Fall is officially here, and Spooky Season is upon us! After a stressful back-to-school, we know our Eat REAL community is looking forward to some fun this Halloween weekend. Creepy decorations, crazy costumes, and one of the top kid events of the year, trick-or-treating. While we believe in the occasional sweet treat, we reached out to parents to share how they bring other “treats” to their families’ celebrations. Below are five fun ways to celebrate Halloween with a little less sugar and a lot more fun!
1. Halloween Photo Wall
Who doesn’t love a good photoshoot? They’ll have that photo forever and will look forward to stopping by your home next year for a new trick-or-treat tradition! Create an Instagrammable and Tik-Tok friendly Halloween wall that kids (and parents, too) can take when they stop in front of your house.
2. Trick or Do Good
Want to try something different this year that still leaves you with those warm and good feelings? Have your family pick out two charities to donate to instead of purchasing candy.
Decorate two bowls or boxes with info on each charity and a sign that you will be donating for each vote. Then ask kids to put a chip (or whatever you have around like coins, a poker chip, bean, rice, etc.) in the bowl or box. To keep the fun going, have your kids send the donation to the charities afterward with a letter explaining why they support them and photos from your “Halloweenraiser.” This was a huge hit for Sophie and Eric:
3. Give out Bee Food Instead
Did you know what’s genuinely spooky? More than ¾ of our food system depends on pollinators, yet they’re at risk of dying off. The good news? Habitat loss is a top driver, and YOU can help with that. Try giving away seeds or homemade seed bombs to your neighborhood trick-or-treaters. You could make plantable paper as these kids did, or there are many seed paper options on Etsy (here is another one that’s non-invasive, non-GMO).
Bonus cute points: you could dress up as a beekeeper and your kids as bees. You might even take turns explaining what you’re up to — hello, easy costume with a face shield and a hat
4. The Increasingly Popular Switch Witch
Think Halloween fairy. On the night of the 31st, your kids select the top candy they want to keep, then put the majority in a bag at the back door or deep in the garage (because that’s scarier) for the Switch Witch to pick up. In the morning, a toy, activity, or certificate for a fun adventure appears. Our friends at @SugarProofKids, explain, “It doesn’t need to be monetary. It can be anything your child will look forward to.” It’s key to discuss the plan with them in advance. Check out the book ‘Sugar Proof’ for more inspiration.
5. Spooky Pet Rocks:
Offer a break from the long walks, and set up a table for kids to paint a pumpkin, ghost, or zombie rocks. It’s easy! All you need is a bag of stones from your local garden center, non-toxic paints, and maybe even some googly eyes and glitter. They’ll have a great time letting their creativity out and a memento to keep all year.
Why upgrade your Halloween experience to focus on fun instead of sugar? The average American Kid consumes 65 lbs of added sugar per year. Too much added sugar is hurting our kids’ health short-term and long-term, and it’s hidden everywhere. While the occasional treat is okay, Halloween should be about more than the sugar high. Focusing on building community, creativity, and experiences that will be remembered long after the candy is gone is far more beneficial to our kids’ mental health and well-being. Happy Halloween!
Eat REAL is a nonprofit all about making it easier to increase equitable access to healthy, delicious, and sustainable food across our schools and communities. Learn more about investing in food system transformation and join us in improving our children’s health here.
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