Healthy Halloween Ideas Kids Will Actually Like

October 8, 2021
| Created by Melanie Taylor, MS, RDN, CD

Here at Harmons, we love Halloween! The opportunity to dress up is fun for all ages, and if you shop with us you will be delighted to see a variety of creative creatures working in stores. From dietitians dressed as their favorite foods to managers decked in their spookiest best, it’s the perfect time to visit for fun the whole family can enjoy.

With ghouls, ghosts, and goblins roaming the streets, it’s easy to forget that the scariest part of Halloween is actually lurking right there in the candy bucket. According to the CDC, girls between the ages of 2–19 consume an average of 15 teaspoons of added sugar per day and boys of the same age take in a whopping 18 teaspoons. Ahhhhhhh! But before you get too spooked, a child’s daily eating habits have the greatest effect on their health and Halloween is only one day a year. This means Halloween is a great opportunity to teach your children how to enjoy treats in the greater context of an overall healthy diet. Here are some tips to bring balance while keeping the fun this Halloween:

Non-Food Ideas

Small, inexpensive non-food items are a great candy alternative. Toys and trinkets are also a fun way to avoid allergens.

  • Helium-filled Jack-o-Lantern balloons
  • Bubbles
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Glow sticks or bracelets
  • Halloween-themed rings
  • Vampire fangs
  • Bouncy balls

Healthier Options

Healthier Halloween alternatives are a good way to reduce sugar intake. Homemade treats are wonderful if you know all of your neighbors and feel safe giving and accepting homemade goodies. For most of us, however, individually wrapped items are safest and will ensure your hard work doesn’t get thrown away.

Feeling creative?

Use your Sharpie skills to create healthy, on-theme Halloween treats:

  • Draw Jack-o-Lantern faces on whole clementines or the tops of peach fruit cups
  • On a wrapped cheese stick, draw simple eyes and a mouth for a cheesy ghoul (also a great, practical snack to fuel trick-or-treaters!)

If you simply can’t celebrate Halloween without candy, better candy choices include:

  • Candy without hydrogenated oils
  • Smaller “fun-sized” candy
  • Antioxidant-rich dark chocolate
  • Sugar-free gum

Additional Tips

  • With all the excitement building up on Halloween night, don’t forget to have a nutritious meal or snack before heading out to trick-or-treat.
  • Instead of making candy off-limits, serve healthy snacks first and bring out treats later when kids have already filled up on more nutritious foods.
  • Leftover candy (i.e., M&Ms, chocolates) can be mixed with whole grain cereal and nuts to make trail mix.
  • Keep leftover candy out of sight. Leftovers can even be kept in the freezer.
  • Halloween candy buy back sends goodies to troops overseas!