Archived Story

Frightening amounts of calories fill sacks

Published 5:52pm Tuesday, October 30, 2012

With 31 percent of U.S. children ages 2 to 19 overweight or obese, Halloween with candy at its core is subtly evolving.

Dowagiac school nurse Suzanne Dorman, who worked for the Cass County Health Department more than 11 years before assuming her current position last August based at the middle school, promotes healthier snacks such as cheese and crackers or vegetables and dip at school functions.

“Obviously, (sugary treats) are a concern,” she said Tuesday.

But educating healthier choices “is a slow process,” she said.

According to one estimate, an average trick-or-treating child coursing through Dowagiac streets from 6 to 7 Halloween night could collect 3,500 to 7,000 calories.

A 100-pound child consuming 7,000 calories would have to walk almost 44 hours or play full-court basketball for 14.5 hours to burn those calories.

Skittles are for the sweetest tooth at 47 grams of sugar per serving, compared to 40 for Three Musketeers, 35 for Milky Way and 33 for Starburst.

Traditional Halloween parties have taken a hit at schools, such as Kincheloe and Sister Lakes.

Some don’t have them at all. Others call them harvest parties or take a field trip.

Patrick Hamilton Elementary School Principal Heather Nash, who has given out whistles instead of candy at her home, said the PTO buses students to Cass County Council on Aging in Cassopolis, which is in its sixth year sponsoring “Treats on the Trail.”

The first couple of years it took place outdoors, but rain moved it indoors.

Sandi Hoger said 21 agencies and businesses partner with the COA.

Costumed students wind their way through the Edward Lowe Center, meeting costumed vendors in doorways for candy or small toys.

Edwardsburg doesn’t do Halloween. Cassopolis usually attends, but backed out, leaving Dowagiac and Marcellus to participate.

Justus Gage Tuesday expected at least 100 for its Great Pumpkin Night from 6 to 7:30 with costumes, treat bags with candy the PTO provides and activities such as cookie or pumpkin decorating “to give families something safe to do at night to have fun,” Principal Marcy Hendress said.

Dowagiac for seven years has had churches offer trunk or treat during traditional trick-or-treating.

First United Methodist Church, 326 N. Lowe St., launched trunk or treat in 2006 so parents could feel secure sending children out to partake in Halloween festivities.

Becky Peters, FUMC director of outreach ministry, and other parents felt nervous not knowing whose house children visited or what condition their candy would be in.

The first year, there were eight car trunks of treats and four games.

Trunk or treat grew to involve Second Baptist Church, Michiana Church of Christ, Victory Tabernacle and New Life Faith Baptist Church in all quadrants.

Trunk or treat likewise takes place from 6 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31.

Call the church at (269) 782-5167.




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