How to Have a Healthy and Happy Halloween

You don’t have to spend a lot of money or over-indulge in too much candy to make your family’s Halloween a frightfully good time.  Here are some ways to scare some fresh new ideas into this year’s Halloween festivities.

Cheryl Butler
3-minute read

Halloween is rapidly becoming the fastest-growing and most widely-loved holidays of the year.  According to the National Retail Federation, in 2012 the average person spent $79.82 on decorations, costumes and candy, up from $72.31 the previous year, with total Halloween spending expected to have reached $8 billion.*

Those figures are staggering, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money or over indulge in too much candy to make your family’s Halloween a frightfully good time.  Here are some ways to scare some fresh new ideas into this year’s Halloween festivities.

Tip #1: Create “Trick or Treat” Stations in Your Neighborhood

Instead of traipsing your kids all over the neighborhood on a cold, dark night gather a group of families together to offer creative alternatives to the regular “trick or treating” that you’ve always done.  Each “station” can offer something different - one house can be a Halloween craft station, another can offer cider and donuts, the next can have a piñata, and the next a mini treasure hunt in the dark.   Families can still offer “goodies” to each child that comes to the stations, but this will streamline the entire trick-or-treat process and could turn into a new neighborhood tradition.

Tip #2: Hand out Alternative Treats

Sure, getting candy is loads of fun on Halloweeen, but you can shake it up by offering the following treats as well:

  • Plastic animals or insects
  • Kids’ temporary tattoos
  • Variety of stickers
  • Colored pencils/crayons
  • Glow jewelry
  • Halloween-themed socks or shoelaces
  • Halloween party cups
  • Miniature pumpkins
  • Bags of orange and black Legos
  • Small Frisbee/balls

Tip #3: Host a Scary Movie Night on Halloween

If you’re not really into trick-or-treating, or your kids are too old for it but still want to celebrate this fun holiday, host a scary movie night where everyone comes dressed in a creepy costume.  Let them whip up snacks like bloody pizza (pizza with sauce and no cheese) or several other disgustingly delicious recipes and stay home for some ghoulish good fun.

Tip #4: The Candy Aftermath

When your trick-or-treaters come home with sacks full of candy, don't panic (or dive into the bags yourself!). Instead, here are some fun ways to make that candy work for you:

  • Do math! Sort by color, size, shape, favorite, least favorite, etc. Think of as many ways to sort as possible.
  • Decide how often your children get a piece—after dinner, when the room is cleaned up, after school, or another time. That way kids aren’t constantly asking when they can have some.
  • Buy it back. After a few days (you decide how many), it’s time for the kids to “sell” their stash to you for a toy or, for older ones, a privilege. This way the candy doesn’t hang around forever tempting everyone. Besides, it gets stale!
  • If you plan to pass out candy, buy the kind you don’t like. That way you won’t be tempted to eat it. Buy only a few days before Halloween so it doesn’t get eaten ahead of time.
  • Freeze it to use for gingerbread houses or for baking cookies during the holidays.

Happy Halloween!

Trick or treat and pumpkin candy images courtesy of Shutterstock.

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.