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Tips for a Healthier Halloween

By Brittney Storm Rankin on 10/28/2015 | Featured Columns & Series

Help your child enjoy a safe, healthy Halloween - including candy! - with these tips.

Before trick-or-treating:

  • Serve a healthy meal. If your child is full from dinner, she will be less likely to snack on candy as she trick-or-treats or overdo it when she gets home.
  • Have her wear comfortable shoes. Not only will this reduce her risk of tripping and falling, it will allow her to get some exercise as she walks from house to house.
  • Forget the pillowcase - give her a small bag to collect her treats.
  • Decide ahead of time what neighborhoods or houses your child will visit, and establish ground rules. If you aren't going with her, plan whom she will walk with and what time she needs to be home.
  • Ensure costume accessories, such as swords, are soft, short and flexible.
  • Only purchase flame-resistant costumes.
  • Examine the costume for choking or tripping hazards. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure it fits well and she can see out of it properly.
  • Do a patch test of any makeup or face paint on a small area of skin a few days before Halloween to check for an allergic reaction. Remove the makeup as soon as your child gets home from trick-or-treating.
  • Place reflective tape on your child's bag or costume so drivers can easily see her.
  • If you are expecting trick-or-treaters, remove from your front stoop jack-o'-lanterns, candles and other decorations that could cause someone to trip.
  • If you are hosting a Halloween party, serve light bites, like fruit, veggies, hummus, small sandwiches or grilled chicken strips. Get creative - there are tons of healthy Halloween recipes online.

While trick-or-treating:

Establish and discuss Halloween ground rules with your child, including:

  • Stay with a group or a trusted adult at all times.
  • Only visit homes in neighborhoods or areas you agreed upon beforehand.
  • Do not go inside anyone's house or apartment.
  • Do not eat any treats until she gets home so you can ensure they have not been tampered with.
  • Look both ways before crossing the road and stay on the sidewalk.
  • Avoid horseplay and running.
  • Only go up to a house that has its front lights on.
  • Take only one piece of candy per house.
  • Carry and use a flashlight when it is dark.

When you get home:

  • Inspect each piece of your child's candy to ensure all wrappers are intact. If a piece isn't wrapped well, looks like it has been tampered with in some way or is homemade by someone you don't know well, toss it in the trash.
  • Allow your child to indulge only in a small amount of candy so she doesn't get a stomachache. Have her choose one or two treats to eat each day for the next week and store the candy in the refrigerator. Encourage her to enjoy each piece of candy with something healthy, like a piece of fresh fruit or some nuts.  
  • Offer to "buy back" her leftover candy and pay her in tokens, a store gift card or cash.
  • Get rid of the extra candy so you and your child won't be tempted to overindulge.

How do you keep your child safe on Halloween? Let us know your tips in the comment section below. 

Brittney Storm Rankin

Author

Brittney Storm Rankin is a writer and communications consultant. She has been involved with Girls on the Run as a coach and is passionate about health and well-being, inspiring written content, and encouraging girls to reach their full potential. She lives with her husband in Greenville, S.C.

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