Halloween can be a time of fun parties and tasty treats, but it can also be a difficult time to maintain healthy behaviors. How do we protect the fun of Halloween without sacrificing our health?
Celebrate the good
Fitness: Halloween creates many opportunities for physical activity. Trick-or-treating (walking) and dancing at parties are two examples of physical activity that many enjoy. Many people also like participating in fun runs and marathons featuring prizes for the best costumes.
Food: In addition, pumpkins (and their seeds) are a great addition to the diet. They contain antioxidants, vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber.
Friends: Halloween provides plenty of chances to be social. Spending time with family and friends is also part of a healthy lifestyle, reducing stress and increasing self-worth (click to read more).
Make healthy tweaks
Making healthy choices doesn’t mean giving up all candy and passing out dental floss, as one dentist does in a funny TV commercial. You (and your children) can still enjoy candy and other treats in moderation.
Suggestions for candy
- fruit snacks with 100% fruit juice
- bite-size or mini candy bars
- chocolate over sticky or hard candies (to reduce candy sticking to teeth)
- wait until a few days before Halloween to buy your candy (so you aren’t tempted to eat them all yourself)
- pick a number of candies you (or your children) will eat each day (to teach moderation)
- eat a healthy snack before trick-or-treating or going to parties
- donate (or participate in buyback programs) any extra or unwanted candy to organizations collecting for soldiers
Ideas in case you want to give treats other than candy (again, no dental floss)
- temporary tattoos
- bouncy balls
- plastic spider rings
Party food recipes
- Mike Wazowski’s Guacamole (guacamole made to look like eyeballs)
- Maple Chile Popcorn
- Baked Apples
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- Spice Cookies
- Apple Slices with Pumpkin Dip
- Chocolaty Pumpkin Bars
Keep safety in mind
Make sure your Halloween costumes allow free movement and full range of sight to avoid tripping. Observe small children to make sure they don’t choke on small toys or candy, and have them sit down while they enjoy any treats. Clear pathways for trick-or-treaters and party guests, and keep decorations from becoming fire hazards by putting candles away from flammable decorations and in areas where they are not likely to be knocked over. Use designated drivers or call a cab for any party guest that may have had too much to drink (Click here to see one serving of alcohol).
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You may also want to read…
- Halloween Safety Tips (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Enjoy a Healthy and Happy Halloween (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
- Tips for a Mouth-Healthy Halloween (American Dental Association)
- Oral Health Challenge: 5 Tricks for Dealing With Halloween Treats (WebMD)