October is the month where we celebrate the coming of fall with yummy treats like apple cider, pumpkin cookies, caramel corn, and, of course, Halloween candy.
The thing with Halloween candy is that your little trick-or-treaters usually come home with enough candy to stockpile for an entire year. What are you supposed to do with it all? Is it even possible to let yourself and your kids enjoy the holiday while still maintaining an overall spirit of healthfulness?
Yes! It is totally possible to have a happy and healthy Halloween! Here are my top 5 tips on how to celebrate Halloween well without totally overdoing it on the sweets.
Consider making Halloween a one-night affair.
We like to think that trick-or-treat is “just one night,” but of course the reality is that for most of us the candy lasts far beyond October 31st. One night of candy indulgence is certainly not going to have any long-term implications on your health, but night after night of candy indulgence isn’t the best habit for anyone.
So, consider letting the kids enjoy the candies they love on trick-or-treat night, and then move on from the candy until next year. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a few favorites around to have as treats in the future, but no child (or adult for that matter) needs to eat two candy bars a day for the next 6 months, even if they are “fun-sized.”
Establish a left-over candy tradition.
Consider establishing a tradition that makes getting rid of the leftover candy exciting. For example, the Switch Witch is a fun way to encourage kids to turn in their candy at the end of the night, because the candy gets swapped for a non-candy surprise! Depending on your child’s age, the treat could be a toy, money, a trip to the movies, or anything else they’ll enjoy.
You don’t necessarily need to have them swap out all of their leftover candy, either. Consider giving kids the power to choose the treats they’ll enjoy the most, and then swap the treats they don’t really love for something non-food related.
Give trick-or-treaters some healthier options to choose from.
Instead of candy, you could offer mini-bags of tortilla chips, popcorn or pretzels, boxes of raisins, 100% fruit leathers, or you could even hand out mini bottles of water or 100% juice. This gives your neighbors some healthier options in their trick-or-treat bags and cuts down on the leftover trick-or-treat candy in your own home, too.
Hand out a fun non-food option to trick-or-treaters.
Who says you have to hand out food at all? Why not hand out some fun temporary tattoos, crayons or glow-sticks? Kids will get to enjoy these for far longer than the five seconds it takes to inhale a mini candy bar, and bonus: these are guaranteed to be safe for any of the neighborhood kids who may have food allergies.
Once you’ve decided on your candy plan, relax, and allow yourself and the kids to delight in some treats without any guilt about how “healthy” they are. After all, being able to enjoy a treat is a part of balanced, healthy eating too!
There isn’t really a right or wrong when it comes to handling candy on trick-or-treat night, so use these tips as inspiration for creating your own traditions. Do what feels best for your family, and remember to make some great holiday memories along the way!