Win – Win Strategies for Halloween Candy and the Health Oriented Family

halloween trick or treat mouse animated with big bucket of candy

Do you want your children to have Halloween fun but not completely over dose on candy? Many parents today try to encourage healthy eating but allow for special treats. But Halloween creates a dilemma as it such a large amount of candy that children bring back home. We don’t want children to feel left out, but at the same time we want to encourage a more heathy lifestyle. I am not suggesting children not trick or treat if this is something they want to do. In our culture it is hard to not celebrate and not feel left out. Even though some folks do Halloween Parties or Events instead. There are more alternatives today than in the past. Many times it is finding a balance to this dilemma. And, in addition, finding out how our children feel about Halloween and what parts are most important to them.

If you do traditional trick or treating, here are some strategies that may help to keep it a bit more balanced.

  • Limit the number of houses you go to opposed to the trick or treat til you drop mode. The younger your children the easier it will be to use this strategy. With very young ones you may even go only to homes you know.
  • After you have come back home with the “loot”, you could consider some of the following ways to balance the scales of health and having some special treats. 
  1. “Switch the Witch” is a strategy that I read about in an article done by Jennifer Tyler Lee, creator of Crunch a Color: Healthy Eating Games. The basic premise was to switch out candy for a special non candy treat. The “trading treats” strategy is one that I have personally used and found successful when my children were young. If you wanted to use the “Switch the Witch” theme, you might consider using a Halloween witch hat and filling it with inexpensive items for the trading post. Or it could be a pumpkin container or whatever you would like to use for your trading post. You could also have slips of paper / vouchers for things for a certain amount of candy.
  2. Another strategy is creating a Candy Bank and trading a small amount of money for each piece of candy from your child.
  3. Creating a Halloween House (similar to a gingerbread house) with some of the candy could be fun.  This is another strategy shared by Jennifer Tyler Lee. This could be in combination with some of the above ideas
  4. With candy that is kept you can put a limit on how much candy they are allowed each day. You might consider asking your child how much they feel would be healthy for them to have each day. When we include children in setting up a limit, it easier for them to comply and be cooperative.

halloween trick or treaters animated

With all of these strategies giving your child a choice is of course important. They may choose to keep some candy and trade other pieces. This will give you a bit of the balance you are hoping for.

In ending, I might note that I have personally found children really very much enjoy the non candy treats. I think there is so much candy that these non candy treats are novel and fun for them. My Halloween treats for Halloween visitors usually  include:  plastic creepy crawler insects (snakes, spiders, etc), fun pencils, mini containers of play dough, etc. They spend much time deciding which they want.

Happy Halloween to you all!



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