Halloween is a fun time of year. Children are dressed in fun costumes, pumpkins are everywhere, the weather is fabulous, and of course, there is a lot of candy. Some think of Halloween as the beginning of the holiday season since it's the first of many holidays (think Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve). But Halloween doesn't have to mean all your healthy habits take a downfall. Make your Halloween healthier this season by following these tips for before and after the holiday:

Before

  • Buy the smallest candy bars that you can find. But, don't let this be an excuse for eating them all. Treat yourself to one or two on Halloween.
  • Keep candy stashed somewhere out of sight (out of sight equals out of mind)!
  • Or avoid buying anything until the day of Halloween.
  • Track your calories. Sometimes tracking what you eat can help you steer clear of the candy in the weeks before Halloween.
  • Buy non-food items to hand out (check out the list below for some great ideas).
  • Purchase candy you don't like.

After

  • Again, out of sight -- out of mind.
  • Many dentist offices will give you money in exchange for your extra candy (the children may like this even more than the candy)!
  • Donate candy to a homeless shelter or food bank.
  • Set a limit for how many pieces of candy you can have per day. This works really well with children and it also prevents them from getting sick from too much candy.
  • Freeze the candy to keep it fresh, so you can pull it out later to enjoy.
  • Be choosey. Pick your favorites and get rid of the rest.

Healthier Trick or Treat Ideas:

  • Popcorn
  • Hot chocolate packets
  • Mini pretzels
  • Mini boxes of breakfast cereal
  • Gold fish packages
  • 100 Calorie packages (many different varieties available)
  • Granola bars
  • Small boxes of raisins
  • Animal crackers
  • Mini rice krispie bars
  • Small juice boxes

Non-candy Trick or Treat Ideas:

  • Mini bubbles or sidewalk chalk
  • Spider and pumpkin rings
  • Pencils or pumpkin erasers
  • Stickers
  • Card games
  • Glow sticks/bracelets
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Play dough

Key websites

Madonna Fit For Work

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics