Seven Spooktacular Tips for a Healthy Halloween

By Orna O Brien, Dietitian Nutrition News   |   21st Oct 2021

Top tips for a hale and hearty Halloween

While the pandemic made us all stay home last year wearing masks of a different kind, this year, have no fear you can easily make Halloween fun, spooky and a little healthier, with seven spooktacular ways to stay safe and healthy this Halloween.

1.Fill up first.

If you are worried about all the goodies, remember that Halloween is just one day of the year, and it’s what kids eat most days that has the biggest impact on their health. Instead of banning sweet treats, plan to trick-or-treat after a nourishing dinner. When your kids are full, they will be less likely to snack on sweet treats later in the evening. So, fire up the cauldron for a spooky Halloween dinner, carve scary faces into stuffed peppers, or try a hearty pumpkin hotpot. There are lots of creative recipes online at this time of year or why not check out our range of heart healthy recipes here. 

2. Bin the Monster Bag.

A simple but effective tip is to choose a smaller Trick or Treat bag to limit the number of sweets the kids can physically bring home.

3. Get Moving.

Add warm layers under the kids’ Halloween costumes and get out and about for a walk in the crunchy leaves. If you’re at home, keep everyone on their feet by playing fun activities like ‘Zombie Dance Parties’, a ‘Spider Crawl Race’ or ‘Monster Tag’ where one child is the monster and whoever he or she tags turns into a zombie.

4. Have Fun with Creative Activities in the Kitchen.

Get the kids involved in dressing up healthy foods in the Halloween theme. It’s a frightfully fun way to help children ‘play’ with their food and get more in touch with fresh fruit and vegetables. They are more likely to eat the end product if they are involved in making it.

Get the kids involved in dressing up healthy foods in the Halloween theme.

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5. Consider non-food treats.

Goodie bags can be filled with all kinds of frightfully fun items, not just food. They can also be fun ways of boosting creativity and active play. Why not replace sweets and chocolate with:

Be careful to avoid giving very small items that could be a choking hazard to smaller children.

6. Plan Ahead

Halloween can be a great time to talk with kids about moderation and smart eating choices. Plan in advance how many sweets they’ll be allowed to take at each house, keep and eat.

Here are some ideas:

Let each child keep enough goodies to have one piece a day for one or two weeks (long enough for the excitement to wane). Donate excess goodies to charity (if accepted) or re-purpose the rest, e.g. save it for Christmas baking such as using brightly-coloured sweets to decorate a gingerbread house.

When your child asks for a sweet pair it with a healthy snack: an apple, a banana, some nuts, or carrots with hummus.

‘Buy back’ candy from your child with money or tokens they can trade in for a fun activity: picking the music in the car, an afternoon playing at the park, going ice skating, or a day at the pool.

7. Love your Leftovers

If you have carved a Jack-O-Lantern, get the kids involved in making soup from the pumpkin when Halloween is over. It’s a great opportunity to boost the whole family’s vegetable intake, and a practical way to teach kids about avoiding food waste.

Stay safe and have fun!

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child health children dietitian food Halloween Healthy treats heart healthy nutrition recipes

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