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Thoughtful Treats

Candy is a delicious accent to any All Hollows’ Eve party or trick-or-treat fare, and if small children are gathered around, the sweet stuff is probably a necessity. There are other options besides the mass-marketed packaged variety if you are interested in handing out better candy.

When choosing candies, opt for items that are preservative free and have no synthetic colors or flavor additives. In lieu of the traditional, consider things like veggies, organic juice boxes, pretzels, trail mixes and popcorn that are often seasonally packaged by companies to highlight fall festivities. Some schools and community gatherings may require store-bought items instead of homemade, so try and find packaging made from recycled materials and look for fair and equal trade labeled sweets.

Also, a candy problem that may not be very well known, but is being addressed by the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is that certain candy makers use palm oil, which when used in the massive quantities required by demanding modern markets causes immense deforestation as well as jeopardizes native species by infringing on their environments and food sources. Especially stricken areas include Indonesia and Malaysia. The zoo tries to raise awareness of this problem, and encourages candy consumers to buy items that are certified by the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil.

Creating your own treats is a great way to practice quality control. Incorporating seasonal ingredients into celebratory treats like caramel apples, ciders, miniature pies and desserts makes for good party noshing.  Also, try making your own healthier versions of your favorite treats. For instance, if you love chocolate and peanut butter confections, melt a bit of premium chocolate and pour half-full in a wax paper dessert cup or a chilled, dry mini-cupcake tin. Put a bit of natural peanut or almond butter on top of the chocolate, then layer with more melted chocolate. Let it sit until solid, and enjoy. Once you experiment with your own recipes, you will probably be swayed to leave the store bought variety on the mediocre shelf.

If you would like to do a little more with your festivities, UNICEF is a wonderful way to both get and give a treat. You can pick up a collection carton, available directly from the charity and at participating stores, and ask for donations as you trick-or-treat. This thoughtful idea has been going on since 1950 when a group of children from the U.S. resourcefully crafted up their milk cartons and sought to raise money for less fortunate children. UNICEF then began their annual trick-or-treat collection campaign, which has since raised millions, fortunately surpassing their first donations, which totaled $17.00.

Millions of children worldwide now lend their hands each year to help other children in need, who are spread across 150 countries. Their honorable collections provide basic resources like safe food and water, educational materials and emergency supplies. So, keep those pioneering school kids and their teachers in mind when you think the little things won’t add up to much!

By handing out treats that are considerate of the people that produced them or by electing to give a smarter choice, you can concentrate on the fun.


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