With Halloween just around the corner, some parents might fear that their children will over-indulge in the sugary sweets handed out at the holiday. Fear not. Thea Runyan, lead behavior coach for the Pediatric Weight Control Program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Calif., has some solutions.
Here are a few of her healthy Halloween strategies:
Introduce your kids to the “Switch Witch” or the “Halloween Ghost.” The kids put their sweet treats on the doorstep, and this figure takes it that night, replacing it with something fun but not candy.
Trade candy for cash. This is particularly good for older kids. Some dentists will buy back kids’ candy, meaning kids can spare their teeth to the tune of some greenbacks. Or why not find a charitable solution? Some schools set up programs where kids can donate the candy to U.S. troops.
Set an example. Why not hand out some fun, non-candy items such spider rings, pretzels, stickers and tattoos?
Save calories for both you and your kids. Don’t buy your candy until a day or two before you hand it out. Otherwise, it’s too tempting to eat it beforehand. Or, buy candy you or your children don’t like. Hate dark chocolate? Make that the treat you give out.
Emphasize the fun of trick-or-treating, rather than the subsequent feast. And when the trick-or-treating is over, have the kids pick out their favorite 20 pieces to keep. To many parents’ surprise, Runyan says, kids are often perfectly satisfied keeping just 20 pieces.
What are your favorite healthy Halloween hints?