Healthier Treats for Halloween

Cheese Stick Trick or Treat
Note: A version of this story was first published on in 2014

As Halloween gets closer, Utah dairy farmer Taunya Otten gets some expected eye-rolling from her children.

That’s because Otten veers off course when it comes to traditional Halloween treats. Instead of passing out candy, Otten drops a cheese stick into the bags of trick-or-treaters.

“My children are mortified that I give out something healthy,” Otten says with a laugh. “Kids get pounds and pounds of candy and I thought I should support my own industry and pass out something nutritious.”

Otten, who has done this for the last ten or so years, said the cheese sticks are very well received by kids.

“Most of them really like it,” she said. “They’ll say ‘Oh, cool!’ Lots of kids like cheese sticks. As a parent, I know I get tired of all the sugar in candy. Doing this also connects our farm and our cows to dairy products.”

Otten Halloween

Halloween 2006
Back Row: Princess Alyson, Puppy Cole, Dracula Jennie
Front: Dracula’s Bride Sharlene, Pirate Damian

Otten’s family also participates in what she calls “reverse trick-or-treating.” She arms her kids with cheese sticks and milk chugs that they deliver to neighbors on Halloween.

This is not the only time of year the Ottens are engaged with their community. They participate in a summer parade with their cows and pass out milk chugs along the way. Taunya also volunteers at her children’s elementary school and is pleased that so many kids connect her to the dairy industry.

“When we do our promotions we don’t promote our farm, we promote the dairy industry and our products,” she said. “When I’m at the school, I’m surprised by the number of kids who know me because we do farm tours and they see me in the parade. I have no idea who they are but they know me as the ‘cow lady’ or the ‘dairy lady.’ ”

Look for our “Got Milk” tent at the annual “Boo at the Zoo” event at Utah’s Hogle Zoo where we take a page out of the Otten’s book and hand out cheese sticks to Zoo-going-trick-or-treaters.

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