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At Halloween, the routine of dressing up in a costume and trick-or-treating is a highlight for many kids. It can also be a frustrating time for parents when copious amounts of sweets in the house can throw everyone off of their usual, well-rounded and balanced diet.

Here are five tips to help keep you and your family on track while enjoying Halloween:

1. Eat a Healthy Meal Before Trick-or-Treating

Similar to going grocery shopping on an empty stomach, trick-or-treating without a belly of healthy food is going to encourage you and your children to overindulge in the sweets. Eating a healthy meal together that includes lots of fibre and proteins before going trick-or-treating will help limit the amount of snacking you do once you head out.

2. Provide Healthier Treat Options or Non-food Options

Yes- be that house! By giving out healthier treat options at Halloween to the kids coming to your house, you’ll feel better and will not be left with an overabundance of sugary treats. Treats such as fruit, fruit leathers, and trail mix are healthier alternatives. You can also give out cool toys instead of candy. Colourful pens and pencils, erasers, stickers, temporary tattoos, and glow sticks are a few suggestions. They also make great treats for children with allergies and will allow your house to participate in The Teal Pumpkin Project.

3. Work Exercise into the Evening

Walk between houses instead of driving. With Fitbits and most smartphones being equipped with pedometers, you can create a friendly competition with other trick-or-treaters to determine who walked the most steps by the end of the night. Set off with a realistic step goal, put on your walking shoes and get everyone excited about the long walk around the neighbourhood.

4. Set Up a Keep Versus Donate System

When you get home, have your kids separate the candy into piles. Create a reasonably sized pile that they can keep and another that they give away. Maybe they have a friend who was sick and not able to go out trick-or-treating and would appreciate some candy. Consider sharing your candy with a senior’s residence or a local children’s group. Local shelters may also accept candy donations at Halloween. The Ottawa Mission, for example, has an organized volunteer activity where your family can make Hope Packages for their clients. It’s a great opportunity to teach your kids about sharing with others who aren’t as fortunate.

5. Do away with Trick-or-Treating Altogether

What if, instead of trick-or-treating, your family dressed up and organized a haunted house or lawn games for the neighbourhood kids? Or dress your family up in costumes and go see a movie or go bowling? Or deliver healthy Halloween treats to your local police or fire station, nursing home, or children’s hospital? You can start a new tradition that your whole family will look forward to that doesn’t involve a house full of candy.

For more information about our team of MSK experts visit our website. We hope you’ll try these tips for a happy, healthy Halloween! Share your pictures with us on social media @curavitahealth!