breaking news

Video shows family getting kicked off Southwest Airlines flight; Passengers protest

Halloween hints on costumes, candy and calories

Halloween is almost here ... and here are some tips to save money (and maybe teeth).

Costume deal

We are nearly ready for Halloween at our house. The 4-year-old’s red ninja costume has arrived. I found it for $9.99 on clearance at And I used a coupon code to get 10 percent off that, so I even splurged for the $1.99 plastic nunchucks! (Just use Google to find a promotional code that fits your purchase.) He’s thoroughly enjoying playing dress-up.

The tween and her friends are going the popular route: Lady Gaga wigs, masks and gloves for them all.

She’s already gotten extra mileage out of the $13 wig: She dressed as her history teacher for “celebrity day” at school — and earned an extra class pass.

Free pancakes at IHOP

The people at IHOP promise treats, not tricks, throughout the month of October. IHOP will be featuring Trick or Treat All-You-Can-Eat Buttermilk Pancakes and “design your own” Scary Face Pancakes, which will be given out free — one per child — to kids 12 and younger on Friday, Oct. 29.

Did you know that all IHOP Kids menu items are under 600 calories? Visit for more info and participating stores.

Control candy consumption

And speaking of tradition and nutrition: The Candy ... oh, The Candy ...

Shauna Johnson, nutrition instructor at Wellspring Academies, a residential weight-loss program for overweight teens, sent some great tips on how to keep kids happy and healthy — but not overloaded on sugar.

Her recommendations:

Wait to buy your candy. We tend to eat what’s in the pantry. This year, try waiting until trick-or-treat day to buy your candy or at least hide it somewhere until then.

Plan your own activity. Halloween is about having fun, not hoarding stashes of candy. Corn mazes, haunted houses, even planning your own party are activities that take the focus off sugary treats. (We plan to go to Springboro’s Windmill Farm Market to celebrate the season.)

Limit the amount you grab. It’s hard to not take a handful of anything that’s free, but limiting your children to only one item at each of your stops is a healthy start. At the very least, it’s polite for the trick-or-treaters after them.

Offer healthy alternatives. Don’t worry about getting toilet-papered, not every house needs to offer candied apples. Gum, hard candy, glow sticks/glow necklaces, and plastic rings are all popular, healthy alternatives.

Ration the amount of candy eaten afterward. According to Johnson, the typical dietary recommendation for candy is a maximum intake of 22 pounds per year for a 12-year-old child — a good portion of which can often be eaten in a single night during Halloween. But don’t let doling out the occasional treat haunt you. Offer one after a healthy lunch, exercise or a homework session.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

Sonic Drive-In selling pickle juice slushes
Sonic Drive-In selling pickle juice slushes

As we get closer to summer, Sonic Drive-In will have the perfect slush flavor to cool you down: Pickle juice. Food and Wine reports the fast food restaurant will roll out Pickle Juice Snow Cone slushes starting in June. Taste testers say it's not as bad as you might think. It's sweet and tangy. It's also a great partner with burgers, hot dogs, and...
Mikesell’s newest chip flavors had us coming back for seconds (and thirds)
Mikesell’s newest chip flavors had us coming back for seconds (and thirds)

If you’re snacking on potato chips in Dayton, it’s assumed they’re Mikesell’s.  For over 100 years, Mikesell’s has been a snacking tradition in the Gem City. Although you can always grab a bag of their traditional potato chips, they’re keeping it fresh and fun with two brand new varieties: Old...
Tips on pruning evergreens
Tips on pruning evergreens

I sure hope this weekend will provide a bit of relief from winter weather and allow me to get outside to prune. Last week, I mentioned rejuvenating deciduous shrubs, and many emailed me to let me know they tackled the task! I am glad I could be of assistance. This week, let’s address pruning evergreens, both trees and shrubs. When it comes to...
Beware the Ides of March: Why do so many consider the day doomed? 
Beware the Ides of March: Why do so many consider the day doomed? 

Whether from a Hollywood film, a television series or an English literature class, we've all heard the ominous warning: "Beware the Ides of March." The dire sounding phrase was immortalized by English playwright William Shakespeare when he penned the words into the script of "Julius Caesar"in 1599. In the iconic play, a soothsayer...
Skyline Chili is going GREEN for St. Patrick’s Day
Skyline Chili is going GREEN for St. Patrick’s Day

Forget green eggs and ham. Skyline Chili will be serving their signature noodles piping hot and bright green this St. Patrick’s Day. Announced on the chili king’s Facebook page earlier this week, Skyline said it will dish out its classic 3-Ways, 4-Ways and 5-Ways with green noodles for one day only on Saturday,...
More Stories