With Halloween just around the corner, the scary season is well and truly upon us. As your kids get excited about costumes, pumpkins and trick or treating, spare a thought for the fact that there might be something nastier than a witch or a skeleton lurking about this Halloween.
The effects of sugar on our kids are truly scary. Half our kids have tooth decay. Soaring rates of childhood obesity and the rise of type 2 diabetes in young people have all created the terrifying prediction that this generation of children may lead shorter lives than their parents.
“But Mum and Dad, all my friends are doing it!”
Trick or treating, once considered an American tradition, is rapidly gaining ground here in Australia. Sacks containing large amounts of lollies seem to be a normal haul for an hour spent knocking on doors.
America gave us the trick-or-treating concept, so fortunately Americans have also come up with the Switch Witch to help control the damage! This fun imaginary character visits kids while they sleep to swap Halloween lollies for a non-sugary gift.
You don’t want to be known as the Wicked Witch of the West for putting a stop to an activity your kids might otherwise love. These simple tips will help you and your kids enjoy Halloween minus the scary amounts of sugar.
Hideous hints for less sugar at Halloween
Arrange a visit from the Switch Witch. This imaginary character visits on Halloween, swapping a bag of lollies for a non-sugary gift like a toy. A sleepover with friends, an outing to a special place like the zoo or a sports game are good options. For older kids, you can simply arrange a buy back.
Enjoy the non food aspects of Halloween. Dressing up, face painting, making decorations or telling ghost stories are all sugar free – and fun!
Let them trick or treat. If your family enjoys trick or treating, don’t feel you have to pull the plug. Emphasise that it’s a fun time to spend with friends showing off their costumes.
Include some exercise. Create a trick or treat route which combines the fun of knocking on doors with a decent walk.
Let them have some lollies. Don’t be a killjoy. Instead, limit sugar by letting your kids choose a small number of lollies from their haul. If you prefer your kids don't eat any lollies, talk up the Switch Witch and get them excited about the swap.
Avoid temptation yourself! Make sure you really do get rid of those leftover lollies instead of dipping into them yourself.
And what to do if you get a keen group of kids knocking at your door but don't want to give them sugar? Here's some ideas:
- Swap fun bars for fun stickers
- Swap bubblegum for sugarfree gum
- Swap lollipops for pens and pencils
- Swap lolly teeth for fake vampire teeth
- Swap lolly bags for craft bags that could contain a balloon, eraser, stickers and pencils