First and foremost, I must admit that I am not a Paleo Perfectionist by any means. I do my best on a daily basis, but as you can tell from my current book, Paleo Indulgences, I like to bake, I like a sweet treat occasionally, and I don’t want my kids to ever feel left out because of something as simple as food. However, when it comes to those occasional treats, I want them to be with quality ingredients, real foods and as healthy as I can make it, but still love the taste and texture. Like I always say, it can be the healthiest thing possible, but if no one eats it because it tastes bad, then it really didn’t matter that it was good for you.
So when we originally became aware of our food allergies, that first Halloween I panicked. How was I going to enjoy the holiday, let the kids trick-or-treat, and still not allow gluten, dairy & nuts for my youngest, and artificial colors and flavors into their little tummies?
My solution that year was to create a Halloween Store for the kids. I stocked up on mom-approved treats and non-food treats, then after the trick-or-treating, we came home and commenced with the Halloween Store where the kids essentially “bought” the good stuff with the bad stuff. We’ve been doing this for years now and I am surprised and thrilled that my girls talk more about, and are more excited about, the Store than they are about trick-or-treating! Who knew? And this year is shaping up to be the same. They’ve been talking about the Store for weeks and wondering what will be for sale this year!
Here’s how it works…I usually set up a table with some Fall decorations and then display all of the items “for sale.” Then I act as the Halloween Witch (This is in direct contrast to my everyday personality so the kids get a kick out of it. Really!) and the kids “buy” the good treats with their nasty trick-or-treat candy. I don’t have a set “price” but make it up as I go, to ensure all of their bad candy gets “spent.” I charge maybe 2 pieces of candy for a good lollipop, and maybe 25 pieces for a large piece of dark chocolate or a puzzle. The kids really get into it, picking out the things they want (I buy the same for both to keep it fair, but they enjoy selecting what they want as they go.)
This was our solution to a problem of wanting the kids to be a part of something our society celebrates, but still mainting our food values to a degree. So far, it has been a win-win for this family! Keep in mind your needs as far as food allergies and what you’re ok with as a once-a-year splurge for the kids. We don’t do gluten, grains, artificial colors or flavors. Those are our strict limits. We will allow some dairy in the chocolate (except for our youngest who can’t do dairy) and some organic sugar. Those we can compromise on for this one day. I also try not to overdo the treats and balance them with non-food items so that they aren’t eating sugar for the next month.
Here’s what I’ve got on the table this year:
How do you survive this sugar coated holiday? I’d love to hear if you try a Store and what you’re kids think of it! And feel free to post your ideas for Halloween treats that won’t scare you to death! Happy Halloween!