Healthy Halloween: Throw A Party & Distract Your Kids From Candy

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 - 1:32pm

By Heidi Reichenberger McIndoo, MS, RD

Halloween is synonymous with candy. And as a result, kids look forward to it for weeks in advance. As their anticipation grows, though, so does their parents' concern about how many sweets their children will consume. Since Halloween is only once a year, some extra candy won't hurt. Remember: moderation is the key. Let your kids enjoy themselves at their school parties. But instead ofor in addition totrick-or-treating, throw a party that emphasizes fun, not food.

Here are some ideas for food and games to make your children enjoy themselves so much they forget about the candy!

Tasty and healthy Halloween drinks

For starters serve punch made from 100% juice. You can either create some flavors on your own, or you can purchase a pre-blended juices like cranberry apple or strawberry kiwi. This way, you quench their thirst while avoiding the added sugar of soda or artificially sweetened drinks (which usually contain the equivalent of more than 6 teaspoons of sugar!). For more information see "Limiting Childrens Consumption of Soda". Avoid any juice products that have "ade," "juice drink," "juice beverage" or "cocktail" on the label. They contain added sugar and are not 100% juice.

Simple healthy Halloween snacks for kids

There are many alternatives to high fat, high sugar munchies. Air-popped popcorn, pretzels, and animal crackers are just a few. Give a little zip to plain air-popped popcorn by first spraying the popped corn with low-calorie butter spray like I Can't Believe it's Not Butter, and then sprinkling on some spices for flavor. A few popular seasonings are cinnamon, garlic, or chili powder. You may find it easier to purchase microwave popcorn instead. However, if you do keep in mind that some microwave popcorn has a lot of added fat. Instead, buy the light or natural types and stay away from the movie-theater-butter and extra-butter flavors.

Fun food games

A great way to keep your guests busy is to make apple faces. Ahead of time, core and slice and apples horizontally into half-inch thick, round slices. Sprinkle them with lemon juice to prevent browning and stick them in the refrigerator. When the kids arrive, spread the slices with peanut butter or light cream cheese and have bowls of raisins, peanuts, celery, candy corn, etc., for them to decorate with. To add to the fun, take the kids out earlier in the day or the day before to pick the apples themselves?

Hand out cool party favors

What's a party without favors? Instead of giving your guests yet more candy, fill their goody bags with fake tattoos, plastic spider rings, and Halloween-themed pencils, pads, and erasers. These favors also make great treats to hand out to all the miniature ghosts and goblins that ring your doorbell.

Eating the loot! How do you avoid children eating all the candy?

If your kids have collected lots of candy throughout the day, sort through it with them and let them pick their favorites. Take the rest to the office or give it away. Allow your kids a couple days to indulge themselves, and then freeze the rest. The frozen candy makes a nice surprise in their lunch boxes throughout the year. This kind of discipline also teaches children how treats can be incorporated into a healthy diet. Keep in mind that a day or two of extra sugar won't undo an otherwise healthy diet.

For ideas on healthy halloween treats see the following article from TheDietChannel: Halloween Treats: Suggestions for Alternative Treats?