Even before October 31 arrives, candy is everywhere. At festivals, hayrides, pumpkin patches, parties—fall activities (especially those for kids) are full of sweets. Kids consume up to 7,000 calories on Halloween day alone. But as childhood obesity rates continue to rise across the country, it’s important for children to have balanced diets, even on Halloween.
One-third of all new cancer diagnoses are due to a poor diet, and unhealthy habits start young. To reduce the mountains of candy kids will take home this year, try giving trick-or-treaters something other than candy. Since there’s nothing kids hate more than getting fruit, nuts or toothpaste on Halloween in lieu of a sweet treat, here’s a list of giveaways you can hand out to help reduce the amount of sugar and fats kids are consuming while not being the lame house on the block. This year, try some of these fun alternatives, and we promise the neighborhood won’t hate you!
Glow sticks or mini flashlights: Walking around in the dark can be dangerous, even with parental supervision. Help kids walk safely from house to house with mini flashlights and glow sticks. They are fun to wear and play with, and they help alert drivers.
Small toys: Kids have a blast playing with bubbles and Play-doh. These are fun, mess-free gifts that will entertain kids throughout the night.
Useful giveaways: You can find cheap pencils, erasers or mini notebooks at your local dollar store. They’ll cost you the same amount of money as candy and kids can get good use out of these items long after Halloween.
Halloween-themed fun: Try passing out cheap Halloween-themed jewelry (like spider rings), temporary tattoos, hair clips or stickers. These small, fun gifts will excite children as much as a candy bar.
Another tip? Serve your kids a well-balanced and protein-rich meal before they go trick-or-treating. This will keep them full longer and prevent candy snacking along their trip.
Halloween is one of the best days of the year. Kids can still have a great time and enjoy moderate amounts of candy, but other parents will appreciate the break from sugar with a fun, non-candy treat. For more healthy eating tips and recipe ideas, visit preventcancer.org.