Trick or Treat

Celebrating Halloween changes when your kids grow up. And it shifts again as the grandchildren grow older too. This is perfect, as it is the way of things and signifies growth. I was mindful of the day, as I took care of business and ran errands, celebrating in small and joyful ways.

I also had a decision to make. As one who no longer eats sugar, I felt conflicted about handing out sugary treats to trick or treaters.

From that place of desiring to offer more, the Trick or Treat Experiment was born.

My own nod to Halloween was simple. Tropical Smoothie Cafe hosted a Hogwarts Day event. As a fan of the Harry Potter books and films, I stopped by to have a pic taken with the Headmaster, Dumbledore, and pick up a fruit smoothie.

No need to try on the Sorting Hat. I already know I am in the House of Slytherin.

On this day only, Tropical Smoothie Cafe offers a Butterbeer Smoothie, in honor of Hogwarts Day. Because of its high sugar content, I opted instead for a refreshingly tart cranberry strawberry smoothie, with no sugar. It was just what I needed for an afternoon pick me up.

At the grocery store, I made a decision about what to offer trick or treaters. We can’t hand out fresh fruit, for safety reasons. Unfortunately, fruit can be tampered with. But happily, I found fruit snacks in little sealed give away bags, and mini fruit roll ups. These aren’t as healthy as a banana or apple would be, but at 45 calories and 6 grams of sugar, they are a better alternative to candy bars.

I purchased a bag of mini Kit Kat bars as well. I don’t want to be that crazy health lady who forces a different lifestyle on others. But what if I offered a choice? Given the option of a Kit Kat bar, with 210 calories and 21 grams of sugar, or a packaged fruit snack, which would kids choose?

I was about to find out.

I offered the bowl of treats to each trick or treater, without influencing the child’s decision. I let them choose, and kept a running tally in my head.

Given the opportunity to choose, the majority of the kids asked, politely, if they could have more than one treat. Of course, I replied. Help yourself. And they did, with grins and words of thanks.

At the end of the evening, here were the results. More fruit snacks were chosen than candy bars. The mini fruit roll ups were the night’s winner. Among kids that selected two snacks, if they picked up a candy bar, they also grabbed a fruit snack as well. And often, those who chose two treats selected two fruit snacks.

With the group of kids that came to my door, it appears that given a choice, most of them preferred a fruit snack. I felt ridiculously pleased with the trick or treat experiment! This gives me hope that a generation is rising that will be more health conscious.

Trick or treat? Treat…especially when it is a low sugar one. I have a year to see what other options are out there, for even healthier treats. Perhaps next year my choices will be fruit snacks…or cashews!

My Halloween costume…a Slytherin pin.

Journey 304: Halloween Party

My niece Ashley and her husband Jon, and my sister Debbie really know how to throw a party! Halloween is their favorite holiday and they spend months transforming their lovely home into something decidedly other. Last year, we entered the Lauderdale Asylum. This year’s theme was a haunted hotel, the Thirestane Hotel, named after after the family castle in Scotland. 


What those three do for this party goes way beyond decorating. Almost every room in the house under goes renovation, even the bathrooms. Food is plentiful and wonderfully twisted to match the holiday. Everyone arrives in costume. And some of the props and framed art are clues. The game is to figure out what spooky show they are from. The children all went trick or treating, with a host of parents and adults as guardians. And because today was Aubrey’s 7th birthday, Ashley had a cake for her and we sang to this dear girl as she blew out the candles. 


In this case, pictures are worth so much more than words. Welcome to the Thirlestane Hotel. 


Ashley, Jon and Debbie built a check in desk, complete with a guest book to sign in with, using a quill pen. 


This very cool photo, inspired by The Shining, had all the adults in the family, and Dayan, photoshopped in. It was fun to find everyone and each family left with a copy. 



I’m Helen the tourist, separated from my tour group. 


Greg as “Ben Noah Ware”, part of my tour group. 



My kids: Elissa – Sims character. Nathanael – Storm Trooper. Adriel – Cruella DeVil 

Nathanael (he made his storm trooper costume, except for the helmet and boots), Megan, Joey, Oliver & Aubrey


Jonathan, Josh, Elissa & Dayan. They were all characters from video games. 

 Adriel & Nate. Looks like Cruella has her first puppy!


Ashley, Jon, Kaleb & Ethan

 Scott, Roy, Linda holding Lola, Nicole holding Weston


Christel & Bryan

 Debbie, Mom, Walter, Linda, me


Siblings – Debbie, Linda, Bryan, me




 The birthday girl…is she naughty or nice? 😉


This was so clever! A photo wall built so that the pictures could be removed and we could stand behind and become the photos. Ethan, Dayan, Jonathan, Oliver, Kaleb, Joey & Aubrey

What a fun night, spent with family. All of my children, their spouses or finance, and all five grandchildren were able to be present, which is a rarity with everyone’s schedules. My whole family was there except for my nephew Eric and his wife and daughters. He had to work this evening. 

A huge thank you to Debbie, Ashley and Jon. Their creativity, hard work and generosity make this yearly event one that we all look forward to. As we left, the theme for next year was already being discussed. We are all excited to see it unfold.