Tips for A Happy and Food Safe Halloween

BOO! Here it comes again, the official (unofficial) holiday of Halloween! There is no doubt, it is beloved by children and adults alike. The costumes, decorations and freaky/fun tricks and treats are wickedly delightful for those who participate before colder weather changes activity opportunities. To ensure it is fun for everyone, set expectations – your goblins and ghouls should know the food safety rules ahead of time to set the stage for happy smiles versus scowls and howls. Here are some ‘tricks” for caregivers hoping for a howling good time!

  1. Eat before you go out – some great Halloween treat ideas to set the stage are right here (with spooky music!) on Price Chopper YouTube and Pinterest boards. That will make it easier to create the plan that parents/guardians must check items before eating. We have treats for adults too – pumpkin everything and fall favorites to fuel your fun.
  2. Children should be taught/shown not to accept treats that aren’t commercially wrapped. Throw away anything that is torn, has pinholes, or looks unusual in any way. Fresh fruit, if accepted, should be carefully checked and washed before eating.
  3. If your child has a food allergy, you already know that treats are tricky. Verify Epi-pens are not expired and are readily available. Always check the labels of each item. Some homes may have a teal-colored pumpkin to signal they have some treats without some allergens, but adults must still check the individual items before eating. The same goes for gluten free candy – The Celiac Disease Foundation has published their 2022 Gluten Free Halloween Candy list – you can download and print the pdf here.
  4. Ages and stages – some candies are choking hazards for smaller children. Gum, hard candies, peanuts and even small toys could be a concern.
  5. How much and how often should be part of the plan – a national poll shows 78% of parents plan for about two pieces of candy per day. That helps children learn candy can be part of eating well.
  6. Flashlights, candy, party supplies and more are all at your local store and online waiting for you to create a “monster” good time. Happy Halloween!



Composting Tips & Tricks

Reduce waste through composting! Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste are examples of compost, but usually these items are thrown away, rather than being composted. Making compost keeps these items out of landfills where they release methane and take up space.

All composting requires three ingredients: browns, greens, and water. Browns being dead leaves, branches, twigs. Greens being grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, coffee grounds. And the right amount of water.

Any time is a good time to start composting, but spring is particularly advantageous. In spring, you can use the warmer weather to your advantage along with the increased activity of microorganisms and creatures. By composting, you will enrich your soil by retaining moisture and suppressing plant diseases and pests. You will also reduce your need for chemical fertilizers and methane emissions from landfills, lowering your carbon footprint.

For backyard composting, select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile. Add even amounts of browns and greens, making sure the larger pieces are shredded or chopped. For dry materials, make sure they are moistened as they are added to the pile. Once you have built your compost pile, mix grass clippings and green waste in and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of material.

If you don’t have a proper space for outdoor composting, you can do so indoors with a specialized composting bin. When properly managed, an indoor bin will not attract pests or give off an unwanted scent.

Check out some more composting tricks:

  1. Fats, pet droppings, or animal dropping should not be compost. They will attract pests and can spread disease.
  2. Shredded newspaper or plain white paper works great as compost!
  3. Plants that have been treated with pesticides should not be used.
  4. Straw is an excellent source of carbon for your compost pile.
  5. Kitchen waste such as vegetable peels, fruit rinds, coffee grounds, tea bags, and egg shells can be fed to worms. Meat and dairy products should be avoided.
  6. Woody stalks or corn cobs usually decompose slower, smash with a hammer to make it easier for the microorganisms in your pile to break them down.
  7. Too many browns will make your pile hard to break-down. Too many greens will make your pile too smelly. Try layering each evenly.
  8. The more you add at once the quicker your pile will heat up. One big meal is better than several small snacks.
  9. When finished your pile should look, feel, and smell like rich, dark soil. The items you added should be unrecognizable.
  10. Relax, and stick to the process. Eventually you will make a great compost!

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