Friday, October 22, 2004

Halloween tricks cut down on treats

By Doreen Nagle
Gannett News Service

It's that time of year - red and gold leaves falling, abandoning the trees they grew up on. Can the annual Halloween tummy ache be far behind? If you dread Halloween's focus on sweets, try some of these ideas.

• Cut down on the desire for sweets by feeding your children a hearty meal before they leave the house. Fill their tummies with satisfying nutrition, and they won't have room to load up on sweets.

• Talk to the teacher or room parent in your child's class to see if this year's celebration can include more stickers, pencils, toys and healthy treats instead of candy.

• Set an example by buying noncandy treats for the goblins that visit your house.

• Limit the amount of time spent trick-or-treating. You'll be amazed how much candy can be amassed in a short time. Encourage your children to hurry home to hand out treats to the costumed visitors ringing their own bell.

• Or you can choose to limit the number of houses they'll visit. Young children are often ready to head home after playing dress-up for five or six neighbors.

• There's more to do on Halloween than get free candy. Round up the kids for some old-fashioned fun at home: carve pumpkins, bob for apples, pin the tail on the donkey. If you are hosting the party, you'll be in charge of what the kids eat.

• Separate candy into piles when they get home: immediate eating; later eating; to give away (i.e.: local homeless shelter.

• Let your child choose favorite candies and freeze the remainder. You may discover the kids have forgotten about the candy after a while.

• Save candies to use as decorations on a gingerbread house you can make together during December's festivities.

• Swap candy for privileges and nonfood treats. At our house, candy is left for the Great Pumpkin before bedtime. The next morning, the candy is gone and in its place is a new book, puzzle or CD.

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