Celebrate Halloween with a healthy twist

Americans will spend more than $2.5 billion on Halloween candy this year, nearly as much as they’ll spend on costumes. That’s pretty scary! Even though we know sugar contributes to obesity and obesity is linked to increased cancer risk, it’s hard to avoid sweets on special occasions. But Halloween doesn’t have to be all about the treats. Conjure up some new Halloween traditions this year to take some of the focus away from the candy.

  • If you’re expecting trick-or-treaters at your home, ask your kids to help you pick out a fun alternative to candy, like temporary tattoos, stickers or glow sticks. Don’t worry—other neighbors will have plenty of candy for everyone to enjoy.
  • After trick-or-treating, put the candy away and cook a healthy Halloween-themed meal together as a family. Try a “bloody” tomato soup with mini grilled cheese sandwiches cut into shapes using Halloween cookie cutters. Or use lean meat or vegetables in these Jack O’Lantern stuffed peppers. After dinner, allow the kids a few pieces of candy and put the rest in the freezer to enjoy gradually over the next few months (be upfront about this plan so you won’t be met with any disappointed faces).
  • Plan something active for your family, even if it’s just walking instead of driving to trick or treat (when safe). Adding an active component to the day can encourage a healthier holiday. Try walking around the neighborhood to look at Halloween decorations or playing Halloween music at home and hosting a dance party.

However you choose to spend Halloween, encourage your family to practice healthy lifestyle habits throughout the year by exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet to reduce your risk of cancer.