6 Tips for a Healthier Halloween

I originally published this post last year around this time.  I thought I'd give it a little refresh this year and repost it since Halloween 2015 is right around the corner.  Hope you enjoy it!

Oh, Halloween.  The night where it seems like an endless supply of candy exists in the world, and it's all dumped out on your living room floor from your kids' epic adventures that evening (at least that's how it was when I was a kid).  You sit there watching them plow through their sacred stash digging for gold, wondering how many pieces you should let them have, where you will store the excess (inevitably, the cupboard), and how on EARTH you are going to resist the temptation of the good stuff when it's just within arm's reach.  Now, I don't have kids (yet), but I can take a wild guess and say that most, if not all parents have thought any or all of the above at some point during their kids' trick-or-treating years.  And I'm also sure parents, teachers, and coaches (not to mention, dentists) alike have all seen the effects that the sugar-crazed holiday has on kids' attention, attitudes and moods in the days/weeks following, not to mention your own!

6 Tips for a Healthier Halloween

That may sound all doom and gloom, but fear not!  As spooky as Halloween is in other respects, it doesn't have to be a scary, sugar-laden calorie-bomb that lingers for weeks.  Read on for my tips on how to trick AND treat yourself to make sure you and your family maintain that healthful lifestyle - even WITH candy in the house.

1 | Buy candy late and not much of it  

The stores tempt us with bags upon bags of Halloween candy long before the month of October is even here, and a lot of people can't resist the temptation.  Obviously the longer candy is in your house, the more likely you'll be to snack on it before it's needed.  That can add hundreds of extra calories throughout your day, and imagine how much that can add up to in one week!  To reduce the chance of reaching into the treat bag early, buy your candy only a few days before you'll need it.  Hide it away far back in the cupboard so it's out of sight until the night of.  Out of sight, out of mind!

2 | Or hand out no candy at all

Say what?  No candy?  Yes, that's right - no candy.  Think about little trinkets or toys that you could give the neighborhood kids.  Pencils, cool erasers, small figurines - think party-favor-type things.  You could also think about getting small baggies of trail mix, more wholesome snacks, or hand out granola bars instead of candy bars (good for snacks in school lunches).  If you know the neighborhood kids and parents well enough, you could even think about making little treats yourself, too.

3 | Eat before you go

Nourishing yourself and your kids before you head out to collect pillowcases full of sugar is a smart thing to do.  If trick-or-treating is starting earlier than dinner time, think about having a quick, but filling snack.  If you can fit in dinner beforehand, even better.  Filling up will reduce the chance of eating all the goods before you get back home. 

4 | Stay active  

So you now have all this candy in your house.  What do you do to combat the extra calories?  Stay active!  Increase your daily activity as a family.  Take a walk before or after dinner.  Or better yet, a bike ride.  Go on a trail walk or a hike on the weekends.  Get outside and play some games - disc golf, soccer, basketball, frisbee, the list goes on.  Make sure you and your kids get moving.  Who knows, the activity might even become a habit that you can stick with long after the candy is gone!

5 | Go to the dentist  

No, I don't mean for a check up.  Have you ever heard of candy buy back programs?  Dentists participate in them all throughout the country.  Not only does it get the candy out of your house and some money into your or your kids' pockets, but it benefits our troops.  For more information on the Halloween Candy Buy Back Program, click here.

6 | Enjoy - in moderation 

Yes, you can have the candy.  No, you shouldn't have it all.  I believe in "everything in moderation."  Speaking from experience, when you're eating healthy and you get one of those cravings for fried food or chocolate, you know what?  Sometimes you have to give in.  That's not a green light to go all out, though!  Enjoy a few pieces of candy to satisfy that craving, then put the stash away.

I hope these tips help you and your family have a healthier Halloween this year!  Be safe out there, and most importantly - have fun!  

Readers: chat with me!  Do you have any more healthy Halloween tips?  Will you be going trick or treating?  If so, what are your costumes this year?  What's your favorite treat (or trick)?