Halloween – Safe, Healthy & Green

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Halloween is just around the corner, which is good news for kids of all ages. Did you know that Halloween began centuries ago as a pagan holiday that honored the dead? It has since become a day for fun─and even breaking a few rules. How can you keep the thrill intact while ensuring it’s a safe, healthy experience for all?

Green your costumes

Years ago, mothers made costumes by hand. Today, they’re practically disposable─despite the fact that they can be costly. How about going green and saving money too by buying gently used costumes this year? You might also start swapping and sharing with friends and neighbors as kids outgrow costumes. How about keeping a costume trunk in the garage so there’s always something to pick from, purchasing new accessories as needed? Make it fun, your enthusiasm will be contagious!

Trick or treat safely

While it’s tremendous fun, trick-or-treating should be approached with caution. First off, accompany kids of all ages, even teens if possible. Why not make it a fun─and safe─family affair? It’s also a good idea to carry flashlights and to fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you. Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls. And very importantly, carefully examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them, opening only factory-wrapped candy.

Reign in the sugar

Halloween is a single day, but some kids collect enough candy to last for months. Given the rise in childhood obesity, many parents dread this sugar stockpile. You can combat this by letting kids “sort” candy that night and enjoy a few pieces. Quietly remove the artificial/neon-hued items when you can. After that, stick to the “one piece per day” rule with you holding the bag. Fortunately, out of sight is often out of mind. You can also “buy back” candy from your kids, letting them pick small, non-sugar gifts with the proceeds.

Set the standard

If you eat a lot of candy in front of your kids, it’s harder to limit them. It’s healthier for the whole family to focus on costumes, friends, togetherness and fun, which removes sugar from the central radar. If you do indulge your sweet tooth, model for your kids that you take treats after a healthy, protein-rich meal or snack─and that you balance sweets with physical activity. It’s also best to de-emphasize candy as a reward. How about an invigorating walk, bubble bath or craft project instead?

With these tips, you can enjoy both a safe and fun evening the whole family will cherish. Happy Halloween!

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