Sunday, October 27, 2013

Healthy Halloween

I love Halloween. I love costumes and parties and trick-or-treating. I don't love the junk food (for me or for my kids). Here are a few things we do at our house to try to keep the fun of Halloween without making it a gluttonous excuse to eat a bunch of crap (and to keep Mommy from feeling like a heroin addict sweating and shaking as I obsess over the bags of candy in the pantry).

1. Pass out non-candy treats -- you might get egged by some pissed-off 12 year olds who wanted full-size Snickers bars, but the cause is worth it. Check out the dollar section in Target or Michael's, the favor section at a party supply store, or a discount store like Big Lots or Dollar Tree. Here are a few ideas:
    • Halloween erasers/pencils
    • Stickers 
    • Glow bracelets (our choice to hand out this year; my kids are actually excited about it!)
    • Small packs of sugar-free gum
    • Goodie bag trinkets like kazoos, whistles, toy rings
    • Temporary tattoos

2. The Halloween Witch -- I read about this in a parenting magazine when Makayla was a baby and we've done it every year since she started trick-or-treating. At the end of the evening, the kids each get to eat 2 pieces of candy on-the-spot. They then pick out 5 more pieces to keep. The rest go in a bag on the porch for the Halloween Witch. *She* takes the candy away and leaves a small present in it's place. For example, last year the kids agreed on a dvd they wanted. The first couple of years I sent the Halloween Witch candy with my husband to his office but then I felt bad for his co-workers who then had to fight the temptation. I've heard about donating it to soldiers or firefighters but I kinda' want them to be fit and ready to protect or save me if it is necessary, so I'd rather not load them up with high-calorie, sugary treats. The bottom-line for me is that if I shouldn't eat it, and I don't want my kids eating it, I shouldn't be passing it off to other people. So the last couple of years (this is difficult for me) I've thrown it in the trash. And I throw it in the big trash can and dump something gross on top so I don't get tempted to pull a Costanza and take something "off the top".

3. Healthy Halloween Party Food -- I've never actually made any of these, but they look awfully cute and they are much healthier alternatives to most of the fare you'd see at a party for kids! Let me know if you try any and love them. And if you try one and get a complete pinterest fail you definitely need to share!
    • Green Meanies -- cute monster mouths made with apples, peanut butter and almond slivers
    • Banana Ghost Pop -- Shredded coconut and bananas make a fun treat. Or you can dip a frozen banana half in white chocolate and add the mini chocoate chips for the eyes and mouth
    • Witch's Brooms and Clementine Pumpkins -- pretzels and string cheese; clementines and celery -- easy and so cute on a platter
    • Spider Deviled Eggs -- gotta' have some protein
    • Ghastly Pear Ghosts -- I never would have thought of this but when you see it, the shape of the pears are just perfect! And pears are in season (unlike strawberries which I saw in a lot of posts).
    • A bowl of no-sugar added red fruit juice with an ice "hand" in it. You take a latex glove, fill it with water, tie a knot in the opening and then freeze it. When it's totally solid you peel the glove off and put it in the bowl. My Mom did this at a party when I was a kid and I still remember it!
I hope these ideas help! How do you keep Halloween healthy in your house?


  1. Seems a waste of people's money to trick or treat and throw candy in the trash. Not sure I like that idea, maybe trick or treat days should end if no one wants candy any more? Or does it make sense to offer kids candy OR a non candy item? Would kids whose parents do the Halloween Witch idea take a non candy item instead? Just curious for next year.

  2. I love the idea of non-candy items which is why we gave out glow bracelets this year. There are a lot of options in addition to those I listed above that would cost approximately the same amount as most people spend on candy. My kids said they'd actually prefer small toys instead of candy, but they may not be typical. I don't want my kids eating candy for the next month but I also don't want them to miss out on the fun of dressing up and trick-or-treating. The whole experience is about much more than the candy they receive. And I know that before I had kids, when I would pass out candy, I was doing it because I loved seeing the kids in their costumes, not because I cared if they at my candy or not. I agree, it sucks to throw away something that someone spent money on, but it can either fill up my trash or trash my kids' bodies. I prefer the former. As for offering both, my guess is that most kids would pick the candy. I think you as an adult need to make the decision about how you want to participate in the holiday. As with most cultural traditions, change is slow and not everyone agrees that it should be changed in the first place. So I choose to start with my family and hopefully give other families ideas that might work for them :)

  3. I love, love the idea of the Halloween Witch!!! I for some reason I wait until Easter to toss out all the Halloween candy, all the while torturing myself with it. We tried the spider deviled eggs this year and my kids loved them, although they were not a hit with every first grader at the party! Was thinking next year maybe a food safe glove filled with some air-popped pop corn.

  4. I also packed a clementine with a jack-o-lantern face drawn on it a few times Halloween week. The little ones loved this, the husband not so much. Would love to see what you pack in the kids lunch!!

    1. I'll try to post some lunches. We don't get too fancy but there are a few lunches the kids especially love.