How much candy is too much? Parents find alternatives to traditional Halloween treats

SEATTLE -- Halloween is the season for treats, but it doesn’t always have to be the unhealthy kind.

Parents are making an effort to teach and practice healthy holiday traditions, that can be fun. Nutritional therapist, Stephanie Vuolo is one of those moms who faces that question each year: “How many pieces of candy 'should' my child eat?”

“I don’t have the answer of what works best for your family,” she said. “I allow my daughter one or two pieces of the healthiest candy choices. The rest disappears via the Candy Fairy, who leaves a present in return.”

The concept of the "Candy Fairy" is popular in Vuolo’s home because it allows her daughter to trade her big bag of candy in for something she may value more.

Dentists often use a similar tactic to keep their patients away from sweet treats. Local dentist offices participate in the Halloween Candy Buyback Program and then send the candy through Operation Gratitude to U.S. troops overseas.

Red Tricycle created a list of Seattle-area dentists participating this year:

    Another reason parents are focusing on tricks, instead of treats, is a new campaign called the Teal Pumpkin Project. Many families have children with severe life-threatening food allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a national campaign by the Food Allergy Research & Education organization to help protect those children. They encourage families to provide non-food treats to trick-or-treaters. To let other families know your house is allergy safe, they recommend painting a pumpkin teal to place in front of your home or hang up their free, printable sign.

    But not all treats should be treated fairly, according to Vuolo. She says there are many alternatives to the traditional candy bars you may find in your pillowcase on Halloween night. To see a complete list of her suggestions for organic, non high-fructose corn syrup treats, see her Primarily Paleo blog post on "Tricks or Treasures."