Halloween is a holiday that every kid should experience and enjoy! It's a time for kids to release their creativity and to enjoy trick-or-treating in the neighborhood with family and/or friends. But how can we help kids prevent the sugar rush that accompanies Halloween? How can we help keep the holiday fun while making it a bit healthier?
1. Get Creative with the Treats
Halloween and candy tend to go hand-in-hand, however that does not mean that your household can't consider other healthier or non-edible options as treats to offer to the neighborhood kids! Consider decorating clementines or oranges like Jack-O-Lanterns with non-toxic ink or providing healthier options such as 100% fruit strips/leather, squeezable applesauce pouches or non-perishable yogurt tubes, snack-size packages of dried fruit / trail mix / popcorn or 100% fruit juice! Non-edible options can also be considered such as fun glow-in-the-dark toys or glow sticks, stickers, temporary tattoos, bubbles, bracelets, slime/putty, crayons and small coloring books, and/or bouncy balls. 2. Have a Balanced Meal Prior to Trick-or-Treating Provide your kids with a balanced meal with protein and fiber prior to going trick-or-treating to help your kids fill up on healthier options before picking at candy. Discuss the benefits of having sweets such as candy as an end-cap to a meal to help fill up on healthy foods first that will help boost strength and energy for the trick-or-treating and to prevent overeating candy and blood sugar fluctuations. Ask your kids what they may like to have for Halloween to make it "their" night and consider exciting Halloween-themed dinner options, such as Jack-o'-Lantern stuffed peppers or spooky ghost pizzas or Eyeball Pasta!
3. Encourage Moderation With Trick-or-Treating Encourage your kids to practice moderation to make the candy they keep last longer. Discuss taking only one piece of candy from each house to leave candy for other trick-or-treaters. Consider setting a standard to allow kids to keep a % of the candy picked-up and donating the rest to mom/dad and/or to an organization that may benefit. Discuss the benefits of sharing sweets with others.
4. Focus on the Experience and the Activity
Make the experience of Halloween greater than just the candy! Make it an activity to try to reach a certain number of houses or walk a particular distance. Help your kids feel comfortable walking in their costumes and model wearing comfortable shoes for walking and staying well-hydrated with water. Compliment kids on their costume instead of the amount of candy they've obtained. Walk around the neighborhood to get some exercise instead of driving. Share kid-appropriate spooky stories to make it an experience.
5. Recap the Halloween experience Spend time discussing with your kids the next morning how their Halloween experience was to understand what worked well and what may have not worked so well for them. Understand what they enjoyed and what could have gone better. Commend them on their healthy habits, such as the distance walked or their ability to be mindful with their candy intake. Remind them of the upcoming holidays and that Halloween will be back again next year if they become upset about any candy limitations.
Hope these tips help make Halloween fun and special, yet a bit healthier too this year!