Halloween can be a pretty scary time, especially if you have kids at home. It has nothing to do with terrifying clown masks, fake blood, or even the thorny question of how-old-is-too-old to trick-or-treat.
Nope. It’s that Sugar Season is here once again.
It’s easy to joke about, whether it’s stealing sweets from your kids’ candy stash in October, too much pie in November, or the December overload, where nearly every day is filled with cookies or kugel or cocoa with marshmallows.
But the more you learn about sugar and its addictive qualities, its harmful effects on our overall health, and the challenges of sugar withdrawal, the more caution you want to exercise. This is especially true when it comes to a holiday like Halloween, where the focus is strongly on sugar, a focus that’s not helped by over-the-top marketing efforts targeted at our most vulnerable consumers – kids.
Nowadays, plenty of folks are rethinking Halloween for lots of different reasons. For some, food allergies pose too much anxiety when it comes to trick-or-treating, however aware children are of their dietary do’s and don’ts. Other health challenges include rising rates of diabetes in youth as well as childhood obesity, with numbers that have nearly tripled since the 1970s.
The question is, how to dial back on sugar but still have fun, especially on Halloween?
It may be simpler than you realize.
While many households now hand out “treats” that have nothing to do with sugar, other families have cut back or opted out of trick-or-treating altogether, thanks to so many other fun choices.
Instead of trolling neighborhoods for candy, load the family in the car and head for a pumpkin patch or tour through neighborhoods lit up and decked out for Halloween. Or take the kids to a “trunk-or-treat” celebration, where local businesses and organizations get together and decorate cars, stage games, set up a haunted house, and have a parade or costume contest. Sure, there’s bound to be candy there, too, but it’s a whole lot easier to manage when there’s a time limit plus plenty of other fun distractions for the whole family.
Another option is a Halloween house-party. Invite your weekly playgroup over or tell the teens that Halloween Central is in your family room this year. Challenge guests to bring their healthiest and most Pinterest-worthy snacks, put out some simple crafts or games, pop in a Halloween-themed movie, then sit back and take Instagram-worthy pics of all the great costumes.
No worries about kids wearing black and walking the dark roads at night. No tears over that lost light saber or magic wand that mysteriously disappeared somewhere in the neighborhood. No huge pillowcase of cavity-causing candy coming home that will tempt the whole household for weeks to come.
For one last sugar-free treat on Halloween, here are a few jokes you can share in the good old St. Louis tradition. And if jokes really aren’t your thing, then you’ll have to think of this as one last sugar-free trick . . .
Q: What did the vampire say after his dental appointment? A: Fangs very much!
Q: Why does a vampire brush her fangs twice a day and clean in-between at least once? A: To prevent bat breath!
Q: Why did the witch drive to her dentist appointment? A: Her broom was in the shop.
Here’s to a Happy & Healthy Halloween!