Healthy Tips and Treats for Halloween
by Laurie Wertich
Halloween—kids live for it and parents dread it. But Halloween doesn’t have to be a trick-or-treating free-for-all of candy and binging. There are many creative ways to enjoy Halloween so that both kids and parents can be happy.
Try these Halloween alternatives for a fun, festive evening:
- Try a trick-or-treat alternative. Attend a carnival, party, or other alternative to traditional trick-or-treating. Many churches, shopping malls, or businesses offer these events for free or for a nominal charge.
- Host a party. By hosting a party, you get to control the environment, activities, and treats. Your child will be thrilled that all of his/her friends are gathered together in costume for fun and festivities and you’ll be thrilled that you’re not making the neighborhood rounds in a cold drizzle.
- Organize a progressive Halloween. A progressive Halloween is a compromise between a party and trick-or-treating. Pool your resources with a few favorite families. Gather at one house for appetizers and then trick-or-treat on that street. Move on to the next house for dinner and then trick-or-treat on that street. You’ll balance the frenzied trick-or-treating with some healthy food—and spend time with friends.
Conquer the Candy Conundrum
Face it—kids equate Halloween with candy, and lots of it. None of us want to feed our kids copious amounts of candy, but outlawing it altogether is sure to backfire. Instead, find middle ground with these tips:
- Eat before trick-or-treating. The best defense is a good offense. Feed your kids a healthy snack or meal before roaming the streets for candy. If they aren’t hungry, they’ll be less likely to overeat candy throughout the night.
- Say yes. Offer your kids a “hall pass” on Halloween and let them enjoy their candy. It’s likely a treat you don’t allow every day, so one day isn’t going to undo all of the healthy habits you’ve tried to instill.
- Make it disappear. Let your kids enjoy their Halloween candy for two or three days and then toss it. Dentists insist that they would rather see kids eat a lot of candy for a few days than a little candy every day—a daily dose of candy is a recipe for cavities, not to mention bad habits.
Tis the Season
Halloween may come only one day a year, but you can choose instead to focus on the Halloween season for a healthier holiday. Enjoying the build-up may prevent the binge once the big day arrives. Try these tips for savoring the season:
- Decorate the house and yard. Have your kids help you adorn the house, porch, and yard with fall and Halloween decorations. They’ll enjoy expressing their creativity and you’ll help them focus on more than candy.
- Visit a harvest festival. Take the kids to a farm or harvest festival where they can enjoy corn mazes, pumpkin picking, apple bobbing, apple cider, and more.
- Boo! Start a neighborhood tradition of “boo-ing” your friends. Leave an anonymous Halloween decoration on someone’s door with instructions to “pay it forward.” Before you know it, the entire neighborhood will be in the spirit.
- Carve pumpkins. Host a pumpkin-carving party or simply carve pumpkins as a family. Let your kids get involved in the design and excitement of creating pumpkin works of art.
- Create costumes. Help creativity soar. Involve your children in the process of creating a fun, simple costume. Hopefully, they’ll be just as excited about modeling their unique creation as they are about collecting candy!
Have a safe, healthy, and happy Halloween! Trick or treat!