Halloween has long been my favorite holiday. :) That really says a lot, considering I was BORN on another pig-out fall holiday (Thanksgiving). I guess I love the encouragement to dress up, be whoever you want, and get kiiiiinda spooky with friends! It’s just some good old fashion fun. Right?
Now that I’m grown up… I still freaking love Halloween! I do! However, now that I know what I know about food… (like how sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial ingredients contribute to pretty much EVERY single health issue out there from dentistry and diabetes to mental health and cancer)… I’m kinda wondering… why the fuck are we still buying and giving this crap out to the children of our neighborhoods? Its pretty whack. Is this legitimate danger all part of the holiday creepiness?
Not to mention the other issues posed by Big Candy (for starters, brands like Hershey’s, Nestle, and M&M exploit child slave labor harvesting cocoa in West Africa— an issue that I’m passionate about reversing— #buyfairtrade). Why are we supporting these Big Candy companies anyways? The answer, I believe, is that at this point, it’s simply happening by default. We don’t want to be that weird house giving away apple slices in ziplock bags, or the lame house passing out nickels and dimes, so we act by default.
But never fear! Today we’re busting down that bull crap with a list of healthy trick-or-treat alternatives you can serve up that won’t slowly poison our neighbors’ kids OR contribute to the suffering of kids on the other side of the world. Oh, and these are all pretty tasty ideas where you won’t mind having any leftovers.
My personal favorite, honey sticks! These are delicious little nutrient bombs! While honey does have plenty of sugar, it’s also got vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and can help build your immune system and fight off infections and allergies. Honey is true medicine and a treat! In my opinion its the BEST sweetener one can use. Look for local honey when possible (for extra health benefits) and always choose raw.
Fruit leathers. Yes— another healthy sweet! Fruit leathers are simply fruits that have been mushed up, flattened out and dehydrated. You can make your own at home in the oven or a dehydrator. To avoid being “that creepy house” giving out homemade treats (don’t get me wrong— I’m ALL for it— but I understand how some parents would be wary for sure), you can buy natural fruit leathers in stores or online. It’s like those Fruit Roll Up treats from my childhood generation, only it’s not neon poison and its real food.
Mandarin Jack-o-lanterns. Okay, these are adorable, but yea not every parent is going to dig this idea. But if you’re in the right area, try getting mandarin oranges (the tiny kind) and draw little jack-o-lantern faces on them in sharpie. Precious! And healthy. If you’ve got kids around, I’m sure they’d love this art activity.
Mini Lara bars. I’m not much into store bought bars, but for those rare occasions I dig Lara bars (made with ALL real ingredients— pretty much just fruit and nuts). They’re yummy too! You can find the mini kind that are perfect for handing out.
Pure Maple Candies. If you want to go old fashioned and give out a candy, these are solid options. They’re simply pure maple syrup, hardened into small candy shapes. Similar to honey, maple syrup contains sugar but also has other health benefits, like delivering nutrients and antioxidants. It’s my second favorite natural sweetener option!
Non-food items. Bouncy balls, balloons, mini flashlights, slap sticks, yo-yos. The list here can go on and on! You can also get crafty with repurposing. Nonfood items can entertain and exercise kids and are more inclusive because they sidestep the obstacle of kids with food allergies or sensitivities, braces, or crazy parents (no judgement here— I am crazy protective of my cat… just imagine when I have kids).
There’s some good options for celebrating Halloween in a healthy way!
Do you have kids at home?— Here’s one more tip! If you want to avoid the sugar craze without killing the fun, try being a “switch witch” for your kids. Let them trade in their candy to you for either healthy treats, money (like a quarter for each piece of candy— maybe letting them keep a couple!), or get them a treat they really want for trading in all of their candy— like a bike, roller skates, or a fun outing somewhere. It’s a win win! That’s all for now, kids. Have a happy Halloween!