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HPBy Meaghan Sutherland and Angela Finn

For many of us, the start of autumn means enjoying many seasonal favorites such as apple pie, cider donuts, Halloween treats, and pumpkin-spiced…everything!  The list goes on and on!

Year after year, we start September and the going-back-to-school season with good intentions for staying healthy, only to be tempted by sugar-filled holiday treats.  How can we get through the next few months without relying on a New Year’s Resolution to fix it?  To start, how can we enjoy a healthy Halloween treat, and avoid Halloween tricks?

Fear not, there are always healthy substitutions and healthy choices!

  • Eat dinner ahead of time: Just as adults probably shouldn’t enter a candy store on an empty stomach, children, especially, should not start Halloween festivities hungry! Preparing a healthy meal for your child before he goes trick-or-treating will help prevent him from overdoing the treats. .
  • Teach the value of moderation: This is an important value that your child can carry in to adulthood. Talk with your child ahead of time about how much of the candy she collects can be eaten and when. (If you are distributing candy as a treat, help other families by giving just one or two miniature-sized candies to each child.)
  • Teach the value of sharing: After collecting candy, discuss how you can share the loot with family and friends by making goodie bags for a near-future event (or for fun). Another idea is to donate to a local shelter.
  • Alternative treats to candy: Think about adding fun-sized crackers, pretzels, popcorn or granola bars to your candy bowl. Kids also enjoy receiving age-appropriate toys, colorful pencils, or stickers.
  • Plan a weekend hike: Get together with your family and friends to take advantage of the crisp autumn air and you won’t feel guilty about indulging in a few Halloween treats. Hikes and bike rides are perfect for taking in the fall foliage and scenery.
  • Consider hosting a Halloween party: Halloween is not all about walking door-to-door trick-or-treating; there are lots of spook-tacular activities that can be enjoyed. While hosting a party may take more planning and cleaning time, it’s a fun way to get together with friends and family while keeping an eye on your child’s safety and how much candy they are eating.

Have a safe, healthy and happy Halloween!

Written By:


Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

Nutrition Education Specialist for the Massachusetts WIC Program

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