Candy is to Halloween as watermelon is to summer. Or is it? With recent trends in childhood obesity and the increase in dental cavities, many parents are searching for alternatives to the traditional Halloween candy bag.
Celebrating Halloween healthfully isn’t about giving up all the treats. It’s about bringing them into balance, especially since kids often have multiple celebrations: at school, at friends’ houses, and in the community. And, of course, there’s trick-or-treating.
There’s more to Halloween than candy. There’s dressing up, having fun with friends, playing games, and doing crafts. With so many celebrations throughout the year, it’s important to enjoy each one without going overboard. Make sure children eat a healthy meal before they go trick-or-treating so that candy is a dessert, not supper.
Here are some ghoulishly great ideas for a healthy Halloween:
For younger kids, try small toys like:
• Temporary tattoos or stickers
• Small plastic spiders, ghosts, or skeletons
• Super bouncy balls
• Halloween-themed pencils, erasers, or pencil toppers
• Spooky plastic rings or false teeth
• Bracelets or hair accessories
Healthier Food Options:
• Individual packages of raisins or other dried fruit
• 100% fruit leathers
• 100% juice boxes
• Small water bottles
• Sugar-free gum
For candy, if you must, try:
• Fruit-flavored snacks/rollups/gummies
• Small lollypops (they last longer)
• Fat-free or lowfat candy like Twizzlers, Skittles, York Peppermint Patties, or Junior Mints
• Only giving out one fun-sized candy per child (whole handfuls reinforce over-indulgence)
After Trick-or-Treating, parents can implement a “buy back” program for Halloween candy. To do this, children get to choose several pieces of candy to savor after the holiday. Parents then “buy” the rest of the candy from the child and replace it with an activity such as a movie, a sleep over with friends, or a new book. Children get to enjoy a little candy without over-indulging, and parents can dispose of the candy as they see fit.