As a parent, do you encourage your child to eat a “rainbow” of fresh fruits and vegetables? When my children were younger, I would pack school lunches with sliced red peppers, orange carrots and green grapes. Yet, on Halloween, my kids would switch from produce to colorful candies. As hunters and gatherers on Halloween night, they would swap out their nutrient packed fruits and veggies with colorful M&M’s, Skittles and lollipops.
On Halloween day, your child’s school may have a festive party featuring orange-frosted cupcakes, sugary ghost cookies and candy corn. After school, your child will likely slip into their super-hero, princess or vampire costumes. Next, it’s time for them to grab a large pillow case or shopping bag as they embark on their Halloween treasure quest. Remember, you can still help them make good choices by following a few simple strategies.
Susan’s 5 top Halloween tips:
1. Don’t let your child go trick or treating hungry
One way to ward off hunger while trick or treating is to offer your child a healthy after school snack. Try a sliced apple with peanut butter, cubed cheese and whole wheat crackers or an open-face turkey sandwich. This way your child won’t be super hungry while pounding the pavement and may be less likely to dive into the candy before you check out the candy collection at home.
2. Discuss how much candy they can keep BEFORE trick or treating
In order to avoid a candy buffet on (and after) Halloween, discuss the amount of candy your child can keep. Sort out the candy on a large table (or floor, if the family pets are not close by). First, make sure all the candy is wrapped. Next, ask your child to select their favorite candy. Before Halloween, find out if there is a dentist in your area who is willing to “buy” back the candy. Additionally, some service organizations (and food pantries) do accept gifts of candy for care packages. Here are some ideas for candy donation:
3. Be careful of “Fun Size” Candies
Have you ever indulged in sampling a few of your child’s fun or bite sized candy treats? They look small, but they add up very quickly. Once you’ve gone through the candy with your child, avoid grabbing too many “unplanned” pieces. Be mindful in your selection. If you or your child “choose” a piece of candy, enjoy every bite.
1 treat size (fun size)
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
4. Give out “non-food” items!
Hand out some cool non-food items. My favorites include: mini Play Dough, stickers, temporary tattoos, bubbles, spider rings, pumpkin key chains, super balls, glow in the dark teeth or orange pencils. These fun and inexpensive items will be a smile on any child’s face. I love this idea for party giveaways instead of candy.
5. Start a Walking Trend
Halloween can be a great opportunity to start walking with your child. Include the family dog, so everyone can get some physical activity. Walking together through the neighborhood can be fun and enjoyable. Talk to your child about the possibility of walking together as a family or with friends every night after dinner. We all have busy schedules, but walking together can help you stay connected and stay physically active.
Wishing you and your family a very safe, happy and fun Halloween. Start a new tradition this year of donating some of your candy to the organizations listed above. Please share your healthy Halloween ideas in the comments section.
Happy Hallo-Weiner to all!