This post was updated in September 2019.
Learn three tips for a healthy Halloween that will help you enjoy this holiday as much as your kids!
Halloween is pure joy and a whole lot of fun for kids. But, truthfully, it can be so stressful for parents.
As a pediatric nutritionist and mom, I’ve seen my fair share of Halloween holidays. With a food allergic son, I’ve spent the tail end of the night sorting through candy, picking out the nut versions and trading them with siblings for nut-free candy.
Over the years, I’ve learned my own lessons. I figured out a way to balance the initial indulgence of the evening with continued enjoyment over the weeks ahead.
I’ve settled disagreements and learned how to manage candy treats without too much restriction, or too much leniency.
3 Healthy Halloween Tips
I’ve come up with some healthy Halloween tips to help you survive the holiday and allow your kids to enjoy it at the same time.
Check out these 3 health Halloween tips for all kids, for the big night, and beyond in this video or read them below.
Halloween Tip #1: Keep It in Perspective
You may get really bothered when you see your child pig out on candy all night. This may be especially true if you worry about your child’s weight or eating habits.
I encourage you to step back and acknowledge that Halloween is one night…only. One night did not, and will not, cause a weight problem.
Or, perhaps you worry about your child’s health. If your child has food allergies, vigilance is required to keep him or her safe. I encourage you to do all you can to prepare yourself and your child for this evening. It’s important for him to feel safe and empowered.
[Read this post about the ingredients in Halloween candy which will help you identify food allergens.]
If your child has ADHD, you might worry about the impact of too much sugar on her behavior. Again, you can prepare your child, both physically (read Healthy Halloween Tip #2) and mentally for this big night out.
Overall (and what I have reminded myself of year after year) is this:
Halloween is just one night. Let your kid have a good time, and do what you need to do to make that happen.
Healthy Halloween Tip #2: Have a Plan
One of the most important things you can do to ensure a successful Halloween night is to have a plan for food all day.
Translated: Start the day with a good, filling breakfast. Encourage your child to have a nutritious lunch (especially if class parties are happening). Serve a hearty after-school snack or an early dinner, depending on your timing for trick-or-treating.
All that eating prior to heading out for the evening will help your child self-regulate his eating (hopefully!) while having the energy to enjoy a full night.
Don’t leave your child’s eating plan to the last minute. You need to think this through ahead of time.
Halloween Tip #3: Outline Your Exit Strategy
This is your candy exit strategy. You know, the plan for quietly down-playing the presence of candy in the house. And yes, you need one…unless you have a child that likes to collect candy but not eat much of it.
Most families I know want their kids to enjoy Halloween, the candy, and the experience. But, they want it to end after a week or two. And they don’t want their child to have full control over the bucket of treats.
Your exit strategy can be what you need to to strike that balance between holiday enjoyment and maintaining a healthy home.
I’ve got 11 Tricks for Handling Halloween Treats that will help you hit the sweet spot.
It doesn’t get easier than that!
Wishing you all a happy, happy evening of Halloween activities!
P.S. Enjoy those kiddos!!