November 19, 2016

Tips for a Healthy Halloween, No Matter Where You Celebrate

For many kids, families and schools, Halloween is one of fall’s greatest highlights – a kick off to the annual holiday season that brings families and friends together to celebrate. While these celebrations can often be synonymous with unhealthy eating, we’re here to remind you that you can make your Halloween – and the many celebrations that follow – not only fun, but healthy, too!

Here are some tips for how to make your Halloween a healthy holiday, wherever you may celebrate:


At Home

A healthy Halloween starts at home. The way you celebrate your family celebrates holidays will set expectations for your kids when they participate in other classroom parties or afterschool celebrations. Here are some treat tips for your household:

The Wholesome Dinner 

Plan to trick-or-treat after a wholesome dinner. When your kids are full, they will be less likely to snack on the treats they accumulate later in the evening.


The Trick-or-Beet 

Instead of handing out sweet treats at the door, try prepackaged servings of vegetables or dried fruit that have no added sugar.


The Smaller Treat Container 

Leave the pillowcases at home and give your kids smaller treat containers to use while venturing out to collect their neighborhood bounty.

At School

Healthy school celebrations provide consistent messages that reinforce the healthy habits students are creating throughout the school year. The healthy celebration possibilities are endless – get creative! Here are a couple ideas to get those creative juices flowing:


The Great Pumpkin Run

At Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School, students have many opportunities to be active throughout the school day, especially around the holidays. Physical Education Teacher Paula Reynolds says students participate in themed 1-mile fun runs, including the Halloween “Pumpkin Run,” where winners at each grade level received award ribbons and pumpkins.

The Healthy Snack Database

Wellness Coordinator Laura Rundell is proud of Clyde-Savannah High School’s wellness policy, which designates once-a-month birthday celebrations that feature healthy alternatives to traditional treats. Especially around the holidays, teachers and students can utilize the Alliance’s Smart Food Planner, which takes the guesswork out of finding preapproved healthy options for classroom celebrations.

During Out-of-School Time

Most students trick-or-treat in the evening, extending Halloween celebrations beyond the school day. This is where our afterschool programs and community settings can help amp up the healthy message. Here’s one of our favorites:

The Swap 

Playing with your food has its place, and that place is during out-of-school time Halloween celebrations. Staff at the Wilson Park Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia decided to replace traditional candy at their Halloween celebration with vegetable skeletons, tangerine jack-o’-lanterns and banana ghosts.

More Treat Tips on Pinterest

Visit our Healthy Holiday and Class Celebrations Pinterest boards for more ideas on how to have a healthy Halloween.

Jill Turley is a National Nutrition Advisor at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.