Oooohhh Scary Halloween

At the time of year when we’re planning on donning cheap nylon and annoying our neighbours, the following things occur to me….

Pumpkins and Night Vision

Pumpkins are synonymous with Halloween, the big huge squashes are appropriately mutilated into grimacing faces and plonked on the doorstep. Beyond this they’re also rich in beta-carotene which is essential for night vision. Beta-carotene (the vegetable version of Vitamin A) is a fat-soluble vitamin and a precursor of the pigment rhodopsin, needed by retinal rod cells to help us see at night. So don’t just gouge eyes out of the pumpkin, roast it too, and eat the remains so that when you’re out annoying your neighbours you don’t trip over the dustbins.

Sweaty Nylon Halloween Outfits

I love that kid’s Halloween outfits are generally made out of very cheap thin material offering no protection to autumnal weather yet promoting a healthy sweat from the inside. Some nutrients, such as magnesium, are lost through sweat caused by clothing and the general pavement pounding that goes on with trick-and-treating. Magnesium plays a valuable role in muscular exercise and in the ability of the immune system to withstand dank wet evenings. Get your little ones stocked up on this valuable mineral with lots of green leafy vegetables. If they’re not keen on green leafy vegetables (unheard of, surely?) then try baked beans instead.

Sweets

There is no way that Halloween can be described as anything but disastrous for the population’s risk for diabetes. Figures taken from the 2017 National Diabetes Peadiatric Audit show that over 500 children and young people in the UK already have Diabetes Type II. You can prevent this for your young one if you don’t let them up-end their buckets straight into their tummies when they get home from trick-or-treating. However, other than not letting them take place in the event at all you will find it difficult to avoid this problem. Remind them that sweets are treats not everyday food. Ensure they keep up their exercise to offset the damage, give them the sweets post meals so at least the sugar doesn’t immediately enter the bloodstream and, if all else fails, sneak some out of the bucket when they’re not looking.

Of course if you’re the adult who’s answering the door to other people’s kids you can always offer apples or carrots in place of sweets but be prepared for looks of disdain and the odd thrown egg.

Cats, Bats and Spiders

Soooo much better for you nutritionally than sweets. Spiders, specifically the big fleshy tarantula type ones, deep fried with spices and garlic are a great delicacy in Cambodia. In Papua New Guinea bats also crop up on the local menus.

Quite possibly someone, somewhere, will also eat cats. However as a sad sop that owns 3 myself I couldn’t bring myself to find out, regardless of how high protein, low-fat they may be. Let’s just make the point instead that cats are great boons to our health, making us happier just by being with them. So when you come back, cold and wet, to your cobweb and pumpkin decorated front door, get in, dump the sweets, pick up the cat and have a cuddle.

By Saffron Rogerson

18 September 2017