Monsters, ghosts and goblins are scary, but they make October so much fun! However, for some people, the scariest part of the month can be the aisles and aisles of Halloween candies and other treats.
A healthy Halloween almost doesn’t seem possible! In fact, the entire holiday season which marks the year’s end can be a challenge if you are working on weight and/or health management. Stay in control by having a game plan!
See below for some tips, ideas and a few fun recipes that will help you enjoy a healthy Halloween with all the bells and whistles, without losing focus on your health.
A Healthy Halloween Game Plan
- Eat Nutritious Meals packed with protein. Don’t skip meals and let hunger creep up on you. If you are full from a good meal, you will be less likely to snack on those not-so-fun sized candy bars. (Note: 4 fun-sized candy bars = approximately 320 calories)
- Stay Hydrated at all times. If you don’t want water, sip on no-calorie or low-calorie beverages. Almost every grocery store (and some retail stores) sells delicious fall-flavored herbal teas that can be served hot or iced.
- Buy a Candy Alternative if you want to offer kids a healthier treat when they come to your door to trick-or-treat. Personally, I loved getting those random pencils, erasers and stickers as a kid!
- Buy Your Candy at the Last Minute if you struggle with temptation. If you don’t want to be “that house” that’s not giving out candy, consider buying your candy the day before Halloween. That way, they won’t be calling to you from the kitchen counter or your coffee table. (Hint: beat the rush at the store by shopping early in the day or late in the evening)
- Choose a Candy You Don’t Love to hand-out on Halloween. If you have any candy left over, it won’t be so appealing for you to snack on.
Fun, Festive and Healthy Fall Treats
- Make a pot of chili with a bunch of toppings. Cuddle up and watch a scary movie!
- Dish-up a plate of spiders using black olives and your favorite Deviled Egg recipe.
- Cut-up some veggies and create a veggie skeleton.
- Mix-up some sweet & spicy trail mix with dried apples or raisins, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, wasabi peas or edamame.
- Make a batch of pumpkin spice protein balls.
Recipe for Pumpkin Spice Protein Balls:
- 1/2 cup dehydrated apples (go for the crunchy, freeze-dried type)
- 3 dates, whole, pitted
- 1/4 cup protein powder
- 1/4 cup oatmeal, dry
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup sugar-free syrup (caramel and vanilla flavors work great)
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- 2 tbsp pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- Blend all ingredients in food processor until mixture forms a soft dough.
- Roll dough into quarter-sized balls (recipe makes 16-18).
- Optional: Roll balls in toppings to change them up. Consider chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds, unsweetened toasted coconut or pumpkin spice sugar –> 1 tsp coconut sugar or sugar substitute and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Family-Friendly Fall Activities
- Put on Michael Jackson’s Thriller and dance for a 30-minute workout
- Go for a nature walk or scavenger hunt. Snap photos of fall-themed items like acorns, leaves, pumpkins, scarecrows, skeletons, ghosts, football games and friends in sweaters!
- Offer to rake the leaves for an elderly neighbor.
- Focus on memory-making activities. Learn the history of Halloween or look for ‘Day of the Dead’ festivals. Participate by creating your own altar (ofrenda) and celebrating your loved ones (living and past).
- Make a fitness challenge if you go trick-or-treating. Challenge your kids and/or friend group to track their steps using phones or pedometers.
- Make monsters for the little ones in your life using homemade pumpkin spice play-dough! Gather some cookie cutters, a garlic press, a rolling pin, pipe cleaners, buttons, popsicle sticks, etc. and create your own monster-making factory!
Instructions for Pumpkin Spice Play-dough:
What You Will Need:
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup salt
- 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 3 cups boiling water
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- Couple drops of red and yellow food coloring
- Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
- Add boiling water, oil and food coloring.
- Knead when cool enough to handle until smooth dough forms.
With a little planning, Halloween doesn’t have to be a nightmare! A “spooktacular” time can be had by all while still making healthy choices. Have a happy and healthy Halloween, and remember to stay safe!
About the Author:
Michelle “Shelly” Vicari is the Chairwoman of the OAC National Board of Directors and friendly face behind her personal blog, The World According to Eggface. She majored in Child Development & Family Studies as well as Political Science at San Diego State University. Ms. Vicari is the former Curriculum Director of the largest National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited Child Care Centers in Southern California. She has authored many curriculum guides for teachers working with young children and was lucky enough to have once met Mr. Fred Rogers!