Halloween Tricks and Treats

Something about fall and the cool crisp air makes me love Halloween. It is kind of the start to the holiday season and of course you doesn’t love a cute kid wearing an adorable costume. Halloween means delicious candy will find its way into your house, if it hasn’t already. Lots of times we think that those “fun sized” candy bars are perfectly size … and they are if you only eat 2 not 15. Every year I feel like the fun-sucker when it comes to Halloween candy. I love a small amount of candy, but it is definitely a treat that can be over done. There are lots of neat food items that you can pass out that aren’t candy - pretzels, popcorn, crackers, fruit cups, etc.

I enjoy reminding people of ways to provide trick-or-treaters with goodies that aren’t always food related. There are amazing little goodies that you can find at your local dollar store that are inexpensive and the kids will love them!

Non-Food Related Goodies

  • Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers

  • Bouncy balls

  • Finger puppets or novelty toys

  • Bubbles

  • Spider rings or mini slinkies

  • Vampire fangs or other Halloween themed goodies

  • Mini notepads or coloring books

  • Playing cards

  • Bookmarks, stickers and stencils

  • Crayons, markers or other writing utensils

  • Glow sticks (bracelets, necklaces or rings)

Why would you want to go through the trouble to pass out non-food related goodies? Well lots of kiddos will end up with tons of candy by the end of Halloween. Most of those goodies will get eaten by themselves or their families. Some candy is fine, but most of us don’t need ALL that candy. Some children have food allergies or intolerances and that means that they can’t eat a lot of that candy that they get. That is definitely less exciting for a child who can’t eat what you give them and makes their parent’s worry that they might accidentally eat something they are allergic to. Offering non-food treats is helpful because ALL of the kids that you pass those items out to will be able to enjoy them.

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The Teal Pumpkin Project - I have talked about this initiative over the years, but I wanted to bring it up again. This is a movement to provide safe, non-food related treats for children. Putting a teal pumpkin on your doorstep means you have non-food treats available, such as glow sticks or small toys. This simple act promotes inclusion for trick-or-treaters with food allergies or other conditions.

  1. Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters.

  2. Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home to indicate to passersby that you have non-food treats available.

  3. Add your home to the Teal Pumpkin Project map.

  4. Spread the word! Share the Teal Pumpkin Project with your friends and family.

I encourage you all to become a supporter of the Teal Pumpkin Project and work to help provide healthy and safe treats for children this Halloween!

Halloween Goodies

Crunchy leaves, spooky decorations and lots of sweet treats. That basically sums up this time of year. Halloween is just around the corner. With a little 10 month old running around our house, Halloween is even more exciting. We have a great family costume planned - it includes a farmer, a pig, a spider and a spider web. Any guesses ............... if you were thinking Charlotte's Web you would be right! 

When it comes to Halloween goodies we tend to reach for lots and lots of candy. In fact, Americans will end up purchasing 600 million pounds of candy on Halloween. For those trick-or-treaters that come to your door, their number one choice for Halloween treats is chocolate. About 157 million people participate in Halloween and 141 million purchase Halloween candy. That equates to 45% of the US population handing out candy to trick-or-treaters (source). So it is obvious that lots of people are purchasing candy, the kids that are trick-or-treating love it and we are eating lots of extra calories around this time of year. 

Have you ever wondered how many calories are in some of your favorite candy bars? Want to know more - CLICK HERE for the article. 

  • Reese's Cup (110 calories) - You would need to run 7 minutes (at 10 minute per mile pace) 
  • Butterfinger (85 calories) - You would need to do 10 minutes of Zumba
  • Regular M&Ms (67 calories) - You would need to do 9 minutes of jumping jacks 
  • York Peppermint patty (60 calories) - You would need to do 25 minutes of yoga
  • 3 Muskateers Bar (63 calories) - You would need to do 26 minutes of pilates 

Do you have to hand out sugary treats? No, there are lots of options for things that you can pass out at your house. I love highlighting the Teal Pumpkin project every year, because for lots of families Halloween ends up being stressful. For families who have food allergies or food intolerances this is tough to have to sort through all the candy and pick the "unsafe" treats. The Teal Pumpkin Project has some great resources in terms of signage for your house, ideas for non-food related treats and spreading the word about food allergies. Last year I put together a great blog post with more treat ideas and a video about the Teal Pumpking Project - CLICK HERE to check it out. I loved this infographic and just had to share it with you. 

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If you think the Teal Pumpkin Project is a neat idea, but you also want to hand out candy, that works too. That is what I do every year. I have a bowl of goodies filled with non-food related treats and then another bowel with candy goodies. That way I have options for everyone and I feel better about the large amount of candy that all these kids are eating on Halloween. 

Scary Halloween Facts

Today is Halloween! October 31st! That means if you haven't already, you will have little ghosts, goblins and princesses showing up to your door and asking for treats and goodies. I hope you were able to read the post from last week about the Teal Pumpkin Project and possibly put together some allergy-free treats for your trick-or-treaters. 

I also wanted to share with you some scary Halloween nutrition facts, because it is fun and ends up being eye opening. These statistics are brought to you by Daily Burn

  • Americans spend ~$7.4 billion dollars on Halloween candy, costumes and decorations each year. 
  • Americans purchase 90 million pounds of chocolate during the week of Halloween. 
  • There are 41 million potential trick-or-treaters between the ages of 5-14 years old in America.
  • Each year, 35 million pounds of candy corn is produced for the Halloween/Fall season. 
  • If you ate an apple cider donut, you would have to do 54 push-ups to burn it off (~330kcal). 
  • Do you love the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte? If you drink a tall (~380kcal) you need walk for 134 minutes to burn off those calories. 
  • Did you know there are 10.5g of sugar in a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and this happens to be American's favorite Halloween candy.
  • You would have to do 17 minutes of burpees to burn of 1 bite-sized Snickers bar (~160kcal).
  • Wondering how much your pillowcase can hold in terms of candy - 1,690 pieces of candy to be exact. 
  • On Halloween, children collect any where from 3,500-7,000kcal worth of Halloween candy in their pumpkin pails. 

I don't want you to know that I don't love Halloween, the treats, goodies and decorations. I love celebrating holidays, but I think it is important to remember that you or your child do not need ALL the Halloween candy. Trying to keep moderation at the fore front of your mind is the main message. Enjoy your time trick-or-treating, taking pictures and dressing up. Just try to be active, burn off those extra calories and make sure you have a healthy dinner before you head out. Have a safe and wonderful Halloween! 

Navigating Food Allergies on Halloween

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Every year I try to take some time and make sure I talk about the Teal Pumpkin Project. This program is sponsored by the Food Allergy Research & Education group and its main focus is to provide all kids safe treats this Halloween. This campaign was launched back in 2014 nationally and has gained lots of traction over the last 2 years. 

For kids with food allergies, it is not safe for them to eat candy, because often these sweet treats contain dangerous allergens. This project wants to encourage people to provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters so that they can still participate in the Halloween traditions, but not have to worry about their food allergies. To participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project follow these simple steps: 

  1. Have non-food treats available for kids to pick up. It is easy to find Halloween themed goodies at your local grocery store, party store or craft store. Plus, these are great goodies to hand out to all the children, because they are going to get plenty of sugary treats.
    • Bubbles 
    • Pens/pencils 
    • Glow sticks/necklaces/bracelets 
    • Vampire fangs 
    • Stickers 
    • Bouncy balls 
    • If you don't have time to run to the store to find these goodies - go ahead and purchase the Essentials Kit from FARE Teal Pumpkin Project and get it shipped directly to you! 
  2. Put out a teal pumpkin in front of your home, on your porch/in your entry way. Incorporate your family and paint your teal pumpkin today! 
  3. Display the FARE Teal Pumpkin Project sign  explaining what the teal pumpkin means.