Avoiding Scary Sweets this Halloween

IMG_2111Halloween used to be my favorite time of year.  My daughter loves it and always has, but last year we she really went trick or treating for real and for the first time actually ate the candy.  Yikes talk about things that go bump in the night!  We didn’t realize it at the time but all those artificial sweeteners and food dyes put her over the moon (and not in a good way).  It wasn’t until we started connecting the dots on her behavior that we realized hyperactive aggression spiked after a big sugar fest holiday like that.

What’s wrong with a little candy? I had it when I was a kid and I’m fine.  Two main things wrong with the candy that your neighbors will probably pass out this Halloween are HFCS and Food Dye or Artificial Coloring.

Why is food dye so bad?  Well here are just a few things that concern me:

#1 It is linked to health problems including cancer

#2 In the UK they are required to have a warning label on any food product containing food dye

#3 It is derived from petroleum

#4 It has been shown to increase hyperactivity in children

But these are just a few of the big reasons, there are so many more.  There is a wonderful article in 101 Days of Real Food/ that will give you shivers. The Huffington Post did a great article on halloween candy ingredients.

So what is a parent of a child who has issues with hyperactivity, allergies or sensitivity to food dye suppose to do?  

STARTING AT HOME
I’m starting by not passing out candy this year.  Partly because I want to practice what I preach and partly because if the candy is never in our house that’s one step ahead.  Instead I’m passing out glow in the dark spider rings, stickers and tattoos that I ordered on Amazon.  I think I ended up spending less on these than I have on candy in the past!

Here are several great non candy options.

Glow-in-the-Dark Spider Rings
Glow Bracelets
Halloween Stickers
Glow-in-the-Dark Halloween Tattoos
Glow-In-The-Dark Bugs

THE BIG TRADE IN THE BIG NIGHT
Halloween is right up there with Christmas in my book of amazing childhood memories. I’m not about to deprive my daughter of all that fantastic trick or tart stuff. My goal is simply to make sure she doesn’t turn into a monster by midnight! I have been talking to my daughter about her issues and we’ve come up with a plan.  I ordered halloween candy without artificial sweeteners or food dye from the Natural Candy Store and I will trade her for each thing in her halloween basket.  I know there will be some struggles and some upset feelings but I have stacked the deck with some really big treats I know she will love like cotton candy.  I will go ahead and let her have sugar, as long as it’s natural sugar and there are no food dyes.  I was able to take her to Disneyland (previously not the happiest place on earth for us) this past year without incident by taking my own cotton candy.  I know what you’re thinking sugar is sugar right?  Well what I can tell you is the difference I saw in her behavior.  When she gets processed sugar and artificial sweeteners she almost immediately starts begging for more and more and she craves sweets and carbs.  When I gave her the natural cotton candy, even though it was made from organic sugar, she didn’t do any of those things.  She was quite happy with the cotton candy and the freeze dried mango I had for her and we didn’t have a single tantrum all day.

Here are some alternatives to give your little angles that will keep the ghouls at bay.

Pretzels in fun Halloween packaging (it’s really all about the packaging!)
Surf Sweets gummy spiders, bears and worms
Yummy Earth fruit sweetened lollypops and candy