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Halloween Pumpkins

It’s just around the corner – a night of indulgence, sweets, and in some instances, pillowcases chock-full of candy. The temptation of gooey caramel, chocolate, nuts and more. Add over-sugared kids bouncing off the walls, and this really can become a night of terror!

It’s hard to talk moderation with kids when the entire holiday centers on sweets. But there are ways (really!) to help find balance in the sugar madness.

Here are 10 tips to cut back on sugar without your kids catching on, all the while having a Happy Halloween.

  1. orange-o-lanternsBe that parent. Yes, you know who I mean – the parent who brings fruit to the birthday parties. But really, you’d be surprised what a pleasant surprise it is to have vampire fruit stakes, monster eyeballs (grapes), jack-o-lantern fruit cups and more. There are ways to make fruits fun, and kids, after getting stuffed with sugar, will naturally crave liquids and something to balance it out.
  2. Hand out pencils, erasers and other non-sweet items at Halloween. When trick-or-treaters come, surprise them with something fun and useful. I’m not a fan of plastic, but I love school supplies. There are really inexpensive options at the dollar stores and bigger box stores to fill trick-or-treaters’ bags.
  3. The Great Pumpkin isn’t only for Linus from Peanuts. Have kids, after a night of trick-or-treating, pick their ten or twenty favorite pieces of candy. Then, bring on the Great Pumpkin. Kids can leave out the rest of the candy to be replaced by books or other neat prizes during the night. More magic, less candy, fewer sweets, and more sanity for everyone! Donate the sweets to a food pantry.
  4. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble. What better way to celebrate Halloween that with a bubbly witches’ brew? A hearty soup or stew before trick-or-treating is a nutritious, healthy snack. It can keep bodies warm on a cold Halloween night. And served in a cauldron is an enchanting way to get kids amped to eat!
  5. Pumpkin isn’t just for Jack-o-Lanterns. Start the day off with pumpkin bran muffins or pancakes. Make Halloween a whole-day affair of good, healthy foods disguised (this is the point of the holiday, right?) as decadent treats!
  6. Delayed gratification. If you just can’t seem to resist the call of the candy, freeze it. Freezing it makes it virtually impossible to pop one piece after another in your mouth (The dental bill would be frightening). By freezing, it might take a couple months to go through the bags of candy as opposed to a couple of weeks (or even days!). Bite-sized candies are deceptively enticing.
  7. Halloween PumpkinWait until the last minute: Halloween candy goes on sale in July. (Not really, but it feels like that). Don’t buy the candy until the night before trick-or-treating. If you don’t have candy, you won’t be tempted to take a little bite.
  8. Stay hydrated! Good hydration isn’t just for summer months. Drink plenty of water, and make sure your kids are drinking enough as well. Steer clear of sweet drinks since your kids will probably have a fill of sugar from candy.
  9. Trick or Trots, Haunted Half-Marathons, Scary Scurry Kids’ Runs … Now, more than ever before, there are runs for virtually every holiday. What better way to celebrate Halloween than by participating, as a family, in one of these challenges?
  10. Have fun. Indulge! There are few things more delicious than mini Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. So enjoy the tastes of the season, within reason. It’s only one night, after all!

Remember that if you do have non-food options, you can participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project by Food Allergy Research and Education. Many children have allergies and need safe places to trick-or-treat. You can be one of those places.

Halloween is fun. There are so many ways to celebrate while cutting back on the sugar. Candy is just one part of the Halloween party. Enjoy the day, the costumes, the traditions, and your favorite flavors.