Here are a few Halloween fun facts from the National Confectioners Association:
- 93 percent of children go trick-or-treating every year.
- Each Halloween $2 billion is spent on candy.
- 30 percent of kids report that they SORT their candy first when returning home with trick-or-treat loot
- Kids say they prefer homes that give: anything made with chocolate (68 percent) followed by lollipops (9 percent), gummy candy (7 percent) and bubble gum or chewing gum (7 percent).
- Parents favorite treats to sneak from their kidsí trick-or-treat bags are snack-size chocolate bars (70 percent sneak these), candy-coated chocolate pieces (40 percent), caramels (37 percent) and gum (26 percent).
Halloween is the most child-centered holiday of the year, with Christmas and Hannukah running closely behind.† Itís also the most sugar-centric day of the year, and perhaps should be considered the grand kick-off to a season of overindulging our appetites, climaxing at Thanksgiving, ending sometime between Christmas and New Yearís Day, when we vow to shed the holiday ten.
Most of us allow our children to enjoy some of the spoils from Halloween, but doling out loads of candy over the weeks and months that follow can skew a childís sense of the amount of sugar needed to make a treat sweet (and yummy), making healthful treats made with lower quantities of sweetener unappealing (a.k.a. yucky.)
Next: 4 tips for a happier and healthier Halloween
Here are a few suggestions for creating a happier and healthier Halloween:
1. Feed your kids before they go trick-or-treating.† They will still want to dip into their buckets, but having a belly filled by a nutritious meal will reduce an empty bellyís legitimate desire to eat whatever is close at hand.
2. Keep the best, get rid of the rest.† As noted above, about 30 percent of kids sort their candy. Seven percent swap it with siblings or friends.† Since there are obviously candies kids love and others they would eat just because itís there, why not determine how many pieces they can keep and enjoy over the next few days, and get rid of the rest of it?† The remaining candy can be trashed or donated to someone less fortunate, perhaps a homeless family shelter where children might not have had the opportunity to celebrate the holiday.† Or a parent can donate the rest to the candy bowl at work.
3. The power of cold hard cash. A twist on the tip above is to allow the kids to keep a few of their treats, then give you the rest of the candy for some cash, perhaps $10-$15.† Let them use this to buy something they really want Ė a small toy, a book, a craft item.† Then celebrate the rest of the evening with healthy special Halloween treats youíve made (or bought) for home.
4. Limit the time for trick or treating.† Let collecting candy be just one part of your Halloween tradition, not the whole shebang.† Round out the day or evening with pumpkin carving, roasting pumpkin seeds, playing creepy music at home, watching an age-appropriate scary movie, and letting your children hand out healthier treats like chocolates that contain 70 percent cacao instead of processed milk chocolate, or candies made of more natural ingredients, which can be bought in bulk.