Being a Certified Nutritionist I cringe a little when halloween season comes around. I love all the costumes, the halloween parties, carving pumpkins, and of course the fun of trick-or-treating! However, the candy part of halloween really gets me down. The reason is that consuming too much sugar can suppress our kids immune systems by reducing their white blood cells ability to kill germs by approximately 40%. Not only that, but the sugar starts having an impact on the immune system less than 30 minutes after consumption and can last for up to 5 hours. If our kids are snacking on halloween candy for the weeks leading up to halloween, as well as the weeks after halloween, how are their immune systems supposed to keep up? At a time of year when it’s common for kids to get sick, we need to be doing everything we can to support their immune systems.
All that being said, what does this mean for halloween and trick-or-treating? Well, I have good news!! There are alternatives to giving out sugar filled candy this halloween.
Here are some ideas that we have done in our house:
- Play-doe (you can buy halloween sized containers at Costco!)
- Glow sticks and glow bracelets
- Stickers (I usually buy a big book of halloween themed stickers at the dollar store and cut the sheets into strips)
- Pencils, crayons, pencil crayons, markers, etc. (Dollarama carries halloween themed pencils)
- Bead necklaces
- Slap bracelets (my son recently got one of these at a basketball game and LOVED it!)
- Mini Notepads (great to go along with the pencils)
- Miniature instruments (I recently saw a large bag of these for sale at Party City. They are for party grab bags but could also be great for trick-or-treaters!)
Tip: To save money you can purchase most of these items at the dollar store and I find that the cost overall is comparable to giving out candy.
If you live in a small community where you know all the neighbourhood kids you could give out clementines, apples, or even bags of home popped popcorn! I’ve even heard of moms making homemade fruit leather to give out!! Such a great idea!
Growing up my dad was a dentist and he used to give out toothbrushes and dental floss. Haha. You can imagine how excited the neighbourhood kids were to stop at our house!
The first year that I gave out stuff other than candy I was a little nervous. I thought maybe the kids would be disappointed or that the older kids might egg my house when I wasn’t looking. Luckily kids are awesome! They were so excited to choose from our bowl of goodies and even the older kids got a kick out of the glow sticks.
Do you have any other great ideas for things you could give out at halloween that don’t contain sugar?! Let me know by leaving a comment below.