Have a healthy Halloween
by Emma Anne Hallman
Oct 28, 2012 | 1223 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mixing Halloween candy with popcorn can cut back on the total amount of candy offered.  Popcorn is a healthy snack that provides fiber that our bodies need in our diet.  Photo Special to the Eagle
Mixing Halloween candy with popcorn can cut back on the total amount of candy offered. Popcorn is a healthy snack that provides fiber that our bodies need in our diet. Photo Special to the Eagle
Editor’s note: A New Take on Nutrition is a food column from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. It appears every other Sunday in the Lifestyles section of the Daily Mountain Eagle.

Halloween and healthy eating habits are rarely associated one with another.  Most kids will say that the goal is to see who can fill their orange plastic pumpkin buckets with the most candy.  However, this holiday is a great time to model healthy eating habits and set a good example in any household.  This dilemma can be challenging but by eating sensibly throughout the year, your child will know how to make wise decisions when tempted.

First, start by setting the example of what healthy choices will be passed out at your house on Halloween night.  Look for items that are healthy, individually packaged food items, non-food items that are typically found in a birthday goodie bag or treats to promote physical activity.   (See the list for other healthy options or non-food treats.) Don’t send your child trick or treating on an empty stomach.  Make sure that your child has eaten a healthy meal before they go trick or treating.  The child will be excited for their fun-filled night, but make dinner a priority and serve their favorite foods that they will eat.  Soup and sandwiches are a great Halloween night dinner since they can be made ahead of time and then warmed up.  Eating a healthy meal will reduce the urge to overindulge in candy and sweets.

When trick or treating, limit the houses your children can visit.  That way treats are more likely to come from neighbors, family members or close friends.  The amount of treats will also be more manageable.  Instruct your children to wait until they get home to begin eating their treats.  Inspect all treats before allowing the child to eat them.  When in doubt, throw it out!  Only allow the child to eat foods that come in commercially wrapped packaging with no tears, unusual appearances or discolorations.  

Halloween is the perfect time to teach children that moderation is key!  Help children include their treats in their healthy eating plan by balancing a mini candy bar with an apple or other fruit item.  Have the child eat the apple first so they don’t get full on the candy.  Inventory your child’s candy and set limits on when and how much candy that they can have and stick to those limitations.  Remember that sugary candies contribute to tooth decay.  After eating their sweet treats, have them spend extra time brushing their teeth to reduce cavities.  

Recipe: Halloween Party Popcorn

Combine popped popcorn with your choice of the following items:  raisins or other dried fruits, candy corn, nuts, gummy worms, or M&Ms.

Healthier Trick or

Treating Giveaways

Cereal Bars        

Bouncy Balls

Cheese Cracker packs

Coloring or activity book

Animal Crackers    

Jump rope

Goldfish crackers    

Sidewalk Chalk

Cracker Jacks        

100 Calorie Packs

Glow sticks

Single serving box of cereal

Single box of raisins

Halloween jewelry or false teeth

Sugar free gum or candy

Gummy candies made with 100% real juice


Individual Juice Drinks

Pencils and erasers

Snack Pack pudding

Jello with fruit


Stickers or Temporary tattoos

Single serving packets of popcorn

Sugar free hot chocolate mix

Emma Anne Hallman works with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System as the Nutrition Education agent in Walker and Marion counties.