trick or treaters come home, we have the kids pick out a few pieces of candy to eat and the rest we leave out for the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Fairy comes during the night, takes our candy (she brings it back to Sugar Plum Land where they use candy to build their cottages) and leaves something fun, like a small toy or a craft kit, in exchange. I don’t think that a cool tooth brush would be totally inappropriate or ill-received as part of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s gifts either.
We leave it up to the kids if they would like to exchange their candy, but so far we haven’t had anyone decline a visit from the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Set a Limit on Time and Distance
Instead of spending a couple of hours going door to door accumulating candy you don’t want your child to have, set more reasonable time limit or only trick or treat on your block or side of the street. This gives your kids the fun of trick or treating and showing off their costumes, but keeps the actual amount of treats received to a minimum.
Change the Venue
Look for alternatives to the traditional door to door trick or treating. In our town the fire department hosts a Halloween party and we like to attend the local Zoo Boo each year. Yes, there will still be some candy, but not in the amounts that going door to door yields.
Shift the Focus
Make the candy less of a big deal and elevate the other traditions associated with the holiday. Focus on the costumes, dressing up, and acting silly. Make lots of crafts together and decorate your home with your creations. Carve pumpkins. Make a list of your favorite Halloween movies and shows and watch them together.
Consider Candy Alternatives
My kids love to trick or treat, but we also really enjoy staying at home and answering the door to the costumed characters who show up on our front porch. It can be difficult, I’ll admit, to come up with kid-pleasing “treats” that I feel good about handing out.
This year, when shopping for Halloween loot, I decided to bypass the $10 bags of mixed candy and walked over to the school supplies aisle instead, where I purchased crayons. Crayons are bright and colorful like candy and have kid appeal. If you have the time and resources, you can even make your own shaped crayons like Homemade by Jill.
If you don’t feel like you can eliminate ALL candy from your goodie basket without marking your home as a target for Halloween pranks, try going at least half non-candy. This year we’re handing out a mix of crayons and YummyEarth Organic Lollipops, which is a compromise that I think both parents and kids can feel good about.
What about you? How do you deal with this most sugary time of year? What do you suggest as an alternative to handing out candy to trick’or’treaters?