A Healthier Halloween

My daughter, Katie, is having her Halloween party at school today, and she carried in a crate of clementines to share with the class. It wasn’t even entirely my idea. Her teacher asked parents to send in fruits or veggies for the celebration—a big difference from last year when she feasted on cupcakes, donut holes, and punch. (Here are some other great snack-mom solutions for class parties.) It’ll be interesting to hear what her classmates thought, but I know she didn’t mind having a party sans sweets. Her thinking: “I’ll get lots of candy tonight.” (That’s when we have trick or treat in our neighborhood.) And she’s probably right: After two hours of ringing doorbells last year, her ghost candy bag weighed five pounds. She thought that was awesome. Me, not so much.

Even though I don’t limit candy on Halloween, I do restrict it to 1 or 2 small pieces per day afterwards. There were so many pieces in her bag, she probably wouldn’t have finished it until Easter. I urged her to sort out her faves, and I’m embarrassed to admit, I trashed the rest. It seems incredibly wasteful on so many levels. This year, we’ve agreed that we’re not going to trick or treat as long (and spend the extra time on other Halloween fun, like decorating our pumpkins). And we’re going to “sell” back whatever candy she doesn’t want to her pediatric dentist, who is offering a dollar or so per pound. (Many dentists across the country have similar programs; see if yours is listed here.)

What are you giving out for trick or treat? At least 12 years ago—way before my kid days—I interviewed a researcher who did a really cool study: She interviewed trick-or-treaters about what they got from each house, and found that most were just as happy with trinkets as they were with candy. I’m sure they would have been disappointed if they didn’t get any sweets, but as long as they had some, stickers, mini boxes of crayons, erasers, and Halloween pencils were considered awesome loot. Since then, I’ve never handed out candy on Halloween. Our treat this year: glow-in-the-dark bracelets from Oriental Trading. Check out these other cool, non-candy suggestions from parents.com.

I’ve also been racking my brain about what to have for dinner before trick or treat; we need something fast and fun. Campbell’s sent me some its new Harvest Orange Tomato Soup so we’re going to have that (at right) topped with crackers, along with Witch Hat Calzones.(Here are some more healthy Halloween ideas.) Have a sensational, spooky weekend!

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