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Boo! Make It a Healthy Halloween

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My mother-in-law’s favorite holiday has always been Halloween. At her house, Halloween was a full evening event composed of a dinner party with her children’s friends, and then group trick-or-treating. She loved helping dress up her children and handing out candy to the neighborhood. Afterward, the kids would congregate to go through their candy and trade for their favorites.

If you want to create similar Halloween memories for your children but do not want the stomach aches, mood swings, illness, and cavities that follow this one-night candy smorgasbord, try one or more of the tips below. You can create a memorable, fun, and healthier Halloween.

Plan a party

Have a Halloween party! With a party you can control exposure to treats, offer a satisfying, healthy meal to minimize the quantity of treats consumed while trick-or-treating, and displace some of the time spent trick-or treating with games and crafts. This makes the evening fun and memorable without amassing tons of candy. Here are some ideas for a fun and healthy party.

Serve a healthy and festive dinner

Our Halloween family favorite is Dinner in a Pumpkin. Other ideas for spooky and healthy Halloween foods include:

  • Spaghetti squash “brains” or “worms.” This can be a creepy way to include vegetables in the meal, especially if you add whole cherry tomato “eyes!”
  • Floating eyeball punch. Use juices of your choice such as apple and cranberry juice, along with sparkling water and float frozen grapes as the eyeballs.
  • Deviled Zombie Eye Eggs. This fun deviled egg recipe uses the water left over from boiling beets to produce red/purple streaks over the egg whites to make them look zombie-like.
  • Pumpkin spice muffins made with whole-wheat pastry flour and raw honey.
  • Vampire blood soup. Serve warm tomato soup in test tube-style containers for an eerie dinner course.

Organize games:

  • Bobbing for apples
  • Dry apple bobbing: hang apples from trees at different levels and use mouths only to catch an apple. Pin the spider on the web
  • Steal the witch’s broom (like capture the flag) – great for older kids, parties with at least 8 kids and a big yard to play in.

Offer crafts:

  • Make a mask using paper plates, string, construction paper, markers, pipe cleaners, etc.
  • Make spiders using pipe cleaners and beads for eyes
  • Face painting
  • After trick-or-treating, have a “prize station” where children can trade in their candy for small toys and trinkets.

Try the Switch Witch

The Switch Witch is a smart lady who comes to children’s houses on Halloween night and exchanges their masses of candy for a special toy, a gift card, or a special experience (eg. a trip to the Children’s Museum). Children leave their Halloween loot out with a letter asking the Switch Witch for the gift of their choice and in the morning, the candy is gone and a non-candy treat is in its place.

Simple can be healthy, too!

Even if you don’t host a party, you can still start Halloween night off right with a balanced meal, displace some of the trick-or-treat time with a Halloween themed craft, and limit the candy eating both along the trick-or-treat path and afterward with the Switch Witch.

With these ideas, you can create happy and healthy Halloween memories for your family. Maybe Halloween will become your favorite holiday too!

Lani-Jacobs Banner is the Nutritional Health Coach for Natural Grocers.

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