Halloween is a frighteningly close. While most young children are excited to dress up in costume and see how much candy they will get this Tuesday, the annual event can also bring some anxiety to parents.
Between concerns about sugar overload, making sure kids and their candy supply are safe, and what will happen if your pet steals a chocolate bar, it takes some serious planning to be ready for Halloween.
Delaware Division of Public Health chief of community relations Andrea Wojcik is says consuming lots of sugar-filled candy can do more than just amp kids up.
“There’s the issue of unnecessary pounds and tooth decay. And children with juvenile diabetes have special challenges. They need to watch their sugar and carb consumption. So parents and trick-or-treaters can hand out pre-sealed healthy alternatives,” said Wojcik.
Wojcik adds healthy alternatives to candy include: mini bags of fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, raisins, grapes and carrots and also applesauce in single-serve containers.
Other healthy treats include:
- Mini bags of dried fruit or vegetable “chips”;
- Squeeze fruit, fruit chews, or fruit rolls;
- Mini bags of trail mix made with whole grain cereals;
- Individually packaged granola, cereal, soy, yogurt, and fig bars;
- Mini bags of pretzels, animal crackers, mini rice cereal or granola bars, or whole grain cheddar cheese crackers; and
- Small bottles of water;
- If candy is served, choose bite-size candy bars that are lower in fat and sugar.
- Non-food treats like pencils, crayons, glow sticks, bottles of bubbles
And when it come to safety as you are out trick or treating, Wojcik says there are some things that parents should keep in mind.
“Especially with young children 12 and under, make sure that you walk with your children. Do not let them go alone. Get to safe and known neighborhoods and teach children never to go into strangers’ homes or cars, Also choose lighter-colored costumes that are flame-retardant, meaning they won’t burn,” said Wojcik.
As for all that candy your child or children are going to get – Wojcik says parents should discard ALL treats that are unsealed, have holes in the packages, are spoiled or are homemade treats that were NOT made by someone you know.
And to prevent choking, do NOT allow young children to have hard candy or gum.
Other safety precautions include:
- At home, turn on outside lights and remove any tripping hazards.
- Walk on well-lit sidewalks and driveways with flashlights. Use crosswalks and never assume that vehicles will stop for pedestrians. Insist that trick-or-treaters walk, not run or ride bicycles at night.
- Teens and adult drivers should learn what day and time your city/town is holding trick-or-treating hours and be especially alert for children during these times, and.
- Avoid candles and other flames, and unknown pets.