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Happy, Healthy Halloween!

Published: Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 10:50 a.m. CDT

With Halloween only two weeks away, Halloween shopping is in full swing. If you haven’t purchased Halloween treats yet, consider including an alternative to candy in your treat bowl. You might be pleasantly surprised that some kids prefer the non candy treats. Researchers recruited houses to participate in a study that provided children with a choice. Kids were asked to pick between two plates: one contained hard and chewy candies (no chocolates), the other had small toys. All items ranged in price from 5 to 10 cents. The researchers found that children chose toys as frequently as they chose candy. To fill your treat bowl at home, there is a large variety of non-food Halloween themed treats in stores. Wax fangs, spider rings, tattoos, stickers, pencils, erasers, and mini notebooks are all entertaining to kids. If you’re looking for a tasty treat consider granola bars, cereal bars, animal crackers, trail mix, apples, pretzels, sugar free gum or peanuts (just be mindful of peanut allergies so have another treat on hand).

Giving kids a non-candy choice helps to send the message that Halloween fun doesn’t have to center around getting an overload of candy. With childhood obesity (and the associated health risks) on the rise, it’s an important message to reinforce.

Skiff Medical Center is taking that message to heart. When you bring your action heroes and fairy princesses to Skiff this year, you’ll find an amazing atmosphere that focuses on more than candy. We’ll have new decorations and themes that will appeal to kids of all ages. There will be especially designated areas along the route for photo opportunities to have pictures taken with favorite costumed characters. Costumed characters will still be handing out Halloween favorites like Snickers, Skittles and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but in between candy stations kids will be choosing animal crackers, stickers, pencils, bouncy balls and apples. Skiff’s Trick or Treat is from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31.

You can have your treats and be healthy too!

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