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4 Tips for a Healthy Halloween

4 Tips for a Healthy Halloween

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Halloween is often considered the holiday when kids can eat all the candy they want, but allowing your children to consume too many Halloween treats isn’t in their best interest.

Rates of childhood obesity have increased three-fold from a generation ago, and most health experts consider Halloween a health nightmare for our kids. Having a healthy Halloween doesn’t mean eating any treats, but it does mean being smart about what treats (and how many treats) you allow your kids to consume.

Here are a few tips to help ensure your children enjoy Halloween the healthy way.

Eat dinner first. 

Plan a healthy meal for the family to eat before heading out for trick-or-treating fun. Filling up on nutritious foods first will help keep your kids from eating too much candy while they’re out.

Hand out healthy treats. 

Set a good example by handing out wholesome treats instead of candy. Dieticians suggest granola bars, animal crackers, apples, tangerines or packages of pretzels or cheese crackers. As tempting as it may be to make a homemade healthy snack for handing out, most parents won’t allow their children to eat anything that’s packaged by someone they don’t know. It’s best to stick with snacks that are individually prepackaged.

Offer toys instead. 

Kids will often choose a cool toy over candy, so think rub-on tattoos, glow sticks, mini Play-Doh containers, boxes of crayons, etc. Head to your nearest dollar store and stock up on small toys you can give out to trick-or-treaters instead of sweets.

Pick out favorites; donate the rest. 

When your children return from trick-or-treating let them go through their haul and pick out their favorite items. Suggest a specific number they can pull out to keep and then use the remainder for a special project. Here are a few ideas:

  • Donate what’s left to a local senior center, nursing home, Ronald McDonald House or children’s hospital.
  • Participate in Halloween Candy Buy Back 2016. Thousands of dentists and other businesses nationwide are buying candy from kids with cash, xylitol products, coupons, toothbrushes and other creative exchanges. The candy is then shipped to U.S. troops stationed overseas via Operation Gratitude. Click here to find a buy-back event near you.

In addition to keeping your kids healthy this Halloween, be sure to also keep them safe by following simple, common sense rules when trick-or-treating: Never go alone. Go only to well-lit areas and stay outside. Carry a flashlight and working cellphone. Be sure everyone can see where they’re going and can be seen by others (consider using reflective tape on costumes). But most of all, HAVE FUN!