What to give to trick-or-treaters
One thing is certain – we absolutely refuse to poison the children of the neighborhood with toxic candy! So what to do instead? Of course you could turn off the lights and not respond when they ring the doorbell, but there is a better alternative: Glow sticks! They are fairly cheap and kids absolutely love them. The first year we started handing out glow sticks, we overheard kids talking excitedly about our house being the best on the street. They anyway get lots of candy elsewhere and glow sticks will even add to traffic safety which is a good thing. Another option is small toys or fruit. This is definitely a better option than candy and I think you will find that the kids will really appreciate it.
How to handle Halloween with your children
There are different approaches here, depending on your family’s health situation as well as the age of the kids. I think it is important to make sure that your children are not feeling deprived and left out, because if they do, they are much more likely to find ways to cheat, e.g. getting candy from friends and so on. So here are some tips:
1) If you are not going to allow your kids to eat the candy, it can seem pointless to go trick-or-treating with them. However, I would recommend doing it anyway, simply for the social reasons. Kids love dressing up and having fun so why take away that joy?
2) Talk with your kids in advance about exchanging the collected candy for more reasonable items. This could be for instance homemade Paleo cookies or a Paleo cake of some sort. You could also make homemade candy / chocolate if you are OK to invest some time in such a project, or Paleo ice cream. Or you could promise them to exchange it for other things they really want – movie tickets, latest video game or whatever they fancy. Get creative!
3) Make a family event out of Halloween, with good Paleo food and dessert. If the kids are full and satisfied when they go trick or treating, they are much less likely to be tempted by the crappy candy.
4) I think it is super important to have a good conversation with your children about why candy is not a good thing. They will learn, and don’t be afraid to use a bit of science to teach them about the impact of all the sugar and other nasty ingredients.
5) Before our first Paleo Halloween our oldest daughter had read the Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf so she already understood the concept well. We were a bit less strict at the time (still transitioning) so I told her that if she wanted to eat candy we had to make absolute sure it was gluten free, and then that she had to pay close attention to how she felt. Well, guess what – she got a major stomach ache the next day. That is an excellent learning experience and since then she avoids it and no major incidents. Sometimes it is better not to be too overprotective.
I hope this was helpful for you – let me know what you think!