By Emily Morrice (bio)
If this is your little one’s first Halloween (or the first Halloween they’ll remember), get ready for cuteness overload! Some of the sweetest childhood memories are formed on the trick-or-treat trail. You’ve probably spend hours figuring out their costumes, but many parents don’t consider the after-effects of Halloween, namely all that sugar! How can you balance out enjoying the sweetest holiday in the calendar year with healthy family habits? Here are some ideas.
1. Limit the trick-or-treating to a couple blocks.
For little ones, going out doors so close to bedtime is probably not the norm, so don’t overwhelm them by pushing bedtime back by an hour just to visit that extra neighbourhood. Enjoy the festivities, but aim to have baby in bed at her normal hour. Healthy sleep is a tricky thing to maintain, but that fresh air before bed may actually benefit your little guy, provided his bedtime isn’t pushed too far back.
2. Let them choose a limited number of candies to taste on Halloween night and pack away the rest for later on.
Even one little package of Skittles has 11 grams of sugar, the equivalent of three teaspoons of sugar! Of course, indulging is part of the fun of trick-or-treating, but one treat per day is a healthy pace for a young child.
3. Offer a Trade
I’m not crazy about my children having a large sack full of candy, regardless of how much fun we had trick-or-treating, so we offer our kids a trade. We let them keep ten pieces of candy and then they can trade the remaining candy for money to spend on books. Its win-win, because the kids are still thrilled with their candy, and yet it’s an appropriate amount that will be gone within the week. Further, the kids are now excited about a new book or two! I suggest 10 cents per candy, but you may want to offer less if they have a huge stash!
4. No Sweets November
In our home, we aim to keep a healthy diet with the occasional indulgence, but some months are harder than others to find a healthy balance. October and December are such months, thanks to Halloween and Christmas, so we practice “No Sweets November”. We let the kids enjoy their Halloween candy on Halloween night and for a couple of days afterwards, but then we dive into a month of no sweets to right the ship. Before we know it, gingerbread and candy canes will be the norm, so it’s the perfect time recalibrate.
5. Reuse their chocolate in healthy recipes
Once my kids swap their extra candy for book money, I’m left with a collection of chocolate to put to good use. While I’m not keen on my kids snacking on chocolate bars, I always add a little bit of chocolate in healthy baking recipes such as zucchini bread or pumpkin muffins. Chop up the Halloween chocolate bars into small bits and pop them in the freezer, then add them in lieu of chocolate chips next time you’re baking.
Halloween is a great holiday to get to know your neighbours, join your community, and coo over all the adorable kid’s costumes. Sugar crashes and tantrums spurned on by fatigue can definitely put a wrench in the festivities, so we hope these tips will help you have a happy, healthy Halloween!
Emily is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of three little ones. When she’s not traveling the world with her family, Montreal is home, where you can find her exploring the local markets, making a mess in her kitchen, and brewing a cup of tea. Find her on Instagram (@emmorrice) and check out her lifestyle blog, Our Nest In The City, where she documents it all.