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Candy apples, candy corn, candy everything, oh my! No, you’re not dreaming, that time of year is quickly approaching and most of us are in desperate need of a plan! What’s a parent to do when an entire holiday is centered around SUGAR? Is it possible to cancel it and quickly move full steam ahead? After catching just a glimpse of our children’s excitement, they eagerly remind us that there’s a party to be had and we better get prepared. 

With every holiday, moderation, management and preparing for the exaggerations of life is a great way for everyone to live. Unfortunately, today so much emphasis is placed on the enjoyment of sugary treats, high-fatty foods and indulgences. This pulls us as far away from healthy living as possible. Don’t we deserve to have fun and be healthy all in one? I say yes, yes, and absolutely yes! Let’s change things up this year and put the focus back on what really matters: Halloween fun! 

Overcoming Controversy
Now, before jumping right into this new way of celebrating, we better embrace ourselves for a shrill or two from the costume crowd. Let’s be honest, not many kids would volunteer to hand over their hard-earned and lucrative stash of candy. Knowing this we need to be mentally prepared with a few tricks of our own. Patience and active listening, coupled with timing is key to success in this plan. 

Start by asking your child what fun activities they would like to do this Halloween. By listening carefully to their response, you can pick out which activities seem most important to them and build from there. By pre-planning, you offer them a choice of activities that you already feel comfortable with them participating in.

Ultimately, the goal is to let our kids be kids on this day, but in the safest way possible. Including your child in the planning and brainstorming process, makes them more likely to actively participate and also own up to “their”responsibilities of the day. This is a win win for all involved! 

So bring on the vote for the scariest costume, creepiest decoration, and best apple bobber in town, because we are equipped and ready to have a howling good time! Time spent laughing with family and friends is the best sugar rush there is!

Spooktacular Activities: Be creative and let your imagination go wild. 

• The Great Pumpkin:  Each day for one week, send your kids on a scavenger hunt in search of the Great Pumpkin’s treasure. After the little goblins are fast asleep, parents hide a fake pumpkin filled with Halloween treats (erasers, spider rings, glow sticks, etc.).  In the morning, excitement fills the air as the hunt for Halloween treasure begins. This is a fun way to get your kids excited about Halloween activities that are not only focused on candy.

• The Monster Bash: Want to keep a closer eye on your kids while they celebrate? Why not bring the party back to your house! Invite a small group of your child’s closest friends over for a night of silly games, spooky stories and spine-chilling fun! As the games begin, crowd out the sugar cravings by serving up a selection of wholesome snacks. This way, as they bob for apples, dress the mummy (Who can do it faster?), and strut their stuff in a costume contest, their cravings for candy will be lost in their laughter.

• Transylvania Trade-off: Have your child make two lists, one consisting of their top 5 Halloween candy treats, the second of their top 5 weekend activities. Then match both lists up to create a Halloween coupon book; 6 peanut butter cups =1 friend sleepover, 5 pkgs. of M&M’s = 1 round of mini golf, 8 Tootsie Roll pops = 1 extra hour of video games, 7 fun size Snickers = stay up 1 hour past bedtime. *Set treat values together and watch out for hidden “tricks.”  Be specific on candy size, so those adorable goblins don’t try to bewitch you!

• Donate in a “Sweet” Way: Who knew that there was so much more to candy than a sugar high! As parents, we jump at the chance for a teachable moment and Halloween is no different. Instead of hiding the candy or even throwing it away, donate your leftovers to a deserving charity of your choice (Operation shoebox, Operation Stars and Stripes, Halloween Candy Buy Back). Get your child invested in the cause by helping them to understand the impact that their donation has on the recipient. Your child can even include a personal letter to further connect with the cause. Whether they express their gratitude, or simply describe their Halloween fun and adventure, their effort is sure to be appreciated. A very empowering act that goes far beyond the celebration of Halloween! 

Now, get those costumes ready and have a howling good time!

Written by: Trisha Artman, Coach the Cure

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