How to Have a Healthy Halloween

October 27th, 2015

No tricks here! Try these tips from the American Heart Association to make your Halloween festivities a little healthier for your family, party guests and all those trick-or-treaters.

For the Trick-or-Treater

Worried you’ll have leftover Halloween candy until long after Valentine’s Day? Using a smaller bag will help, but sometimes kids STILL end up with a ton of extra sweets. Here are some ideas of what to do with the leftover candy:

  • Keep enough candy for one piece a day for one or two weeks (long enough for the excitement to wane). Throw away, donate or repurpose the rest.
  • When your child asks for a piece of candy, make sure to pair it with a healthy snack: an apple, a banana, some nuts, or celery with peanut butter.
  • “Buy back” candy from your child with money or tokens they can trade in for a fun activity: a day at the zoo, an afternoon playing at the park, going ice skating, or a day at the pool.
  • Some dentists’ offices have buy-back or trade-in programs, too.
  • Save it for holiday baking.
  • Donate excess candy to a homeless shelter or care package program for troops overseas. A familiar sweet treat from home can be comforting at the holidays.
  • Save it to fill the piñata at the next birthday celebration or give out with Valentine cards.
  • Use it in an arts and crafts project or to decorate a holiday gingerbread house.
  • Throw it away! And don’t be tempted by the half-priced candy after Halloween!

For the Party Host

  • Up the fright factor. Serve healthy snacks dressed up in the Halloween theme. There are lots of creative ideas being shared online at this time of year!
  • Play with food. Incorporate healthy foods into activities, such as decorating oranges like Jack-O-Lanterns, making banana ghosts, and bobbing for apples.
  • Keep ‘em moving. Include plenty of physical activities, like a zombie dance party, three-legged monster race, spider crawl or pumpkin toss.
  • Rethink your drink. Don’t forget that cutting back on sugary treats includes soda and sugar-sweetened beverages. Make a festive Halloween punch from sparkling water and a splash of 100% orange juice, garnished with plenty of orange slices and black grapes or blackberries.

For the Stay-At-Homer

You don’t have to pass out candy on Halloween. Start a new tradition on your street and give out healthier treats or non-edible items.

  • Snack-sized packages of pretzels, popcorn, trail mix or nuts
  • Sugar-free chewing gum
  • Glow sticks or small glow-in-the-dark toys
  • Stickers or stamps
  • Plastic spider rings or vampire teeth

Read more ideas and view the full American Heart Association article.