With Hallowe’en on the horizon, parents are gearing up for dressing up, trick or treating and all the fun that goes with this time of year. But for many parents, it might feel like it’s been Hallowe’en for months now, with shop shelves heaving with sweet treats since September.
So how can parents navigate the food that’s around us and manage the amount of treats their children get at Hallowe’en? safefood has some practical advice to help you get through it.
Eat before you trick or treat: Before your child starts the evening trick-or-treating, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a meal before you go. That way, you’ll prevent them munching their way from house to house.
Agree in advance with your child: To avoid any surprises (and pushback), agree in advance with your child how many treats they are allowed to eat that night. This will save any hassle on Hallowe’en night; you can always save the rest to be eaten gradually during the school holidays and beyond.
Make a plan with other parents: If you are planning to trick or treat with other parents in your local area, why not agree beforehand about what you will give out to kids calling – it could be a small, sweet treat but also with sone stickers or some other fun things. That way, you’re all working together to bring some balance to what your kids will get – much easier than trying to do this alone. Remember treats don’t always have to be things to eat!
And when they get home: When your child gets home, it’s important to look at what they have been given, just in case there’s anything in there they shouldn’t have. Parents of very young children should get rid of choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard sweets or very small toys.
Dr Aileen McGloin, Director of Nutrition with safefood continued “Hallowe’en has a special place in our culture and traditions, but excessive amounts of treats weren’t part of this until recent years. Parents know Hallowe’en is all part of growing up and can make for wonderful memories for kids, but they’ve also told us it’s a special night for children that should be celebrated and enjoyed, but in a more balanced way. While parents agree that children should be allowed to have treats for Halloween, the excessive promotion all around them is challenging. Even so, parents recognise their responsibility to try to ensure their children eat Hallowe’en treats in moderation, and that they should keep an eye on what’s being eaten.”
“Parents also told us that putting the focus on other elements of the celebrations such as dressing up or playing games helps to take the focus off trick or treating and food, more towards what it used to be like when we were kids. For some parents, they work together closely as a community to ensure a healthier Halloween for their kids – that’s welcomed by parents, and this helps them all to feel more supported.”