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Tips for a Happy, Healthy Halloween

Tips for a Happy, Healthy Halloween

Halloween is almost here, and parents are already seeing an uptick in candy and sweets being offered to little ones. There are plenty of ways to minimize the sugary impacts of the holiday, and make this Halloween your healthiest haunting yet.

Tricks for treats

Instead of handing out candy, give snack-sized and commercially packaged bags of baby carrots or roasted pumpkin seeds. For fun, non-edible giving, hand out Halloween stickers, bubbles, or themed pencils. If Halloween candy is a must, wait to purchase it until October 30 to avoid sugary snacking and choose the bite-sized pieces.

Opt to candy swap

Offer children the opportunity to trade their Halloween candy for items such as a coupon to not do a chore for one day, a new toy or book, their trail of choice for a family bike ride, or even money for them to save for a special occasion.

Party time

Attending or hosting a Halloween party? Create a sparkling water bar with your favorite fruits to add flavor and decor, or bring a veggie platter to share. Carve faces out of different colored bell peppers to decorate your veggie platter. Did you know the original jack-o'-lanterns were carved from turnips, potatoes and beets?

Fall Harvest

The jack-o’-lantern tradition of the Halloween holiday is a great opportunity for a gardening lesson. Get the kids involved and excited about aspects of Halloween (other than the candy) by planting pumpkin seeds together next spring. Children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fruits and veggies too.

Carnival Cleanup 

Work with your child’s school’s PTA to focus on healthy activities at the Halloween Carnival. Besides the traditional cake walk, fishing for treats, or a trick-or-treat village, include more activities that promote health and wellness such as Halloween-themed music for dancing, bobbing for apples, face painting and fall harvest produce tastings.

Get Active

Head out before dusk and turn trick or treating into an opportunity for physical activity. It’s time for a scavenger hunt!  Create a list of specific items to discover (spooky yard decorations, a sugar pine tree, a fire hydrant etc.) while out trick or treating. Every member of the first team to complete the list and return to the starting location gets glow in the dark vampire teeth!

Gather your loved ones and enjoy the season. May your Halloween be happy, healthy and fun!


Jessica Keys, RDN, is a Registered Clinician in the Nutrition Services Department at Barton Health.