Lisa D. Jordan, UGA Extension Agent, Savannah, Ga.
Would you like to give a treat other than candy this Halloween? Think those little princes, super heroes, witches and goblins will only be satisfied with sugar and chocolate? Well, the surprising finding of a Yale University Center study of 3 to 14-year-olds revealed that, given the choice, the revelers picked a toy as readily as candy. With childhood obesity continuing to rise, alternative treats are a great idea. Some parents are choosing to get together with families and have a small gathering with games and prizes rather so much candy. Many organizations are also offering trunk and treats where you go around to cars in an area to get your prizes or candy. These are great ideas, but if you choose to go out this year, just keep these tips in mind.
- A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from
filling up on Halloween treats.
- Plan and review with your children the route and behavior which is acceptable to
· Do not permit children to bicycle, roller-blade or skateboard.
- Agree on a specific time when revelers must return home.
- A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children.
- Stay in a group, walk slowly and communicate where you are going.
- Carry a flashlight.
- Walk, don't run.
- Stay on sidewalks.
- Stay in familiar neighborhoods.
- Never enter a stranger's home or car for a treat.
- Don't cut across yards or driveways.
- Make sure costumes don't drag on the ground.
- Shoes should fit (even if they don't go with your costume).
- Avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house.
- Wear clothing with reflective markings or tape.
- Approach only houses that are lit.
- Never consume unwrapped food items or open beverages that may be offered.
- No treats are to be eaten until they are thoroughly checked by an adult at home.
- Stay away from and don't pet animals you don't know.
If you think you will have some trick-or-treaters visiting your home here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure your yard is clear of such things as ladders, hoses, dog leashes and flower pots that can trip children.
- Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday
lighting or special effects, and do not block exit doors.
- Pets get frightened on Halloween. Keep them in a secure area to protect them from
cars or inadvertently biting a trick-or-treater.
- Always keep Jack O' Lanterns away from areas where children will be standing or walking.
- Instead of candles, use small battery-powered lights inside jack-o'-lanterns and luminaries to reduce the chances of decorations catching fire.
- Healthy food alternatives for trick-or-treaters include packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter filling, single-serve boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls, mini boxes of raisins and single-serve packets of low-fat popcorn that can be microwaved later.
- Non-food treats could include: pencils, stickers, erasers, coins, or gift certificates.
· Wait until children are home to sort and check treats.
· Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and
throw away any spoiled or unwrapped items. Candy that has an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes or tears in wrappers should also be discarded.
· Homemade items or baked goods should be discarded, unless you personally know
who gave them.
- Parents of young children should also remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies and small toys.
- Although sharing is encouraged, make sure items that can cause choking (such as hard candies), are given only to those of an appropriate age.