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As we lead into Halloween, Thursday 31 October, Whole Kids is calling for a tightening of the laws around junk food marketing to children, and is encouraging parents to consider the health of their children during the festivities.

Each year Halloween has grown in popularity in Australia, along with the rise in childhood obesity, which has doubled in recent years with one in five Australian children and adolescents now being overweight, which is leading to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, hypertension and sleep apnoea[2].

Whole Kids cofounder James Meldrum states “every day Australian children are bombarded with advertising messages for sugary soft drinks, lollies and chocolate, and the advertising tends to significantly increase in the lead up to Halloween.”

Being parents themselves, James and Monica Meldrum understand the struggles of pester power in the lead up to Halloween, and have put together a series of tips to help parents to navigate the festivities for children 4 years+.

Moving forward, James would like to see junk food marketing regulations tightened, in order to give impressionable children and their parents a break.

Tips: Do

  • Encourage your children to dress up, to focus on the fun of the evening rather than the treats
  • Create a fun exercise for the family by carving out a pumpkin and roasting the offcuts
  • Make popcorn necklaces from fishing wire
  • Orange pumpkins: use non-toxic markers to draw Jack O’Lantern faces on oranges
  • Boo-nana ghosts:  roll a peeled banana in shredded coconut and use raisins for eyes, then place on an ice cream stick.
  • Offer juice boxes rather than cans of soft drink
  • Offer individually wrapped cheese rather than chocolate
  • Keep a bowl of apples on hand

Tricks: Don’t

  • Focus on the lollies, instead try to ensure that the focus is on the fun of the evening
  • Reward children with junk food

[1] Victorian Government Better Health:

[2] Monash University