Treat Tips for a Healthy Halloween

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For many, Halloween kicks off the annual holiday season, which stretches for several months of celebrations with family and friends. These celebrations involve a consistent presence of food, and often that of the unhealthy persuasion. And Halloween, with its ever-expanding candy sacks, may be the biggest culprit. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are some treat tips to make your Halloween a healthy one in all the places you celebrate.

At Home

A healthy Halloween starts at home. The way you celebrate with your family will set the tone for health as your kids partake in other classroom parties and out-of-school time celebrations. Here are some treat tips for your household:

The Wholesome Dinner
Plan to trick-or-treat after a wholesome dinner. When your kids are full, they will be less likely to snack on the treats they accumulate later in the evening.

The Trick-or-Beet
Instead of handing out sweet treats at the door, try prepackaged servings of vegetables or dried fruit that have no added sugar.

The Smaller Treat Container
Leave the pillow cases at home and give your kids smaller treat containers to use while venturing out to collect their neighborhood bounty.

At School

Healthy school celebrations provide consistent messaging around food that reinforce the healthy habits students are creating throughout the school year. Your first step for a healthy celebration – get creative! Here are a couple ideas to get those creative juices flowing:

The Candy Buy-Back
Sarah Watson’s students at North Lakeland Elementary School participate in the Make a Soldier Smile Halloween candy buy-back program where children donate their Halloween candy to American soldiers overseas. The students once collected more than 600 pounds of candy! Now that’s something to celebrate. Read Their Story

The Power of Play
“Recess” may just be the most powerful word during the school day. Walt Disney Elementary School in California used its power for good by holding a candy collection contest for students to compete for an extra period of recess. Students collected more than 700 pounds of candy. Read Their Story

During Out-of-School Time

Most students trick-or-treat in the evening, extending Halloween celebrations beyond the school day. This is where our afterschool programs and community settings can help amp up the healthy message. Here’s one of our favorites:

The Swap
Playing with your food has its place, and that place is in out-of-school time Halloween celebrations. Staff at the Wilson Park Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia decided traditional candy would not be making an appearance at their celebration and instead kids munched on vegetable skeletons, tangerine jack-o-lanterns, and banana ghosts. Read Their Story

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