Do you love the excitement of Halloween but cringe at the huge mounds of leftover candy afterwards? The good news is that there are a ton of healthy Halloween alternatives that will make for a super fun filled night without affecting your kid’s health (or your waistline). Make this year a bit more health conscious by implementing some of the tricks (or treats) below:
Start with a healthy, balanced dinner
Making sure your kids are well fed and hydrated before they head out into the street will decrease the likelihood that they will over-indulge in too much candy, plus it will ensure they don’t get a blood sugar drop from all those hours of walking. Make sure the dinner is high in lean protein, nutrient-dense veggies and healthy fats. I also suggest preparing dinner the night before Halloween as most families are incredibly busy with costume preparations if Halloween falls on a weeknight.
Substitute candy with loot bag items
Head to a party store or your local dollar store and check out the party favour section. Think glow sticks, stickers, pencils, markers, pens, erasers, crayons, spider rings, vampire fangs, sticky eyeballs, bubbles, mini play-doh, mini squirt guns, whistles, parachute guys, finger lights, colouring books, or bouncy balls.
Hand out healthier treats
There are a ton of healthy treat options nowadays if you know what to look for. Small packs of raisins or almonds, fruit like clementines or apples, mini water bottles or organic juice boxes, Krave jerky, Lara Bars, Kind bars, or Z bars, Unreal Candy, Yummy Earth Organic Pops or Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups, Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks and Cliff Kid Twisted Fruit or unsweetened fruit cups make great alternatives to traditional candy.
Encourage good dental health
Your kid’s dentist will love you if you give out toothbrushes, mini toothpastes and dental floss. Plus, there is nothing better than a brand new toothbrush to encourage kids to properly brush their teeth in the evening after eating all that candy.
Make it yourself
Make your own trick or treat handouts! You can even turn it into a fun craft for the kids. Things that work well are Halloween-themed bookmarks, hacky sacks, decorations and treat boxes. Some people like to make homemade energy bars or candy bars but if it doesn’t look store-bought, most parents will toss this in the trash as soon as they get home due to safety and allergy concerns. Save the homemade treats for your own family’s enjoyment instead.
Prepare your kids ahead of time
Talk to your kids about the 80/20 rule – that if you eat healthy 80% of the time, it’s ok to indulge once in a while, but that doesn’t mean that they should indulge to the point of sickness. Discuss what you consider to be a reasonable amount of Halloween candy and agree upon it before trick or treating so there are no surprises afterwards.
Decide what to do with the candy
Think about what you plan to do with the candy afterwards – are you going to keep a bit and donate (or toss) the rest or will they trade it in for money, a book, or a toy? Here are some options you can look into:
- Buy back the candy. You can set an amount, such as $1 per pound, or a nickel or dime per piece of candy, and buy back the candy from them. This way they will feel like they got a fair trade and weren’t just giving up something special.
- Engage the help of the Switch Witch – the Switch Witch is a good witch who is invited to your home on Halloween after the kids are asleep. She takes the leftover candy and leaves them something in exchange, like a book or a toy.
- Donate the candy to a local dentist – Some dentists offer to buy Halloween candy usually at about $1 per pound.
Do you celebrate a traditional Halloween or a healthier one? Do you have any healthy holiday traditions or do you give away healthy candy alternatives?