October is Children’s Health Month and it is also the month of one of their favorite holidays, Halloween.
I can remember as a child, Halloween being a favorite because of costumes and make believe and scary stories told by flash light but mostly I think it was the candy that made it so exciting…that idea of knocking on the neighbors doors and being given some mysterious treat, maybe homemade, maybe not but surely it was far better than anything that might have come home in my mother’s shopping bags. Yes, it was definitely the candy that made Halloween, or was it? On taking a deeper look, it wasn’t the candy, it was the unknown nature of it, the excitement of what was behind a door that wasn’t my own. I can almost feel the thrill of that wait between the ringing of the doorbell and the unveiling of the new treat!
Those were the days of ‘Trick or Treat’ in the 50’s and many a sitcom have been made of those iconized days of fun and innocence which is the way many of us want to remember them but today is a very different world and keeping our children safe and healthy is far more in the forefront of parents’ minds. There is a great deal to be said in favor of today’s awareness and the opportunities it brings to not only safeguard our children but to educate and gently form habits of better nutrition. But there is no need whatsoever to sacrifice the fun, the make believe, the silly, scary stories told by flash light or the anticipation of the unknown, it just takes a little imagination on the part of the parents which also allows them to participate in a joyful family event.
In standing in line at the checkout counter of my local grocery store, I saw a number of family magazines with Halloween ideas for parties, decorations, games, costumes and stories along with a variety of healthy treats and nutritious snacks. Even this weeks newspaper food section had “Witches Fingers” made with baby carrots and there are all kinds of funny faces to be made of various vegetables and punch with floating “hands” made by filling a non-powdered vinyl gloves with water or juice, tying the “wrist” and freezing until solid. I have no doubt todays moms excel at imagination just in order to keep up with the children of the digital age but I hope they also remember this is a great opportunity to create wonderful, healthy and nutritious treats and snacks and perhaps even introduce the age-old idea of bobbing for apples to the delighted squeals of children.
Fun doesn’t need to be burdened with sugar, starch and fat nor do we need to introduce that as part of what will be a remembered tradition for years to come. On the contrary, what a great opportunity to gently cultivate good habits in ourselves and our children for better health and fitness by enjoying the alternatives in a playful, fun environment. Paying attention to every aspect of how we care for ourselves and our children will pay great dividends and make obesity and lack of energy a thing of the past. What’s it to be? Trick or Treat?
Written by Kathleen White