How to Have a Healthy Halloween

Editor’s Note: Are you dreading that fast-approaching night of trick-or-treating? Wondering how you can keep your kids healthy instead of hyped up on sugar? We’re sharing some old tips on alternative ways to handle all that Halloween candy from our friends at USEP-OHIO.


This brief Parent Tip is provided at no cost by United Services for Effective Parenting-Ohio, Inc. as a tool to assist parents, teachers, grandparents, and all who help to care for and to raise our children. For more information on this and other tools from USEP-OHIO refer to the conclusion of this Parent Tip.


Halloween or harvest festivals are fun for families and are celebrated in many communities with parties, candy, and treats. The combined results of community trick-or-treating, school parties, and well-meaning family and friends is a pile of candy large enough to make anybody sick and sugar-shocked. Now that the kids have bagged it, counted it, and traded it—try to get it out of their hands and yours! Parents, grandparents, and teachers know the dangers of childhood obesity, so here are a few ideas for trading the candy sitting in the kitchen cabinet for some better options!

What parents and teachers can do

One Mom I know convinced her child’s teacher to print some recipes for success that created healthy treats for home and activity-time at school, and recipes that parents could use for lunch boxes and snacks anytime. Try these ideas and activities at home and at school.

1. Talk with the kids about how foods keep us feeling good and fit. Candy and treats fill us with sugar, have no food value, and make us feel yucky.

“My brain feels bad.” (Mental/Emotional Changes include poor concentration, nervousness, and feeling sad.)

“My body feels bad.” (Physical Changes include low energy, stomach aches, intestinal discomfort, gas, etc.)

“I have a bad attitude.” (Behavioral Changes include anger, flaring tempers, argumentative behavior, etc.)

Offer to trade their treat candy for inexpensive things like markers, crayons, art supplies, games or small toys, nickels, dimes, and quarters, stickers or stamps, party favors or books.

2. Create “let’s pretend games” that give kids practice like these Q&As:

Question: Let’s go out for fast food! Do you want a soda or shake?

Answer: NO! Low-fat milk, juice, or water is better.

Q: Will you super size?

A: NO! It’s too much for my tummy!

Q: Will we get French fries and other fatty stuff?

A: NO! A salad or baked potato is much healthier!

Q: Packing a take-along snack! Will you pack some candy?

A: NO! Fruits and veggies are better.

Q: Will you pack chips?

A: NO! Pretzels, trail-mix, whole-grain crackers, peanut butter, and cheese!

3. Make and taste healthy treats like these:

Super Apples: Cut off the top, and core like a bowl. Stuff it with raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon; then microwave.

Cinnamon Treats: Toast pita triangles. Spread margarine, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Yogurt Pops: Cut a small hole in the top of the yogurt lid. Push the Popsicle stick in, and freeze overnight.

Banana Bites: Push a banana onto a Popsicle stick. Dip it in juice or PB&J; then roll in granola, nuts, or coconut.

Snackin’ Seeds: Wash/dry seeds; toast on oiled cookie sheet at 250-300 F for 1 hour. Add salt/seasoning.

Fruity Shakes: Blend 1 cup of low-fat milk or yogurt, banana or berries, 3-4 ice cubes, and honey.

We invite you to share this USEP-OHIO publication with other parents, students and professionals at home or work. You have permission to copy Tips as written, send on as email, or print for a newsletter or handout.  Email or call 1-800-262-4KIDS to add email addresses to our list, to give us feedback about how the information works for you, or for other topics, publications and programs.  Cindymckay54

Photo: stockimages


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