Halloween is sometimes referred to as the season that begins all the “Holiday Feasts” that typically last from sometime in October through December. Then, all of this feasting and treat-eating comes to a stop on January 1st, when we uphold our New Year’s resolutions to be and eat healthier. This happened to me! I started Whole30 on January 2nd last year because I resolved to eat healthier after a VERY sugary and food-laden holiday season.
I was recently talking to a friend about Halloween, and when I asked her about candy, she told me that she will buy it at the last minute this year – right before Halloween night. Last year, she bought candy a week or so before Halloween and the entire bag was gone by the time Halloween came around. I’m also guilty of getting into Halloween candy that’s earmarked for the neighborhood and church kids. I like candy and it’s a huge temptation for me!
Halloween does not have to be unhealthy or tempting. Halloween can be enjoyed without so much sugar and junk food. Halloween does not need to be feared, and you don’t have to be “that family” who shuns treats, foregoes fun parties and feels isolated.
Here are some ways you can celebrate Halloween with your family and friends and stay healthier:
First, Make Your Own Halloween Traditions.
When my son was about two years old, I was very apprehensive about taking him trick or treating. At that time in his life, we didn’t feed him much candy or sugary foods at all, and we didn’t want to have a free-for-all when Halloween came around.
Enter the Candy Fairy. Thankfully, a friend told me about a cool tradition they follow, where they would take their son trick or treating, and he’d get ALL the candy he could. Then, he’d pick out 10-20 pieces of candy and leave the rest for the Candy Fairy, who took the rest of his candy and left a toy in its place. Fun!! That year, my son scored a fun dump truck toy from the Candy Fairy and he loved it. And…we’ve followed this tradition ever since. I have also enjoyed this tradition and I may or may not have eaten the yummiest pieces of candy before tossing it.
For older kids who still trick or treat, you could pay them per pound or ounce of candy that they collect and give to you. This is a great way to gamify Halloween even more!
Next: The Teal Pumpkin Project.
Because I know kids have food allergies and that they might not be able to eat some (or all) of their Halloween candy, I have gotten into the habit of giving out non-food Halloween treats. Sometimes, we’ve had candy to hand out to kids who can eat it, but mostly, I like to hand out glow bracelets (the glow bracelets I buy are usually much cheaper than passing out candy for Halloween!) And…I think I’m the favorite candy passer-outer at our church Halloween party each year.
There are a lot of wins with passing out non-food treats. First, kids who have allergies can enjoy the treat. Second, I don’t end up eating a ton of candy I don’t need. Next, the Halloween goodies are something different and kids really love them. Last, I LOVE handing out glow bracelets because hopefully, the kids can wear them and be more visible when they’re out trick or treating.
Here are some other non-food treats you can hand out, besides glow bracelets: stickers, plastic bugs, self-inking hand stamps, bouncy balls, rubber duckies, handheld plastic games, plastic rings, pencils, small card decks, and plastic vampire teeth.
If you hand out non-food treats, let kids with allergies know you do it, so they can come to your house and get some fun Halloween goodies! You can set out a teal pumpkin or print off a teal pumpkin sign so kids with allergies KNOW to visit your house for sure and that you’re allergy friendly. To learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project, visit this website: https://www.foodallergy.org/education-awareness/teal-pumpkin-project
Also, many stores carry teal pumpkins you can use to show trick or treaters that you have non-food treats for them. I’ve seen teal pumpkins at Target and Michaels and I’m sure there are teal pumpkins elsewhere. If you can’t find a teal pumpkin, you can print one out and hang it up. We did that a few years ago AND we ended up printing a free pumpkin coloring page that my daughter colored a teal color.
Finally, Serve Healthier Halloween Treats at Parties and Potlucks.
While there’s nothing wrong with eating Halloween candy and treats, sometimes too much can be too much. And, if you tend to overeat all the sweet stuff (like me!), or if you can’t or won’t eat treats, you can give yourself more options at social events. Bring your own treats.
Here are some ideas of things you can make and bring to gatherings (you can also host your own party):
Sweet Potato Pumpkins – Bravo for Paleo
Veggie Skeleton – The Kitchn
Spiders on a Log – Super Healthy Kids
Cheesy Witch Brooms – Delish
Boonananas and Pumpkintines – Everyday Health
Jack O Lantern Stuffed Pumpkins – Delish
Halloween Apple Bites – Oh She Glows
Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls – Food Network
Frankenstein Grape Cups – Produce for Kids
Jack O Lantern Veggie Platter – Produce for Kids
Paleo Witch Finger Cookies – Food Faith Fitness
Bloody Chocolate Cups – Elephantastic Vegan
Pumpkin Oranges – Our Kids Mom
Spooky Smoothie Bar – Sister Suitcase Blog
FrankenGuac – Dine and Dish
I hope these ideas help you to have a healthy and happy Halloween!
Do you have any special Halloween traditions?