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I have magical childhood memories of making my own creative and friendly Halloween costumes and running from house to house to get pounds of candy. I love seeing my kids experience that same magic of dressing up and getting candy from neighbors too. Now that I’m a mom, I also want my kids to be healthy during the holidays!
If you’re feeling stressed about all the candy and parties, let’s talk about how to stay chill about food during the Halloween sugar rush.
1. Choose fun healthy snacks leading up to Halloween
I know my kids will have more access to candy around Halloween. So, it’s my job to feel them non-candy things whenever I have the choice. This is a good time of the year to serve less treats as part of the “normal routine” whenever I know they will be going to parties or gatherings with candy.
It’s still a great time to enjoy the holiday and have lots of fun though! Here are some easy ideas for super fun, cute snacks that are healthy on top of it!
- Black & Orange Berry & Cheese Stick: Alternate a blackberry with a cheese square on a long toothpick
- Clementine Pumpkin: 1 Peeled Clementine & Celery Greens or A Green Toothpick
- Banana Ghost: 1/2 Banana, 2 Chocolate Chips & Popsicle Sticks
- Pretzel Brooms: Cellophane Snack Bag filled with pretzels, stick a Halloween Pencil in as the broom stick and tie the bag at the base.
- Orange Jack O Lantern Fruit Cup: Cut the top off an Orange and spoon out the inside, cut or draw a jack-o-lantern face on it. Fill it with mixed fruit.
- Halloween Cut Outs: Use Halloween themed cookie cutters to cut shapes out of different colored cheeses, fruits, veggies & sandwiches! You can also use letter cookie cutters to spell out “BOO” or “Happy Halloween”
2. Give out toys instead of candy
Every single house on the street is going to have a different variety of candy. And you’re more than welcome to join them! You can also consider offering a toy option or just toys. Small toys can be just as much fun as candy and make a difference for a lot of kids. This helps kids who have allergies or food conditions be able to enjoy the holiday as well! No need to hand out toothbrushes & broccoli (although I’d happily accept those if I came to your door)…try these fun kid-approved ideas!
- Glasses – Super fun for kids – they just love them! You can grab some standard safety glasses like these or some Halloween glasses to keep with the theme.
- Halloween Fun Bags – This will require a little bit of assembly, but it is so fun! Grab a themed treat bag, stuff it with an eraser, pencil, stickers, temporary tattoos.. Whatever you can find works. This is a really great bundle that makes it super easy! This is especially fun for parties.
- Stamps – You can get a 50 pack of Halloween stamps for just $10 – It’s way cheaper than candy alternatives AND it is fun all the time, not just for a short time.
- Toy Assortment – There are some super fun mixed toy assortments out there. Instead of filling the bowl with candy, try these cute toys
- Bouncy Balls – Older kids love bouncy balls. You can even get ones that glow in the dark!
Note: If your child asks why you’re choosing not to hand out candy this year, simply tell them you are trying something new that you think will be fun & different! No need to discuss anything negative relating to sugar.
3. Serve a balanced Halloween meal
My kids usually have ZERO interest in food on Halloween. Which is annoying, because I want them to load up on nourishing food before all that candy. There’s usually too much going on with last minute costume changes though. I focus on providing a large snack or simple meal though, that helps them stay full: Fiber + Protein + Fat = better sugar management
What they most need is protein to fill up those tummies, along with fat and fiber to slow down the sugar to their bloodstream. The more protein, fat, and fiber, the better their bodies will handle the candy they eat.
A simple option for a snack is whole milk plain Greek yogurt with frozen blueberries on top. Checks all the boxes for fat, protein, and fiber – in just a few bites. Having a simple meal of chicken with avocado and quinoa, or chili also works to fill them up before the candy.
If your kids aren’t into yogurt, you can grab 60 of my other go-to easy meal & snack recipes here!
4. Have a candy plan
There are so many things you can do with the candy that comes in. Here’s a fun tradition I started when my oldest was 3. After the kids eat as much candy as they want on Halloween (I don’t make a big deal out of how much they eat) and pick what they want to save for later, they dump their candy in the Magic Halloween Box. This part is totally up to them…and they choose how much and what candy they put into the box. When they wake up in the morning, it’s magically turned into Art supplies or toys. My kids LOVE this. It’s like Christmas. ⠀
They don’t miss the candy. They are excited about the transformation. I’m happy they have new art supplies instead of candy!
If art supplies aren’t enticing enough for your kids, try these other themes or make up your own!
- Cars & Trucks
- Books/Coloring Books
- Tickets to do local activities
- Favorite Color
I started this when my first was 3 years old. Prior to that, he didn’t know what the candy was, all the candy just disappeared, and he never missed it. Alas, by 3, he knew too much! So this will be our fourth year of the Magic Halloween Box.
Other moms have shared some awesome ideas of what they do when they have extra candy:
- Switch Witch – As shown above, comes with a cute story about a witch that comes and takes Halloween candy and leaves behind a fun new toy. It also comes with a Switch Witch doll, box for the candy and a candy bag for trick-or-treating!
- Halloween Candy Buy Back – Yes there is actually a national website for buying back Halloween candy!
- Operation Shoebox – Send it in a care package to a member of the military
- Freeze it and add to trail mixes throughout the year (M&Ms are especially great for this)
- Use it for Science Experiments
- Make a care package for grandparents or family members far away
- Sell it to your dentist
I’d love to hear more of your ideas and how you manage Halloween! What is your family tradition?