Happy Halloween!

October 14, 2009

We know you are getting ready for the big day this Saturday. Parties, costumes, candy!

We know you are getting ready for the big day this Saturday. Parties, costumes, candy! But did you know that the Halloween we’re familiar with today began around 2,000 years ago in the United Kingdom and Northwestern France as a festival to mark the end of summer? In the 800s, All Saints Day was established - which was also referred to as All Hallows. Halloween is actually the eve of All Hallows, which is how it was eventually named.

It’s come a long way, to say the least. The National Retail Federation predicts that this Halloween we will spend a record $6 billion on costumes, cards, candy and decorations.

The typical person here in the U.S. plans to spend an average of $65 on Halloween merchandise this year — $20 more than five years ago. And the typical household plans to spend an average of $22 this year just on “treats,” according to the National Confectioners Association.

At SupermarketGuru.com we recommend, if you haven’t already done so, to set a budget. It is easy to get carried away in the supermarket with all those bags of miniature candies and candy corn. And of course with an excuse to buy candy, our personal preferences and desires may cloud our thoughts. Put aside your own likes and head to the dollar store, Save-A-Lot, grocery Outlet or Aldi — these stores typically have the best buys on candies. 

Be sensitive to the food needs of your party guests and trick or treaters.  Halloween is a fun holiday but when it comes to food safety and food allergies, we all need to be serious.

Parents who have children with allergies need to be very careful about monitoring the candy their children eat. Reading labels is extremely important as some candies contain ingredients such as peanuts, tree nuts, wheat or milk that you would never assume were there.

To assist parents, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network offers these tips to help keep your children safe while having fun on Halloween:

• Create a “candy swap” so that allergen-containing candies can be traded for other treats such as stickers or toys.

• Take the focus off of trick-or-treating by hosting a costume party that emphasizes fun instead of candy. Stickers, pencils, spider rings and stamps are great alternatives for goody bags.

• Provide neighbors with allergy-safe candies for your child or ask neighbors to hand out only candy with individualized labels — so kids with allergies can determine whether the treat is safe to eat or not.

• Teach children to politely refuse offers of cookies and other homemade treats.

• Remember that candy ingredients can vary for different sizes of the same product such as full-size candy bars and their miniature versions, which are not always individually labeled.

If you anticipate trick-or-treaters visiting your home, allow kids to have a choice of candy as most kids with food allergies will be able to recognize which brands or types they are allergic to. It is also a great idea to offer non-candy treats, like Halloween themed pencils, spider rings, stickers etc.

As a reminder, the eight most common food allergens include, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.), soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. It’s best to give your trick-or-treaters a choice, or if hosting a party to have a variety of choices, you can even encourage allergic guests to prepare a treat that all can enjoy. Remember to keep packages handy, so if you have allergic guests or visitors, they are able to access ingredient lists and safely enjoy the treats you have prepared or purchased. 

Don't forget SupermarketGuru’s Food Costume Contest...
SupermarketGuru.com is hosting our very own – and first ever - Halloween costume contest. The only requirement is that your costume has to be food-related! For more information, rules and requirements click here
Happy Halloween!