Halloween is celebrated on the 31st of October every year to mark the eve of the Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. On this day, people, especially kids, wear costumes of monsters, ghosts and devils to scare away the harmful spirits. Kids go from door to door throughout their neighbourhood asking for treats with the phrase “trick or treat”. This is the day when kids get bags full of various candies and other goodies that are not very healthy for them.
It is important to understand that intake of too many candies can have negative effects. Candies are made with refined sugar and contain various colors, flavors, and additives which are not very healthy to consume. Popular treats that are usually given out are:
- Candies, lollipops and chocolates: These contain refined sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, vegetable oils, unhealthy fats, dairy components, GMO (genetically modified organism) ingredients, artificial flavors and colors, and additives.
- Chips: These contain saturated and trans fats, acrylamide, high sodium, MSG (monosodium glutamate), artificial flavors, GMO ingredients, and additives.
- Gum: Contains artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, and other additives.
All of the above-mentioned items are harmful for your health. These items may also have heavy metal contamination which is not good for children. This could lead to health issues such as:
- Increased infections
- Unhealthy gut microbes
- Weight gain
- Suppressed immune function
- Problems with sleep, energy
- Cavities and poor oral health
- Nutritional deficiency
- Poor skin, and many other concerns
At present there are already so many health challenges that threaten kids. But this year, let us celebrate Halloween without harming our kids’ health. So, here are some tips that you can consider to ensure a healthy Halloween:
- Go for healthier options: In this modern world, people are becoming more health conscious and so businesses are coming up with healthier alternatives for chocolates that do not contain refined sugars, colors, flavors, or preservatives. You can purchase healthier and less processed candies and chocolates that are wheat or gluten-free, dairy-free, trans-fat-free, soy-free, and peanut-free. You also have bars that have dried fruits and nuts, organic or allergy smart cookies, chips that are made of pure dehydrated apples, organic coconut chips etc.
- Include nuts, seeds and dried fruits: Treats that have unprocessed whole plant food is much healthier than chocolates or chips. These unprocessed healthier options have high-nutrient density and do not have health risks. So, for this year consider using raisins, nuts, kale chips, almonds, cashew nuts, apple chips and so on.
- Avoid processed food as treats: Instead of giving food treats you can consider giving treats that can help improve the child’s creativity. There are several toys or objects like Halloween-themed objects or film character objects available as gifts give children. Some examples are pencil set, fancy stickers, bookmarks, coloring books, reading books, small toys etc.
Don’t Forget to Follow Covid-19 Protocols
While it is important to take care of what children eat during Halloween, it is equally important to educate your children about maintaining social distance. Following are some tips that both elders and kids can follow to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus:
- Outdoor costume party: Dress up and instruct your children to stay six feet apart at a small outdoor party, or wear a protective mask if it is a larger party.
- Outdoor Halloween movie night: Arrange a small, outdoor gathering ensuring social distancing by spacing people at least six feet apart.
- Grab-and-go trick-or-treating: Instead of giving out candy to each child as they come to the door, keep individually wrapped goodie bags at the end of the driveway or edge of a yard. This practice ensures social distancing. Make sure a bottle of hand sanitizer makes it to the table.
- Outdoor haunted forests and cornfields: Outdoor haunted activities are safely possible when traffic flow is one-way, face coverings are worn and social distancing is enforced.
- Pumpkin patches: Pick the great pumpkin from an outdoor patch and stay safely distanced from other groups. Use hand sanitizer before and after touching the pumpkins.
Both children and adults enjoy Halloween. But remember that holidays also bring safety risk. Therefore, taking the necessary safety measures is important. Following all the above-mentioned tips will help you enjoy a safe and healthy Halloween this year.