Trick or Treat? 7 Ways to Encourage Healthier Choices This Halloween for Your Child

This is a guest post.

Everyone loves sweet treats. However, just like anything, you should strive to feed your kids candy in moderation. Limiting sugar might be difficult during October when the Halloween season is in full swing, and there’s candy everywhere you look.

Fortunately, you don’t have to give in and feed your kid candy whenever they see it — there are countless other options. Here are a few to help you and your child have a healthier Halloween season.

Offer a Choice

Restricting sugar might look different if you offer your child a choice instead of telling them they can’t have any candy. For example, telling them they had a piece of candy earlier and offering them the choice between an apple or string cheese might help them feel like they have autonomy. Choices can empower children and strengthen your relationship with them, so giving them two healthy options might encourage them more than taking the candy away entirely.

Encourage Your Child to Drink Water

Drinking water is an adequate way to ensure your child is hydrated. People often mistake early signs of dehydration or needing water for hunger. When trick-or-treating, carry a water bottle for your child. If they ask to eat their candy while they’re trick-or-treating, tell them to wait until they’re home — that way, you also have the chance to check their candy before offering it to them. You can offer them some water, which might solve the issue. If they’re still hungry, plan for them to eat some candy once they return home that evening.

Related: How to Host an Amazing Kids Halloween Party

Eat Dinner Before Trick-or-Treating

The key to a healthier Halloween is to find ways to keep your kid from snacking on too much candy. A sugary treat is fine, especially when there’s so much candy everywhere, but too much can be gluttonous and wreak havoc on your child. Eating a delicious, nutritious dinner is crucial to ensuring your child has the energy to go trick-or-treating.

Try to make them something that will give them energy to walk through the neighborhood, like carbohydrates and vegetables. Some kids can be reluctant to eat all the healthy food but still want candy. To entice them to eat, you may want to promise them a piece or two of their Halloween candy that night if they eat a decent amount of their food.

Use a Smaller Container

The container size determines how much candy your child can collect on Halloween night. Avoid finding sacks as large as pillowcases. Instead, ensure they have a cute or cool bag that carries a proper amount of candy. That way, you won’t have to deal with as many leftovers, and you can let your child enjoy a more limited Halloween experience — by not staying out all night, you might help them better adhere to their bedtime and nighttime routine.

Related: How to Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project

Don’t Eat After Brushing Your Teeth

An excellent rule for your kids might be to refrain from eating or drinking anything other than water after brushing their teeth for the evening. This rule might prevent late-night snacking, which could lead to finding more sugary treats that could keep your kid up all evening. Furthermore, your child will have a greater chance of developing cavities if they let sugar sit on their teeth. Let brushing their teeth be what signifies the end of snacking.

Figure Out What to Do With Excess Candy

Too much candy can be a problem. If your child receives far too much for one kid during their trick-or-treating expedition, you should devise a plan of what to do with the leftovers. Overeating candy is only suitable for some, so you could think of a way to get your child to trade you some of their Halloween candy.

For example, you might ask your kid to trade some of their candy for a new toy or book. This action allows your child to find something they can continue to reuse. As a bonus, you can save the candy for yourself or even donate it to friends, family, or coworkers. 

Related: Should Christian Parents Celebrate Halloween?

Build a Plan

When in doubt, you can build a plan for those tricky situations before you encounter them. A healthier Halloween means having substitutions ready and preparing to educate and parent your kids through difficult situations. A plan ensures you’re ready and can help guide your child in the right direction.

Your plan might entail different steps depending on the situation. For example, if your kid asks for candy whenever they see it in the grocery store, you should avoid those aisles altogether or at least steer them toward a healthier snack. Alternatively, you may promise a small snack if they behave the rest of the time you’re in the store — which can help take extra stress off you.

Related: Fun Family Days in October

Aim for a Healthier Halloween for Your Whole Family

Your kid might acquire a treasure hoard’s worth of candy on Halloween night. Instead of disposing of it, you can repurpose the candy and teach your kid the meaning of sugar and how it can affect them. Putting together a plan is essential for a healthier Halloween and can help you feel better about dealing with specific situations. Candy might be nice occasionally, but your rules and some fun tricks can help your entire family enjoy it in moderation.


Beth is the content manager and Managing Editor at Body+Mind. She writes about parenting, fitness, mental health, and nutrition. You can find Beth on Twitter @bodymindmag.