‘Switch Witch’: 16 strategies for Halloween fun without the ‘sugar coma’

2013-10-30T07:00:00Z 2013-10-30T15:39:36Z ‘Switch Witch’: 16 strategies for Halloween fun without the ‘sugar coma’Caleb Warnock - DAILY HERALD Daily Herald
October 30, 2013 7:00 am  • 
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  • You know the drill — outfit the kids in photo-worthy costumes and let them run the neighborhood to fill buckets of candy. Then comes a saturnalia of sugar — and when you try to reign it in, the little cuties’ behavior can become less than adorable. The Daily Herald has reached out to the experts to compile suggests that keep the fun but short the sugar in your children’s Halloween this year.

  • The best way to stave off a sugar coma is to feed children first, according to Leslie Smoot of Real Foods Market in Orem. “The art of trick-or-treating begins with a good pot of chili,” Smoot has said. “A good homemade chili will fill the family with a delicious bowl of nutrition before everyone runs out the door to collect treats. Our chef at Real Foods Market makes a large batch of chili every Halloween. It is a perfect solution for families on a busy Halloween night.” Parents should eat first too. “This same strategy can also help children and parents avoid overeating at a Halloween party,” Mindy Probst, registered dietitian at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, has said.

  • “For my family, Halloween used to kick off a two-month sugar high that would inevitably end in January with a New Year’s resolution to eat better and live a healthier lifestyle,” said Betsy Schow, of Alpine, who is the author of the book, “Finished Being Fat.” “That changed a few years ago when I lost 75 pounds and needed to find ways to keep it off for good. Even if you’re not a recovering junk foodaholic, little tweaks can have big impacts for you and your kids. A little sugar is nice, but a lot can lead to more than just the sugar crash.”

  • Smoot suggests mini boxes of raisins, nut butter packets, SeaSnax roasted seaweed snacks, cheese sticks, water bottles, candy tarts, Spry gum (made with xylitol instead of aspartame), individually wrapped macaroon cookies or brownies, snack bars, granola bars or seed bars such as “Bumble Bars,” or beef or turkey jerky sticks.

  • Dollar stores and party stores have inexpensive packs of party favors, such as a bag of plastic jewel rings, pinball games, themed glasses, rubber balls, toy watches, bead necklaces, magic games, stickers, temporary tattoos, and more.

  • Schow suggests roasted pumpkin seeds topped with pumpkin pie spice or sandwich bags of popcorn tossed in pumpkin spice.

  • String cheese, pre-packaged individual Tillamook cheese slices, or miniature packs of cheese curd can be purchased at local stores and are always a favorite of kids.

  • Draw cute Jack-O-Lantern faces on clementines to make adorable pumpkin lookalikes that double as a healthy treat. Clementines are full of Vitamin C that helps boost immune function -- important since Halloween happens to fall right during cold season, said Raven Albertson of the Food Sense Nutrition Education Program at the Provo office of the Utah State University Extension.

  • Dehydrated fruits are chewy, while freeze-dried fruits have a satisfying crunch packed with flavor, said Albertson. Not only that but these high-fiber foods are naturally sweet and are a great way to sneak in a serving of fruits and vegetables.

  • “You can even find vitamin-fortified chocolate milk mixes and hey -- milk does a body good!” said Albertson. “Nix the sugar and keep your spooky skeleton’s bones strong!”

  • Schow creates these activity packs with a Halloween-themed coloring page and stickers and a crayon or two into a sandwich bag, or novelty toys like spider rings, fangs, temporary tattoos, spooky pencils.

  • Schow hands out small sandwich bags of homemade “monster dough” in black, green or orange.

    Monster Dough (courtesy Betsy Schow)

    • 1/2 cup of salt
    • 1 cup of water
    • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
    • 1 cup of flour
    • 1 tablespoon of oil
    • 3-4 drops food coloring

    In a pot, mix water and food coloring. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook on medium heat for about four minutes while stirring constantly. Remove from heat and knead for 3-4 minutes when dough has cooled enough to handle. Store in plastic bags.

  • “Like Santa or the Tooth Fairy, the Switch Witch visits children while they sleep and leaves a prize. But in this case the prize makes parents happy too, because she swaps it for that overflowing sack of Halloween candy,” suggests Parents.com.

  • An alternative to “switching” the candy during the night is to negotiate a trade with the kids face to face. “Find something your kids want more than candy and allow them to trade their candy in for it,” Schow said. “The Brooks family of Highland has been using this strategy for years, with no complaints from their four children, ages 12, 9, 6 and 4. One year, the trade was for money. Another year it was for toys and another was for dinner and a movie.”

  • (Courtesy of Provo Extension Service)

    • An 8-ounce bottle of Elmer’s Glue.
    • 1-2 drops food coloring
    • ½ cup warm water
    • 1 teaspoon Borax powder

    Empty the entire bottle of glue into a mixing bowl. Fill the empty bottle with warm water, replace the lid and shake. Pour the water into the bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix warm water and Borax. Slowly stir into the glue solution, which will begin to turn into strands of slime. Use your hands to continue mixing. To hand out to trick-or-treaters, divide into small portions and seal into a zipper plastic bag. Label the bag as slime and not edible. For more ideas, visit the Extension Service nutrition blog at cookingitsasnap.blogspot.com.

  •  (Courtesy of Provo Extension Service)

    • 1 cup corn syrup (commonly sold as Karo Syrup)
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 2 tablespoons of red food coloring
    • 3-4 drops green food coloring

    Combine all ingredients in a blender for a few seconds. Adjust the amount of green food coloring to make the fake blood more brownish-red. To hand out to trick-or-treaters, divide into small portions and seal into a zipper plastic bag. Label the bag as slime and not edible. For more ideas, visit the Extension Service nutrition blog at cookingitsasnap.blogspot.com.

  • (Courtesy of Provo Extension Service)

    You will need: paper, paint brush, milk, light. For trick-or-treaters, hand out paper and paint brushes with instructions on writing secret messages. By using milk as an ‘ink’ it is possible to write a message on white paper that will be ‘invisible’ until held over a light. The light will shine through the writing revealing the secret message. For more ideas, visit the Extension Service nutrition blog at cookingitsasnap.blogspot.com.

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