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Instilling Halloween safety and traditions

  • Published
  • By Kathy Steinbrecher
  • 375th Aerospace Medicine Squadron

Halloween typically brings thoughts of scary things.  For parents, that may include excess Halloween candies.  Consider starting a tradition which incorporates more healthful treats than candies.  A Halloween cookie or cupcake event in your own kitchen can be a fun way to get the family together.  This is also a good time to teach your children some cooking skills.  Other ideas for Halloween treats, which you can prepare with your children, are Halloween cookies, caramel apples, popcorn balls, or even a cauldron of hot chocolate or warm apple cider. Now we’re talking fruits and whole grains!

If the family decides that “trick-or-treating” can’t be passed up, parents and kids should agree ahead of time on how much and when candy can be eaten. As with any treat, candy can be a part of children’s healthful eating plans in moderation.  Actually, trick or treating can end up being quite a workout.  Think about it. Walking from house to house, going up flights of steps, and carrying the weight of bags of candy and costumes can really break a sweat! So in the big picture, running around the neighborhood can burn more calories than the candy allowed that evening.  It’s all about balancing the big scale, so go for it!

When venturing out on Halloween to trick-or-treat, keep some things in mind for the kiddos. Safety is first and foremost.  Have them wear reflective gear or have a flashlight or glow stick in hand. Think about comfortable tennis shoes and socks for you and the kids as well. As we mentioned earlier, there will be a lot of walking involved! Make sure to bring water along to stay hydrated too.

As parents, we might be overwhelmed or surprised by the amount of candy they pour out of their bags. To avoid over-consumption, talk to your children about sharing the leftover candy with others.  Package it and send it overseas to our service members.  Make treat bags and have the children visit local long-term care facility. If you just can’t let go of those sweets, freeze them for later use.  Add them to milkshakes, sundaes, ice cream, and plain cookie dough.  Add a mini-candy bar to your smoothie with yogurt, milk, and fruit of your choice.

With Halloween right around the corner, we encourage your family to create new Halloween traditions which incorporate more healthful choices. On behalf of the Health Promotion Flight 375th Medical Group, have a safe, healthy, and happy Halloween!