Monday, October 1, 2012

Tricky treat. How do you do Halloween without artificial dyes??

I LOVE Halloween. It's my second favorite holiday after Christmas. Just ask Maggie's teacher, since she's been in Halloween festive garb every day this month.

But since starting Feingold, Halloween has gotten a little tricky. A little tricky-or-treaty. Ha ha.

How does a mom avoid artificial dyes and flavors during a holiday that seems dedicated to them? 

I'm still a rookie but here are a few tricks. Or treats. Ha ha.

First off, I have to recognize and prepare for the fact that regardless of my efforts, some junk is going to sneak past Ike and he may have a reaction. That's just life. I will have lots of vitamin C and Epsom salt for baths on hand (my de-toxers) and hope he fades into the background at school since most of the other kindergartners will also be bouncing off the walls from their doses of sugar, dye and sleep deprivation. Heck, compared to them, Ike may shine.

What about trick or treat candy?

The fun of Halloween is going door to door and amassing your hoard, not necessarily in the consuming of it. I know that my kids don't care much about candy by November 1 because after it goes on top of the fridge, it is soon ignored by everyone but their increasingly rounder parents. Within a couple of weeks I will have thrown out the lame, daddy-picked-over stuff that's left.

So what to do with the candy from tonight? In our house, I offer to buy it back from them. Last year I went to Whole Foods and spent a small fortune on natural candy. At the end of the evening, I let them have a little of their not-so-bad loot, and then they traded in the rest for a natural alternative.

This year, I told them they could choose that option, trading me for UnReal Candy, new at Target (THANK YOU TARGET), or they could choose $10 to spend on Amazon. All of them but Ike chose Amazon.

What do to about the kids who come to our doors? I wish I could just buy them regular candy and go on with my life, but I just can't. I believe so strongly that artificial dyes and flavors are toxic that I can't serve them to any children, whether I do their laundry or not. 

So tomorrow (yes, Halloween day, because every year, the night before Halloween, I go oh! Shoot! Trick or treaters are coming! What am I gonna give the trick or treaters?!) I am headed to the dollar store to see what I can find to substitute for candy - playdoh, stickers, what not. Throw in some peppermint LifeSavers and we're good to go.

So what about parties? 

We will be going to a neighborhood party tomorrow and I will hover over him like I always do, encouraging him to make healthier choices, and reminding myself it's not the end of the world if he doesn't.

What about classroom parties?

Ike and Maggie are both having parties in their classes tomorrow where they will decorate cookies. I volunteered to bring the icing and the toppings so that I could exert some control of this.

Here are the toppings I'm taking to Ike's room. Not all of these are Feingold approved, but they are all natural. Notice the big bag of natural chocolate chips that  Costco just began carrying. THANK YOU COSTCO. I also found the only Wilton sprinkles that had no food coloring so that the babies can do the sprinkle shake.

I think they'll be okay with these, don't you? Gummy worms, y'all. Nuff said?

For the icing, Maggie's room mom requested white frosting. I wanted to just buy the cans, I really did. But look at what's in plain "white" frosting.

Titatanium dioxide, yellow 5 and red 40 scare me way more than Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman. {shudder}

So I made the icing for Maggie's class at home

by mixing cream cheese and powdered sugar, which is as easy a recipe as you can imagine and tastes like a big fat glob of heaven.  Emphasis on the word fat. It took five minutes and cost about a dollar more than a can of the chemicals - even with organic cream cheese.

I really wanted Ike's to be orange though. Guess what's orange and not made from petroleum products?

I wish you could see this orange frosting, it was just gorgeous.

And no, it did not taste like carrots. These two goblins promise.

That's how we're handling Halloween this year. What about you? Got any more tricks? Or treats? Ha ha.

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