Most Halloween activities revolve around candy — but they don’t have to.
Here are 7 tips for creating a healthier Halloween for your family.
1. Ditch the pillowcase
Purchase small canvas tote bags and let kids decorate them with paint, markers and craft materials. Customizing the bags will be fun and will allow you to downsize the amount of candy they’ll collect without anyone being the wiser.
2. Eat dinner first
It’s easy to overindulge on an empty stomach. Make sure kids fuel up before they go trick-or-treating so they won’t come home hungry, holding a bag full of candy. Cast-iron chili is a healthy, crowd-pleasing option for fall.
3. Get festive in the kitchen
4. Bring in books
Create a Halloween tradition that doesn’t involve candy. Let each family member pick a spooky story, light some candles and read them aloud.
- For younger kids, try something like Ten Timid Ghosts.
- For teens, local ghost stories can be fun (see these for Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville or Chattanooga), or
- Get a little literary with a story like Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
5. Do some good by giving
Build generosity into your Halloween tradition by having kids pick a place to donate half of the candy they collect. Deliver it to your local police or fire station, nursing home or children’s hospital — just make sure to call and ask if donations are OK before arriving with candy and a kid in tow.
6. “Buy” it back
“Buy back” candy from your child with tokens they can trade in for a fun and healthy activity, such as a day at the zoo, an afternoon at the park or an ice skating trip.
7. Set a one-and-done rule
On Halloween, let kids indulge, but set a family rule that every day after that, kids can select one piece of candy from their stash to enjoy. It’s a great way to teach kids moderation and self-control.