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Making Safe Halloween Treat Choices
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Halloween is a great time of year to be a kid, especially when you're old enough to go trick or treating! Listing the perks in order from worst to best would be: free candy, free candy, and free candy!

However, for parents Halloween can be somewhat of a nightmare for the exact same reasons. Sending their children out door to door on a sugar-fueled rampage can have disastrous effects on their sleep as well as their health. Most particularly when it comes to overflowing bags and pillowcases full of candy that your kids will have by the end of the night.

Don't fret though, there are plenty of great alternatives out there to traditional candies that will leave the kids satisfied and their parents happy that you're looking out for their childrens' health and their sanity.

The first thing we should look at is why candy is and isn't the best choice for Halloween. I'm sure we all remember when we were kids running door to door and holding out our treat sacks for candy, but times have changed.

People are more health conscious (as they should be) which means that for some, candy is a less and less desirable treat to hand out. The reason being is that sugar, despite its tasty effects on foods and candy, leads to weight gain when consumed in large quantities, but also has been linked to diabetes in many cases. While one night of sugary goodness will likely not have such a drastic effect on someone's health, parents looking out for their kids' nutrition will surely appreciate a healthier alternative to the classic chocolate bar or hard candy.

Another reason that you might want to avoid candy and sugary snacks is the energy boost and inevitable subsequent "sugar crash" that comes later. You wouldn't want your kids running up the walls all night only to be sick to their stomachs a few hours later because of too much candy, would you?

So, if you're not supposed to give out candy, what should you give out? Well, there are a lot of great options depending on your situation.

If you absolutely have to give out candy on Halloween, consider a sugar free alternative. There are plenty of sugar free suckers and hard candies that taste just as good without all the harmful effects sugar will have on your little trick or treaters.

Another fantastic and unexpected option comes in the form of popcorn balls! Not only are they tasty and easy to make, but they're much healthier than straight up chocolate sugary candy. One thing to watch for is whether or not parents will accept home made treats, not everyone has good intentions on Halloween. Luckily, there are premade, pre-packaged popcorn balls available, ensuring that they haven't been tampered with.

If you don't want to give out food but still want to give kids a Halloween treat they'll love, spooky accessories like themed Halloween rings (neon colored spiders are a favorite) or glow necklaces and bracelets are often found cheaply this time of year for parties.

This brings us to treats you should avoid this Halloween, along with some general Halloween treat safety. Like I said before, not everyone has good intentions in giving treats this Halloween, otherwise the story of the Halloween razor apple wouldn't be so well known.

One of the major red flags for parents is treats that haven't been pre-packaged. Whether simply because they don't know how the treats were handled prior to being handed out (did these people wash their hands? are the candies safe?), parents won't know if someone has tampered with the treats to harm their children.

It's a general good rule of thumb to simply toss out any loose candies or those with torn or damaged wrappers. Despite good intentions, fruits like apples or oranges should also be avoided.

Last but not least, money is often not an acceptable Halloween treat. Whether you ran out of candy before you expected to or simply forgot to stock your treat bowl, parents might not want their children to be handed cash, not to mention the potential for accidentally swallowing small coins with younger children reaching into their candy bags.

Everyone wants to make sure their children have a happy and safe Halloween. Making the right treat choices when preparing for little ghosts and goblins to come knocking at your door can not just make the kids' night, but set their parents' minds at ease knowing that someone else is also looking out for their childrens' health and safety as well.

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UPDATED Oct. 20th, 2013

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