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Making the holidays NOT about candy

By Mary Harper

Still finding candy wrappers in your child’s bed and dreading the next dental visit? Here are some “lessons learned” from some real-life moms that will make next year’s Halloween fun and (mostly) sugar free.

Healthy Halloween
It’s was that time again… pumpkin patches, changing leaves, brisk walks in the crisp fall air, and before you know it – Halloween. As the big night approaches, your six-year-old is in the garage looking for the wheel barrel to haul all the candy he plans to collect. Meanwhile, you, the health conscious mom, are pondering the compost pile in the back yard as the best burial place for all the sugary poison your child will collect. You don’t want to be the Grinch who stole Halloween, but the Goblin of Guilt is haunting you with visions of your child’s mouth resembling the toothless pumpkin you just carved. Relax. Before you give up the ghost and throw in the towel for a healthy Halloween, consider some ideas that a couple of moms stumbled on.

Fredrica and Mary met via the daycare their kids attended. Fredrica’s little blond, Bella, was changing her golden locks to a florescent orange, making her debut as “Pippy Longstockings” for Halloween, and needed an escort. Mary’s four-year-old, David, was very excited to be invited to trick or treat with Bella’s family for the first time. He told his mom how he couldn’t wait to get “tons of candy.” His mom was not a fanatic about withholding sweets from her child, but generally avoided sugar. Already she was thinking of hiding places in the house for the inventory coming home. She also wondered how it would go, knowing that Fredrica, Bella’s mom, was a vegan and made healthy eating a top priority for the family. Despite no master plan in advance, by the end of the evening, both moms were high-fiving each other and winking behind their kids’ backs – they’d pulled off the perfect Healthy Halloween heist! Here are strategies they surprised even themselves with – maybe you can store some of these tricks in your bag for next year:

  1. 1)  Start early in the evening. Gather the kids in their costumes for a “tail gate” party before they start trick or treating. Fredrica served some pumpkin sandwiches .  Kids are filled up and feeling satisfied with some healthy fuel before conquering the neighborhood. Hint: pumpkin based foods go with the ambience.
  2. 2)  Grab your favorite recyclable bags and hand them to the kids, telling them that they are collecting candies for the Halloween fairy tonight.
  3. 3)  Have a ball running around meeting neighbors you haven’t spoken to all year. Tip: don’t visit the dentist’s house if he’s like one pediatric dentist who passed out tooth brushes. Dawn would reveal the “treats” strewn all over his lawn. It is possible to take the health crusade too far!
  4. 4)  After a great time canvassing the neighborhood, haul that 5 lb. bag of candy back to home base for the finale. This is when Fredrica sat the trick-or-treaters down for an evening treat – cut up apples. The kids loved it and were not only filled up and satisfied,but also distracted from the boat load of candy sitting on the chair. Next, mom had a

brilliant idea to share…

  1. 5)  Include the Halloween Fairy. Fredrica told the kids, “Hey, remember you collected allthis candy for the Halloween Fairy. If you give your candy away, she will bring you a special present tomorrow.” (Make sure you follow through, Mom!). The kids were excited, jumping up and down at the proposal. Fredrica added, “You can have one candy tonight, then pick one out for tomorrow.” To Mary’s amazement, the kids went with the program. Meanwhile, Fredrica was dishing out her delicious spicy pumpkin soup for the adults while they watched the football game on t.v.
  2. 6)  With trick or treaters continuing to come to the door and the candy supply running low, the moms had another epiphany. “Hey kids, can you help us out and give your candy to the kids coming to the door?” Pippy and her partner in crime sat in the doorway for the next hour and had the time of their lives greeting the stream of costumed children and giving away their bag of loot. Mom and dad stood behind snapping pictures for proof, jaws dropping that this really was working. Bella and David giggled with delight as they shoved handfuls of snickers and other treats into visitors’ bags. Mary had to confess she was a tad disappointed at seeing all that great chocolate go out the door with none left to pilfer, but quickly got over it. All agreed the kids had the most fun they’d seen yet on Halloween (minus the sugar high grumpies).

Okay, granted these strategies may be more applicable to younger kids than older, but start these traditions if you do have young children and hopefully they will stick. For older kids, give it a try with a variation on the theme — like exchanging half the bag for a ticket to a sports event or movie. If nothing else, it may reduce the amount of sugary treats they inhale. One woman said that when she was a kid, they were allowed to keep a few candies but took the rest down to a nearby church where they got distributed to needy kids in town. Whatever the approach, the idea is to focus on the fun of collecting and then on the joy of giving rather than total consumption. You’ll avoid the aftermath of sore tummies and disappointing visits to the dentist down the line. So, Moms, put on your good witch hats and have a healthy Halloween next time around!

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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One comment

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