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Make it a Hauntingly Healthy Halloween

This Friday is Halloween, the black and orange, candy-filled holiday that brings out the festively spooky side in many of us.  If you are planning to participate in trick-or-treating festivities this Friday, help your children and the children in your neighborhood make better choices by offering healthier snacks and fun giveaways instead of sweets that are full of sugar and fat.

Julie Paul, a registered dietitian with WakeMed Children’s Endocrinology & Diabetes, commented that no candy is really great for you. “You do not get nutritional value out of candy. This Halloween, focus on the experience instead of the candy. Seek out special Trunk-or-Treat events in your community, visit a pumpkin patch or farm, decorate your house, dress up your pets, carve a spooktakular pumpkin, or make a really creative costume.”

And when considering the candy that is collected while trick-or-treating, do not allow children to go on a candy binge on Halloween night or the day after. Ask them to pick out a few treats and put the rest away for later. Better yet, give them the option to trade the candy in for a special toy or privilege. Most children eventually forget about the candy, and parents, this is also not an open invitation to take care of the leftovers yourself, advised Paul.

Non-candy giveaways that kids enjoy include:

  • Glow sticks, bracelets, necklaces
  • Gel pens
  • LED finger lights
  • Bracelet- or necklace-beading kits
  • Coloring pages or coloring books
  • Wind-up toys
  • Silly straws
  • Pencils or crayons
  • Stickers

If food is your preference, these treats are better choices than candy:

  • Animal crackers
  • Small packages of Goldfish or other crackers
  • Individually wrapped granola bars
  • Sugar-free hot chocolate packages
  • Microwave popcorn 100-calorie packs
  • Pre-packaged apple slices
  • Scarrots – Baby carrots repackaged for Halloween

The Teal Pumpkin Project
For some children and parents, no candy is the only option due to a child’s food allergies and sensivities. While out trick-or-treating on Friday, these families will be looking for a teal-colored pumpkin on their neighbors’ front porches or outside the front door. A teal pumpkin – teal being the color of food allergy awareness – is a sign that a neighbor is giving out safe, non-food treats for children. Examples of non-food treats are included above. 

For more information about The Teal Pumpkin Project, visit The Teal Pumpkin Project helps keep Halloween a fun, safe and positive experience for all.  The project also accepts donations toward their mission of finding a cure and keeping individuals with food allergies feeling safe and included.

Pediatric Gastroenterology Services at WakeMed
WakeMed now offers pediatric gastroenterology services, providing care for children with GI conditions related to food allergies. Whether it’s a gluten allergy/sensitivity, lactose intolerance or another food-related GI problem, our team, led by Sachin Kunde, MD, MPH, at WakeMed Physician Practices – Pediatric Gastroenterology, can help your child avoid the uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms associated with food allergies. Call for an appointment today! 919-235-6435