Halloween is great fun for kids. It’s the one night a year they get to dress up in their favorite costumes, stay out after dark, yell Trick or Treat at neighbors’ doors and load up on treats.
The Crim Fitness Foundation’s Sarah Schroeder says parents and those who greet trick-or-treaters can make one of the most kid-friendly holidays more nutritious. Here are some tips.
“If you’re passing out items for trick-or-treaters or making snacks or treat packs for an event, try a healthy snack or non-food items,” says Schroeder. “Bags of popcorn, dried fruit, and Clementines are healthy treats that can be passed out easily. Some ideas for non-food items include glow sticks, slime, or stickers.”
Walking is particularly fun when costumes and kids are involved and is a great form of exercise for everyone.
“Fill up first,” says Schroeder, who notes giving the kids a healthy meal before they head out reduces the temptation to munch on less healthy snacks. If time allows, serve healthy Halloween-themed snacks like banana ghosts, apple monster mouths and tangerine pumpkin heads.
“When going trick-or-treating, walk instead of drive,” Schroeder says. “Make trick-or-treating into a fun, physical activity. Encourage skipping from house to house or breaking out into a zombie dance every time someone gets a favorite treat.”
It’s important to set guidelines on the amount of candy children consume. “Talk to your kids about moderation,” she says. “Before trick-or-treating or fall events, decide as a family reasonably how much candy they will be allowed to eat per day.”
It’s also a good time to reinforce the need to help others and share. Have the kids donate a portion of their candy to local shelters, churches or food pantries.