NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Parents looking for a safe and healthy alternative to Halloween trick or treating for their children can find it in Nacogdoches on Saturday.
Planners of the event want it to become a nice replacement for Scare on the Square, which took place in downtown Nacogdoches for 15 years. More than 8,000 people, most of them children, typically attended. It was just too many for it to be safe said city leaders, so in 2014 Scare on the Square was axed.
Nothing had really replaced it until this year with Saturday's Healthy Halloween event sponsored by the Healthy Nacogdoches Coalition and led by director, Kim Barton.
"Our committee felt like that there was a void there that we could fill with a healthy alternative," Barton said.
Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital staff fill 500 trick or treat bags for the no-candy event. Healthy treats, including apples, peanuts and whole grain goldfish will prevent tricks and encourage good habits.
"We have some whole-grain cinnamon graham crackers," said Paula Cook, the hospital's director of dietary services. "Of course, you can get graham crackers at stores, which is a great treat for kids. We threw in one of the fruit rollup items. Kids need a little sugar, but it's only a 50-calorie snack, so still good for kids."
The event will be in smoke-free Festival Park where lots of games focusing on physical activity will be featured.
"We've got about 16 booths that are going to have some sort of activity," Barton said.
The costume contest will require a bit of extra imagination.
"It's for fruits and vegetables only," Barton said.
Some prizes will promote the coalition's website that now has complete trail maps on line.
"Eventually that website will host our active living plan for the city," Barton said.
The goal is to inform families how to have a Healthy Halloween and how to carry it through for a lifetime.
Numerous sponsors allow Healthy Halloween to be a free event.
Healthy Halloween is Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. in Nacogdoches Festival Park.
The event is for children 12 years and under. The costume contest will be judged at 4:30 p.m.