What can we do to experience a healthy halloween?

October 31, 2022

Whether you are at a staff meeting on October 31st, salivating over the table of cupcakes and orange popcorn your colleagues have brought to enjoy the festivities; or perhaps you are preparing your very own goblin for a night of trick or treating – both scenarios will result in an excessive amount of candy that you can enjoy at your leisure.

Read below for 8 ways to enjoy the holiday in a healthier way…it is possible believe it or not!

1. Encourage your children to donate 1/2 of their treats to those who didn’t have the opportunity to trick or treat!

Explaining that there are children who are too unwell to be able to participate in all the fun and activities often inspires a sense of giving and charity to share their happiness. 

Allow your family to get acquainted with the local charities or perhaps a neighbour-in-need in your community and suddenly Halloween has a whole new meaning!

2. Consider collecting donations for a local food bank (along with your treats of course!)

Did you know that 1 in 8 Canadian households experience food insecurity, meaning that they don’t have sufficient access to the food they need to meet their dietary needs!? 

Inspiring children to contribute to a charity on a day that they are excessively receiving treats/food is humbling and a great experience to add to their Halloween memories. 

Be sure they participate in dropping off the collection so they can see where their efforts went!

3. Enjoy treats only following a meal (excluding breakfast!) or in combination with a healthy food choice to balance blood sugar levels

When adults or children alike consume a sugary treat, a hormone called insulin is released in proportion to the amount of sugar consumed to ensure the calories are absorbed. After eating the treat, the body experiences a spike in blood sugar levels which is associated with a multitude of physiological changes, including hyperactivity and an inability to focus which may be a top concern at school or at work. This blood sugar high is followed by a blood sugar low caused by the hormone insulin triggering high levels of sugar to be absorbed into your cells and this is associated with inattentiveness, extreme fatigue, irritability, anger management issues, amongst others

By ensuring treats are consumed after a meal containing protein, the high’s and low’s of blood sugar with be dulled (although not totally avoided), as will the associated unfavourable symptoms.

Empowering children to understand how food can translate to feelings and emotional responses is so helpful for their futures and will start to instil a lifelong understanding of the importance of a balanced diet

4. Be a role model

Simply put, be as concerned with your personal health as your children’s health. Serve as a role model following your own guidelines you have instilled for your family and consume in moderation.

A few behaviours to watch out for if the Halloween candy consumption is drawn out over a longer period of time.

•   Severely fluctuates energy levels and can affect sleep patterns

•   Induces hyperactivity and impulsive behaviours

•   Suppresses the immune system (which is the last thing the body needs during cold and flu season!)

5. Have fun with the Halloween Spirit in the kitchen

Enjoy the holiday by being creative in the kitchen and creating snacks with a Halloween theme. Children would love to help you in the kitchen as well – teaching them how healthy food can be fun!

 Pinterest has your back!

6. Avoid using sugary treats as rewards

As hough it is tempting to use treats as incentive to have chores completed, beds made, and homework completed, this can create an association with accomplishment and reward with sugary sweets and furthermore create an expectation that basic everyday tasks deserve a reward after completion

Of course positive reinforcements are needed to get through life with kids! They truly want connection and time with their parents, family and friends above all – offer to challenge them to a quick competition (example 5 push ups) or extra book time at the end of the day with you and see how it goes! parents, alt

7. Stash out of sight, out of mind

Can you relate when you pass a billboard with a Pizza Pizza advertisement showing steaming, cheesy delicious pizza and you automatically crave pizza for dinner? 

The same thing can happen with sugary sweets. If the bag of Halloween candy is visible, even if there isn’t a craving for a treat, the brain will start to associate the delicious flavour, happy moments when eating treats and induce a desire for a treat.

8. Need to avoid gluten and don’t know what treats are safe to enjoy?

Peanuts have become safely labeled overtime, but we find wheat and gluten containing candies are more difficult to decipher. 

Click here for a Gluten free list from Canadian Celiac Association


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