Extension and Ag Research News


Trick or Treat?

Children soon will be haunting neighborhoods and malls, extending their buckets and bags in the pursuit of candy and other treats.

By Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

My children recently were discussing past Halloweens as though they were old-timers.

""Do you remember the Halloween where the guy gave us cans of pop?"" my 10-year-old son asked.

""Yes, I remember. Our buckets were really heavy after that!" his 7-year-old sister said.

I remembered it, too. I lugged two plastic pumpkin buckets filled with candy and cans of pop for blocks when they got tired.

""How about the Halloween when it was raining and we didn't get much candy?"" he quizzed.

She looked puzzled.

""She's too young to remember. You were only about four and she was one,"" I noted.

I remembered that Halloween very well. I ran two blocks carrying my young son and his bucket in the pouring rain. We put our sopping wet clothes right in the washer.

It's time again to pull out the plastic pumpkins and find silly costumes. Children soon will be haunting neighborhoods and malls, extending their buckets and bags in the pursuit of candy and other treats.

Candy is part of our ""discretionary calories."" Too many ""extra"" calories can lead to weight gain, so moderation is advised.

The good news is that enjoying some candy on occasion may have some health benefits. Dark chocolate, for example, contains antioxidant compounds shown to be healthy for the heart.

A study of Harvard alums done a few years ago showed that people who ate an occasional piece of candy on average lived almost a year longer. More candy, however, didn't necessarily mean longer life.

The longest lives were linked with eating some candy one to three times a month. Yes, that's ""per month"" not ""per day."

To remind kids about moderation after Halloween, have them assemble treats in small plastic ""treat bags"" to enjoy in coming weeks. Encourage them to share with others. Parents need an occasional treat, too.

Candy has a long shelf life. Unlike perishable leftovers, candy doesn't need to be eaten within two or three days.

Before children go trick or treating, feed them a healthy snack so they aren't tempted to nibble on the trick-or-treating journey. Inspect their ""loot"" before they eat it.

If you're selecting treats for young goblins, here are some alternatives. Be sure to consider the child's age so the items given don't pose a choking hazard.

  • Pencils and novelty erasers
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Stickers
  • Backpack key chains
  • Plastic rings or toys
  • Cereal bars
  • Juice boxes

Here's a recipe adapted from the U.S. Apple Association. Enjoy this tasty dip with crisp, tart apples.

Caramel Apple Dip

  • 8 oz. light cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Chopped peanuts (optional)

Beat all ingredients until blended. Garnish with chopped nuts if desired. Serve with freshly sliced apples.

Makes 8 servings. Each serving has 126 calories, 21 grams of carbohydrate and 8 grams of fat.

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, jgardenr@ndsuext.nodak.edu
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136, richard.mattern@ndsu.edu
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