For healthy-minded parents, Halloween can be extra scary. Many of our favorite traditions–like trick-or-treating, costume parties, and school spirit events–can be overstocked with sugary, over-processed foods and drinks. Here’s where we face a dilemma: we want our kids to be healthy, but how do we celebrate the holiday spirit without all the extra calories?
Luckily, there are ways to get in on the treats without the unhealthy tricks. We’ve collected some of our favorite healthy swaps to kick-start your imagination.
(P.S. Have you heard about our 2019 Halloween costume contest? Post your family’s costume photos on Instagram or Facebook by October 31 for your chance to win a $100 New Jammies gift card! Click here to see the full rules for entry.)
Trick-Or-Treat AND Something Good To Eat
Trick-or-treating is a celebrated part of Halloween. Plus, it’s so fun to see the whole family in costume! If you’re looking to cut some candy out of the festivities, consider some of these healthier ideas:
- Pick a Pumpkin. Pumpkin is a delicious and nutritious food that doesn’t get enough year-round attention. Halloween can be a perfect time to get otherwise picky eaters to try something new! Instead of buying candy, buy extra pumpkins for the family. When the jack o’lanterns are carved, roast the seeds to make healthy, delicious pepitas and use any leftovers in recipes that call for roast, diced, baked, or mashed squash.
- Start with Full Bellies. Heading out to haunt the town? Before trick-or-treating, fill up on a healthy dinner (maybe add some of that delicious pumpkin!). Full bellies are less likely to dig right into the candy. It’s a good idea to set some rules as well, and establish healthy eating habits before the night begins.
- Hand Out Your Own Candy. We all remember that house that handed out toothbrushes on All Hallows Eve. Instead of sugary candy, try fun, packageable treats like ants on a log, veggie skeleton bones, or clementines decorated to look like skulls. If you’re worried about allergies or calories, skip the edible route entirely and hand out small toys or useful gadgets, like fake teeth, bubble wands, or temporary tattoos.
- Call In The Switch Witch The Switch Witch is a fun holiday character who replaces kids’ excess candy with a toy, game, or other non-sugary swap. This tradition started in sugar-conscious families and is gaining popularity every year! If your kids still make it home with far too much candy, let them know to expect a visit from The Switch Witch once they’re tucked in bed with their favorite pair of jammies.
Frightfully Fun Festivities
Planning a party? Prepping for a school event? Looking to avoid the whole Halloween “thing” altogether? These ideas keep Halloween fun, festive, and healthy for the whole family.
- Dress Up Healthy Food, Too! Kids tend to eat with their eyes. A witch who would turn down a green apple might be more interested if it’s dressed up like monster teeth. Bring a platter of boo-nana pops, spider sandwiches, or pumpkin quesadillas to your next Halloween party. Your imagination is your only limit!
- Stay Active. Fun games and activities keep ghosts and ghouls on their feet. Traditional activities like “Pin the Tail on the Donkey,” bobbing for apples, and flashlight tag can be a frightfully good time! If you want to mix it up, try a string maze, a zombie dance contest (bust out those Thriller moves!), or “Ghost in the Graveyard.”
Brew A Health Potion. Halloween punch doesn’t have to be made from sherbert and soda. Make a healthy alternative (like this carrot-based recipe from Happy Healthy Mama). If you’re making your own, start with all-natural cider or juice, then add cinnamon sticks, fall spices, and clever decorations. For bonus points, invest in a spooky ice mold to add bobbing skulls and bones, and add a few cubes of dry ice to turn your health potion into a misty witches’ brew.
Plan A Family Adventure. Halloween isn’t your family’s thing? Pack your jammies and fly off o
n the family brooms to a costumed movie night, a laser tag arena, or a night spent stargazing and telling spooky stories around the fire at a nearby National Park. The memories will last a lot longer than the candy!