Every year in October little witches, scarecrows and Disney characters show up at your doorstep waiting expectantly for you to drop a piece of chocolate or a sugar coated something into their little pumpkin baskets. This may seem like a completely innocent tradition, however the average American consumes 24 pounds of candy a year, and most of that is likely consumed during this season. That is a staggering and unhealthy amount! Halloween does not have to be a completely unhealthy holiday. Here are 8 tips on how to make Halloween healthier while still being able to enjoy all the fun festivities, and maybe even adding a few traditions of your own!
1. One piece per house
Whether you are passing out candy or you have children who are collecting it, encourage the kids to only take one piece of candy from each house. Grabbing a handful at each house can really start to add up and leave them with more can than they can (or should) eat!
2. Small buckets
Do not fall into the temptation of using pillowcases as candy bags. Sure it may be cheaper than buying a small bucket, but pillowcases will also encourage kids to want more candy. With a smaller bucket, children will see that the bucket is full sooner and be satisfied. However, with a pillow case, a child will see that it is not even close to being full and will want more candy in order to fill it up. This would take a lot of time and A LOT of candy.
3. Leftover candy
Obviously children will come home with far more candy than they could possible consume in one day. In order to ensure that your kids are not bingeing on candy for the next few weeks, work out a system that will help to spread the lifespan of the candy. For instance, offer them one piece of candy a day to go along with a healthy snack such as a banana or some celery. With the excess candy, periodically offer to ‘buy’ back the candy with money or a token that they can exchange for a fun activity.
4. Get moving
Make trick or treating a fun, and physical activity. Have children skip, run, or jump between houses. Anything that will get their heart rate up while still having fun prancing around in their costumes. Just remember to have them wear comfortable shoes!
5. Make it a race day!
Many cities will put on a Halloween themed race of some sort where you can dress up and run a 5k, 10k, or perhaps even a half marathon. This would be a great tradition to start within your family whether you walk it, run it, or dance it together. Getting your heart rate up and burning some calories before trick or treating can leave you feeling less guilty about that candy later on! Take a look at the best Halloween races in America.
6. Eat before
Fill your kids up with a big, warm meal before trick or treating. If they are trick or treating on a full stomach they are much less likely to snack on the candy while they are walking around the neighborhood, and instead they will save it for later. We recommend this healthy Pumpkin Turkey Chili!
7. The ‘healthy house’
Although this house is not looked upon favorably by most children, you could always opt to be the house that hounds out healthier foods to children. A bag of trail mix or a clementine painted like a jack-o-lantern would offer a fun alternative to handing out sugary treats.
8. Make a tradition of your own
If you wish to avoid the candy all together, creating a unique tradition for your family is another fun option. Dress up your children and take them to see a kid friendly scary movie, or take the time to help serve your community in some way. The possibilities are endless!
Halloween is a fun and unique holiday that many people, young and old look forward to each year. Just remember, it doesn’t have to be all about candy. There are certainly ways to make Halloween healthy and fun! As a reference, here are the 20 best and worst Halloween candies.