Happy, Healthy Halloween

TRICK OR TREAT!

Soon we will be hearing children walking through our neighborhoods, singing to us their requests for something sweet and then filling their trick or treat bags to the brim. I love the fun of Halloween: the parties, the happy kids, the decorations and, yes, even the sweet treats. (Within reason, of course!)

In the past, Halloween has also been a little bit of an anxious time for me. Once upon a time, it marked the beginning of my downward, unhealthy end-of-the-year spiral.

Do you know what I mean?

Looking just at Halloween, first there is lots of candy in the house. You know, "getting ready for the trick or treaters" but then I'd mysteriously have to restock before the big day.

Then there are the school parties, friends' parties, Halloween itself....

...and then the AFTERMATH. The candy that sticks around until it all gets eaten.

But it really doesn't end there because then we have Thanksgiving and the over-indulgences it can bring, followed by all the yummy treats that correlate to so many wonderful December holidays along with parties, get-togethers, and one reason after another to over do it.

See? Downward spiral.

By the time it all ended, I was making New Year's Resolutions to lose the weight I mostly just gained in the last 3 months. Eek.

But let's not get too far ahead though. I want to share a little bit about why Halloween is NOT a time of anxiety for me anymore (I will talk about the rest of the holiday season later on)  and why it does NOT represent the beginning of my downward end-of-the-year spiral anymore. In my own journey for my best health & wellness, I have discovered a few strategies for keeping Halloween in check for both myself and my children that I want to share with you.

  1. FILL UP ON GOOD, HEALTHY FOOD

Do not ever be HUNGRY around Halloween treats! (Um, I believe that is the definition of "disastrous outcome".) This strategy is something to use for ourselves and our children. Halloween party at school? Cool. Huge healthy breakfast, huge healthy lunch, healthy snack. Of course this is our goals on a daily basis but I want to be particularly on top of it during a time like this. If I am going to slip up, it would be best not to do that now. I know that my kids will eat some sweet treats and I am fine with that. But I know they are less likely to go overboard with bellies full of healthy goodness.

This is true for me, too. I host a Halloween party here in my home. We usually have a combination of healthy food options and some fun holiday treats. Before I step foot in a room that has luscious homemade cookies and cupcakes (we have some amazing bakers in this family), I make sure to eat first. Showing up hungry to a room full of naughty food options is like inviting a vampire into your home, it renders you powerless. (Anyone get that movie reference? ha!) So, eat up!

 

2.  QUIET YOUR CRAVING WITH SOMETHING WARM AND COMFORTING

During the times that a sweetness craving is calling (Ok, maybe SCREAMING) my name, I quiet that craving down with something warm and comforting like hot tea. There are so many types of teas that go well with this time of year. Teas that include cinnamon, apple and cranberry are perfect for the autumn weather. I love rooibus, it is probably almost always my tea of choice to walk around the neighborhood with as we trick or treat. Hot apple cider or just hot lemon water can also do the job to quiet that disruptive craving.

 

3.  HAVE HEALTHY OPTIONS

Simple enough but in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, this strategy can get pushed aside. Coming up with sweet treats is easy, and there are certainly plenty you could grab in a pinch at any grocery store. If you are going to spend time and effort figuring out any part of your Halloween traditions, figure out how to include some healthier options. It is possible, I promise!

Last year, our very sweet neighbor brought my kids a unique bag of Halloween treats. It included seaweed snacks, organic dried fruit, super food chips, energy bars and organic candy. It was a great idea and we felt so good about the kids receiving it! The best part is that they LOVED it! They tasted Chomperz (the seaweed snack) for the first time and ever since then I can't keep a package in my house for more than a day. They devour it immediately!

There are so many simple and healthy, not to mention adorable, options for your Halloween table this season, too. These clementine "pumpkins" took me a just a couple of minutes to put together and my kids went ga-ga over them. Nobody is going to feel cheated out of sweet treats when you have something like this gracing your party table.

 

4. THE SWITCH WITCH (AKA "Get the candy out of the house AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!")

I don't know who created this idea but I would personally like to give them a huge hug. The first time I heard about the Switch Witch I embraced the idea whole-heartedly. You may have heard of this awesome, new tradition and it is how I remove the over abundance of candy from my home as soon as possible. Like anyone else, if there is a ton of candy in my house, I (and everyone else that lives here) is going to eat it. I desperately needed a strategy to deal with this and the Switch Witch works out perfectly.

The basic idea is that the Switch Witch comes during the night, after all trick or treating is done, and trades the candy for a gift. Each of my kids picks 5 or 6 of their favorite pieces of candy from the night to save and the rest is offered to the Switch Witch. She takes it and leaves a gift. You might like to have that gift be a book, a craft, a toy. We usually have a book, a craft and/or a healthy snack. If you are feeling particularly crafty, the Switch Witch might leave a note about how they made a good choice to limit the amount of sugary treats they had this Halloween season!

What you do from there is up to you. Some local dentists will BUY your Halloween candy, some folks bring it into the break room at work, some organizations include donated Halloween candy in care packages for U.S. troops like Operation Gratitude. No matter what you do, this is a great way to move candy out of your house and make it that much easier for you to maintain your healthy lifestyle.

 

It is possible to put a healthier spin on this fun holiday. If you decide to try any of these strategies, please share your thoughts in our free online community, The Real Moms Collaborative!

I would love to hear the ways in which YOU make Halloween a little healthier, too, so be sure to send your ideas our way!

Thank you so much for reading.