Halloween is right around the corner, and you know what that means—buckets of candy, energetic children, parties, trick-or-treating, and more! This time of year makes for some great traditions and memories—however, all the festivities can make it easy to forget to put your health first.
While it’s important to allow you and your children to enjoy the season, we have a few easy tips you can use to stay healthy this Halloween!
1. Eat before going trick-or-treating.
One of the most beloved Halloween traditions is trick-or-treating. Only a few things are as exciting as dressing up and getting free candy from the neighbors! While your kids may be the ones collecting the candy, they’re not the only ones tempted to chow down on their bucket of sweets. As parents, it’s just as easy to be enticed by all that chocolate!
Before you go trick-or-treating, fill up on a healthy dinner that will keep you and your family full while you’re out and about. You’ll be less likely to overdo it on sweets and treats if you take the time to have a healthy meal.
The great news is that fall provides many seasonal vegetables that can be used to make delicious and healthy dinner recipes. Give some of these fall recipes a try, and get bonus points if you work pumpkin into your meal!
2. Get creative with what you hand out for treats.
The last thing you need after you’re done greeting trick-or-treaters is leftover bags of candy at home. Stay healthy this Halloween and avoid buying bags of candy altogether. Animal crackers, granola bars, pretzels, apples, or trail mix make for great treats that are healthier alternatives to candy. You can also create your own fun, spooky treats to make children even more excited about eating healthy!
If you're looking for other alternatives to buying candy—then bouncy balls, frisbees, jump ropes, and sidewalk chalk are fun replacements for sweets and also encourage kids to go outdoors and play.
At the end of the day, children are most excited about going door to door and receiving handouts rather than the candy itself. A healthy snack or fun toy will make them just as happy and won’t tempt you to indulge in leftovers!
3. Walk while trick-or-treating.
Another way to stay healthy this Halloween is to leave the car at home and walk around while trick-or-treating. One of the best parts of seasonal traditions like Halloween is getting to spend time as a family—so don’t rush walking from door to door.
Not only will you burn calories while walking around, but you’ll also be less likely to chow down on candy since the kids will be excited to get to the next house. Enjoy your evening together and be sure you all bundle up appropriately.
4. Practice public health habits.
Unfortunately, fall is a prime time for the spread of germs and illnesses—and Halloween is no exception. Make sure you stay healthy by washing your hands before and after trick-or-treating and keeping hand sanitizer readily available. You may also want to consider integrating a mask into your child’s costume.
Be sure you inspect your child’s candy bag and make sure there aren’t any issues with the treats they’ve collected during the night. If a package is open, consider tossing it instead of running the risk of eating something that’s been exposed to germs.
You can help others stay healthy by setting up a low-contact station outside your front door with prepackaged treats. And if you’re feeling sick, be sure to stay home and turn on a fun Halloween movie instead of going out with others.
5. Keep your favorite sweets and store the rest.
After collecting candy while trick-or-treating, allow the kids to enjoy their loot—just don’t let them overdo it!
Sort through candy with your kids and allow them to pick their favorites. You can store the keepers in the freezer or an upper cabinet in the kitchen for a special occasion.
Consider giving away the rest as party favors to guests when they visit your home, or even donating the extras to local food pantries, senior citizens’ homes, or children’s hospitals.
6. Plan a Halloween party with games and crafts instead of sweets.
Themed parties are a great way to celebrate this time of year! If you’re planning on hosting a party but still want to stay healthy this Halloween, make the focus of the event fun activities instead of sugary treats.
Include activities like a pumpkin hunt in the yard, spooky crafts, a costume contest, or musical chairs using pumpkins. The children will love all the fun games—and their parents will be thankful they’re not coming home with a sugar rush!
No matter how you plan to celebrate Halloween, there are plenty of ways to put your health first while still having fun. With these tips in mind, it won’t be hard to enjoy all the wonderful traditions with friends and family while forming healthy habits that last beyond Halloween!
With two locations in Lafayette, Indiana, the Lafayette Family YMCA is a community committed to healthy living and social responsibility. For more fitness tips and to stay up-to-date about YMCA events, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or visit our website.