Give tricks and not treats this Halloween!

It’s that time of year again when the shops are stuffed, wall to wall, with sweets, chocolates and grotesque confectionery items, in preparation for trick or treating. Jelly eyeball anyone? How about vampire teeth or a skull lollipop? 

As a quick aside, have you ever thought about what a jelly eyeball contains? Well, if you’re brave enough to put one in your mouth, you should be brave enough to check out the ingredients! I have kindly done some research for you and no, it’s not pretty. The eyeballs I looked at from Chewits are made of sugar, beef gelatine, acidity regulators, pectin for thickening, palm oil for glazing and 5 “E” numbers - yum (not!). I'll let you have a think about that for a moment ……

Moving on from the jelly eyeballs - last year, my wounded nurse and fluorescent skeleton came home with 48 bags of jellies, 38 mini bars, about 50 chewy sweets like Moam and eyeballs and so many lollipops we gave up counting!! A lot of the lollipops, chewy sweets, all the eyeballs and jellies either went into the bin or went to a charity. I allowed them a couple of treats on the night (I’m not completely mean!) so my 9 year old had a mini Twix (8g of sugar), a mini bag of Maltesers (10.5g), a Chupa Chupa lollipop (12g) and a mini bag of jellies (6g) bringing her total sugar tally to 36.5g or 9 teaspoons of sugar. This is almost double the WHO’s recommended sugar intake for a child.

This year, I have decided not to give out sweets at my door at all. My kids are terrified no-one will come knocking on Halloween night but I have a cunning plan! I have purchased some little Halloween-themed toys like balloons, straws, bouncy eyeballs (what’s with the eyeballs, seriously?!) and I’ll also throw in some coins and fruit. Most of these cost about the same as the sugar and chemical laden grotesque sweets and jellies also on offer. 

So if your child comes home from their trick or treating this year with an eyeball that’s hard to bite, try bouncing it first as it might actually be a ball!! 

What do you think of this idea? Would you be interested in doing it too? Even start with a few toys amongst the sweets? I’d love to get more people on board. If you have any other ideas of alternatives to sweets this Halloween, please share.

Brought to you by
Deirdre Doyle

As a mum of 3, I know how difficult, challenging and difficult (worth saying twice!) it can be, feeding them a healthy, balanced diet. A couple of years ago, I left my full-time job and retrained as a Health and Nutrition Coach - much to the disgust of my children. My goal is to teach children about the joys of healthy eating (so yes, I know how difficult it is!) through my business, The Cool Food School (www.thecoolfoodschool.ie). I also like to run, drink coffee and ignore the housework.

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