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Is it a trick if you hand out “healthy” treats to trick-or-treaters? When my children were young I would give raisins, popcorn balls, or stickers. I believed it best to offer children one less sugary snack. But I do remember my children being embarrassed by it and older children grimacing with their thank you when I dropped the treat in their bag. You would have thought they were getting broccoli.

The last few Halloweens I’ve handed out mini chocolate bars. I chose them because I thought we would eat the remainders. We never did. I love chocolate but prefer one small piece of a better chocolate than the typical ones sold for Halloween. Peanut butter cups aren’t bad, however I am not sure if it is safe to hand out treats with nuts due to the prevalence of allergies. Perhaps children with these allergies cannot go out trick-or-treating at all for this reason.

One year my son answered the door with a cup of chili in his hand. The dad with his little trick-or-treaters on the other side was disappointed when the chili wasn’t for him. I’m sure many a parent would enjoy a tradition of receiving a hot cup of soup, chili, or cocoa as their treat. Some Halloweens are pretty wet and chilly here. When trick-or-treating began in the United Kingdom and Ireland, children asked for small breads called “soul cakes” in exchange for a prayer and adults offered a song or dance for food or a drink, so the food idea isn’t far off from the holiday’s beginning.

According to the National Retail Federation’s statistics for 2012, we spend about $22 on Halloween candy each year. Each child collects about 1.5 pounds. Few get to keep all of their loot. Most parents confiscate it (at least the good stuff) and ration off the rest of the candy a little each day.

This year’s treats are Jolly Ranchers Caramel Apple Lollipops and Mike & Ike Mummy Mix and Vampire Variety. I hope all the ghosts, goblins, and princesses are happy with this treat.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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