Halloween was the standard american sugar binge affair when I grew up. Back then, I couldn’t connect the dots between my sugar binges and mood swings, lethargy and blood sugar crashes. Of course I gobbed on countless pounds of candy. And my inner zombie tromped along in full force.
Halloween is arguably the most creative American holiday.
While candy is still part of the holiday tradition, we don’t need it to be the token centerpiece that mummifies our minds for a straight month (or more). With some creativity, it’s simple to max out the fun this holiday offers.
Here are some creative, healthier Halloween ideas to help us think outside of the candy box!
Tips for the Halloween gatherings
- Eat something spooky. Try this spooky Halloween pot pie
- Make creepy ice cubes. Try these Creepy Crawly Spider Ice Cubes for Halloween
- Make some freaky fun food. Check out these 64 Freaky Halloween Snack Ideas
- Make it A-MAZE-ING. Jamie M. Marchetti, RDN, suggests that adults “set up a small, simple maze or obstacle course in your yard for kids to race through to ‘earn’ treats – it will get their heart rates up and maybe even inspire similar play at home.” I’ve never seen it done, but it could be a lot of fun for a party.
Tips for the Trick-or-Treaters
I’ve heard of people heading to the stores to stock up the day after the holiday, when they can get these fun items at bargain prices for the following year.
- Hand out super cool toys. Hand out glow necklaces, glow rings or other small toys that are safe for little kids. This is way cool!
- Hand out groovy stuff like tattoos, pencils, erasers, and bags of mini-pretzels.
- Remember the kids with food allergies. Kids with food allergies are often overlooked at Halloween. However, you can keep something special aside for them, like glow rings, erasers, tattoos or toys. To support the cause, you can participate in painting a teal pumpkin in the Teal Pumpkin Project.
Tips for when the candy comes home
- Introduce your kids to the Halloween Fairy (the Tooth Fairy’s sister) to help keep kiddos from bingeing on candy. The Halloween Fairy takes away candy and leaves coin in it’s place. (Provided by Advanced Dentistry of Westchester)
- Use this as a teaching opportunity. Laura Chalela Hoover, MPH, RDN, suggests this: “Instead of setting strict limits with [our kids], we have open discussions where we talk about proportion, the importance of balancing our choices with fruits and vegetables, and how our bodies feel after eating certain foods. This approach doesn’t work overnight, but overtime, kids will learn how to self-regulate their choices (even sweets). Then, usually after a few days, the candy magically disappears to a high cupboard and the kids forget about it. Out of sight, out of mind!”
- Practice mindfulness. Use this chance to explore how to mindfully enjoy the heck out of your treats. Let each person choose only the best of the candies, and decide where to donate the rest. Of the pieces remaining, enjoy them consciously. Step away from distractions. Take time to savor each bite. Really be whole-hearted with it. Give gratitude for the energy that went into making this treat available. The longer you savor it, the easier it becomes to be happy with less.
Halloween is not just one day
People are quick to defend the right to indulge at Halloween. I get it, and I believe that people should eat what they want. People also deserve to have correct information.
Halloween candy becomes available in September. It’s actually hard to find a place in the modern world where rich indulgences are NOT available 24 x 7. Kids (and adults) can eat candy – and hoards of sugar from other sources – absolutely any day of the year, unless they live in some remote village in the world where “candy” is fruit. And the artificial flavorings, preservatives, and colorings in most of the standard candy options today have become controversial (at best). While there is room for candy at holidays, isn’t it a good idea to emphasize non-candy options to make this holiday fun?
Now, I want to hear from you.