Halloween Tricks for Parents


Halloween: It’s the holiday that kids look forward to all year long and health-conscious parents stress over for about as long. All that delicious candy laying around, tempting you to go off your diet not just for that day but for weeks after. Use these tricks to survive the sugar rush.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth With Healthier Treats

If you’re hosting a party, create your own healthy splurges. Start with a nutritious food as your base, mix in a little fun and voila, you have a festive treat that both kids and adults will love.

Try any of these good-for-you goodies at your upcoming Halloween bash:

  • Banana ghosts: These "ghosts" are more scrumptious than scary. Plus, they’re a snap to make—they call for just two ingredients (bananas and chocolate chips) and take just a minute to put together. Split the banana in half, press the chocolate chips into it, and you're set! Go ahead and enjoy two—they’re just 64 calories each.
  • Witch's hands: Your guests will be anxious to get their hands on these! Fill a plastic bag with fiber-rich popcorn (it makes the fingers and palm) and sugary-sweet candy corn (for the fingernails) to deliver the perfect mix of salty and sweet. Each hand contains just 65 calories. High five!
  • Monster mouths: Open up and say ahhh! Create a perfect monster smile using mini marshmallows or go for scary jagged teeth with almonds. Use nut butter (free to use your favorite one, like peanut butter, sunflower seed, almond—it's all good!) as the "glue" spread on pieces of apple or pear. One mouth has 100 calories and delivers a dose of nutrition, too. 

    Be Selective

    If you are going to dig into the candy bowl or your kid’s loot, choose your absolute favorite indulgences and stick to a 300-calorie budget. Keep in mind that each “fun size” or “mini” treat contains between 60 and 80 calories. Do some quick math: That’s about four to five pieces.

    Hit the Pavement With Your Kids​

    Trick or treating burns calories.

    Score bonus points if you help lug around the heavy sacks of candy your kids collect during the day.

    Have a Healthy Snack Before You Head Out

    It’s just like when you’re going food shopping: Don’t go out trick-or-treating before you’ve had a strategic snack. Tasty trail mix, parmesan popcorn, crunchy spiced chickpeas—it's all fair game. These should help take the edge of hunger and keep you (and your little ones) from digging into the candy stash while you’re out and about.

    Create a Cut-Off for Your Kids​

    Set some limits going into the holiday: Allow your children to pick out five to 10 pieces of candy to enjoy on Halloween and another handful for the day after.

    Get Rid of Your Stash After November ​

    Believe it or not, most kids tend to forget about the overflowing candy bowl a day or two after Halloween—it’s the parents who have trouble with the lingering monster-size stash. So instead of keeping it in the house, bring leftover candy to the office and leave it in a bowl in the break room. Or find another willing recipient to give it to, such as a neighbor, a local charity, school drive, or church.

    Give it to your doorman, if you live in an apartment. Maybe even leave goodie bags in the mailbox for your postman. Some places even offer buy-back programs where kids can swap candy for prizes or cash.

    By Joy Bauer, MS, RDN, CDN, Health and Nutrition Expert for NBC’s Today Show and founder of Nourish Snacks. Joy’s latest book is From Junk Food to Joy Food

    Continue Reading