Have a Healthy Halloween?

Pre-packaged ideas for some healthy trick or treats!

It's Halloween and you have three choices when the legions of devils, witches, Harry Potters and Darth Vaders ring your doorbell. One: You can shout, "Bah humbug!" out the window and deliver your speech on the evils of refined sugar and capitalist holidays. Two: You can cave in and buy big packages of artificially flavored and colored transfat bombs. Or three: You can find some healthy, pre-packaged alternatives you'll feel great about offering to pint-size ghoulies.

Why pre-packaged? While there may be a few small towns left where everyone knows everyone and wholesome homemade treats are still a Halloween handout option, for most of us they trigger fears of razor blades and poison. If you do slave for hours over a hot stove lovingly crafting organic peanut butter cups or candy corn, you run the risk of having all that effort go to waste. It seems that the universal code of Halloween safety tips calls for parents to inspect everything and remove any non-packaged or homemade morsels from the goody bag. Here are some great ideas for organic, natural, pre-packaged options that will pass the inspection.

Endangered Species "Halloween Treats" are all-natural, dark or milk-chocolate bites. They are 100% ethically traded meaning the company buys at competitive rates from small family-owned cacao farms that operate in harmony with nature. These are delicious individually wrapped chocolates AND 10% of net profits goes to great causes. A "Halloween Treat" bag of 24 costs $3.99 at my local natural food store. This is the same company that makes the irresistible organic chocolate Bug Bites strategically positioned near the checkout of many healthy food stores. Bug Bites are also good Halloween fare.

Global Exchange is offering a couple very cool fair trade options for Halloween. The best is their $15 "Fair Trade Trick or Treat Action Kit." This awareness raising kit includes a bag of fair trade chocolate candy to hand out and a "Fair Trade is Boo-tiful" poster. It also has Halloween postcards with information to raise awareness about fair trade and to send to Nestle to ask them to use fair trade chocolate in their products. The action kit also contains a recycled candy bag to hit the streets with and Mexican party streamers. The Global Exchange Store also offers 100% biodegradable bags of Swiss Fair Trade organic chocolate pieces ($7.95 for a bag of 42) for your trick or treaters.

Other options for chocolaty treats come from Nspired Natural Foods such as their Sun Drops which are all natural chocolate with a candy-coated shell similar to M&Ms® but without the artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Sun Drops come in a variety of choices such as original, peanut, blueberry and cranberry. Small 1.3oz bags, which run about $0.50 each, are the perfect size for Halloween.

A non-chocolate handout choice is the 100% natural and 100% fruit leather from Stretch Island Fruit Company. Among their offerings is the "organic smooshed fruit" FruitaBü which runs about $0.50 each if you buy a package of 30. These are very sweet and gooey, delightful to kids, but with no sugar added and no fat or sodium.

Other ideas include ginger candy from Ginger People — you can get a 2lb bag for $10.00 on their website. Other organic snack and granola bars are good options such as those made by Clif Bar and Barbara's Bakery.

If all these choices still don't wow you, why not just wrap up the money you would have spent on sugary treats? Put environmentally friendly sacks of coins in the bowl for the kids to put toward the latest and last Lemony Snicket, their college fund, or their refined white sugar blast of choice.

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