Keep Halloween Parties Fun and Healthy

Posted: October 22, 2012

If you’re hosting a Halloween party for children, focus more on having fun and less on the food and candy...

 Childhood obesity is increasing at an alarming rate so keep kids active and serve healthy foods.

     Get children up and moving at the party. Have them bob for apples, play relay games, decorate pumpkins, or play pin a heart on a scarecrow. 

     When serving refreshments, select healthful foods. Here are a few ideas:

     * Provide nutritious treats such as trail mix, pretzels, popcorn, fresh fruits, vegetables with dips, and cheese and low fat crackers. Instead of sugar laden sodas make a punch with 100 percent fruit juices.

     * Serve "finger foods" that could include baby carrots, low fat cream cheese, sliced almonds and salsa. Place cream cheese on carrot tips and press in almonds to get a literal "finger food." 

     * Use cookie cutters to shape sandwiches into pumpkins, witches and ghosts.

* For treat bags, consider giving:

  packages of low-fat crackers with cheese or peanut butter
     gold fish crackers
     packaged fruit leather
     mini boxes of raisins 
     pencils and erasers
     play jewelry
     hair ribbons and barrettes
     match-book cars
     packaged beef jerky
     sidewalk chalk 

     Remember to keep safety in mind for your party. Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls. Keep candle-lit jack-o’-lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
Karen Thomas is a family and consumer sciences educator for Penn State Extension in Lackawanna County.