I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Halloween that often leaves me feeling like a party pooper or like the candy police. It’s not always my favourite holiday, what with the sugar consumption and frenetic energy. So this year, I’m aiming to change that by adopting a different mindset and traditions so that the entire holiday can be more treat, and less trick.
If you want to mix things up a bit, here are a few great alternatives for Halloween events and traditions that still pack a festive punch.
Head to a Pumpkin Patch
Plan your pre-Halloween weekends to include a trip to a pumpkin patch. Not only will you be able to pick a prime pumpkin for carving, there’s bound to be loads of fresh air, photo shoots, hiking opportunities, and tasty, homemade morsels. It’s a nice balance to the more commercial aspect of the holiday.
Host a Halloween Playdate
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a costume and the holiday on more than one occasion. Try hosting a Halloween playdate before or after the big day. Invite friends to come over with their costumes so that they can have fun getting dressed up and trying out different looks. It’s great as a dress rehearsal for the big day or to relieve the memories after. To round out the fun, consider making some healthy pumpkin muffins or adding the pumpkin seeds (and maybe a few of the Halloween treats) to a nutritious cookie or square recipe – here’s one we love.
Get Creative With Loot
Don’t be afraid to be different when it comes to the goodies you shell out this year. Only get a handful of kids at the door? Consider stickers, trading cards (Pokemon are a hit) or other little things like bubbles or tattoos. Still get a crowd? Why not try fruit snacks, granola bars, or individual packages of Goldfish crackers to provide a respite from lollipops or chocolate bars. For more ideas, check out this gallery.
Balance the Treats
Those bite-sized treats make it easy for the kids to consume a boatload of empty calories and sugar without even realizing it – or even feeling satiated. Come up with an allowable amount – perhaps two mini-sized items a day, following a good helping of fruits or vegetables. If kids want an extra treat, they can do 50 jumping jacks or another exercise (like a 10-minute walk). The exercise helps balance that load of refined sugar plus, once they’re done exercising, they might find they’re no longer interested in the treat. Here are some other great “candy plan” ideas.
Have Fun with Creations
Halloween can be a great time to unleash the creativity. Why not grab an extra pumpkin and try something new this year? Maybe a drip paint technique, abstract look, or glitter? Or perhaps this is the year to start with a white pumpkin canvas and go from there. Check out this guide to pumpkin carving with creative flair.
Attend a Pumpkin Parade
It’s so sad that so many hours of work go into the jack-o-lantern creations and then, in the frenzy of trick-or-treating, there is little time to see and appreciate them all. Be on the look out (or organize one yourself!) for pumpkin parades held the night after Halloween. Communities bring their creations to a central location like a park or school and light them all in a row one last time. Everyone can get a chance to see the creations and then the pumpkins are disposed of properly.
Find a Charitable Aspect
It’s a nice plan, sharing candy with kids who don’t get a lot of privileges or treats. But is it the best idea to share food with limited nutritional value with those whose health may already be suffering? Instead, try to balance the holiday excess with a charitable endeavour that stresses balance – perhaps donate a bunch of toothbrushes and toothpaste to a charity in need of such items, or purchase a bunch of healthy in-demand items for the local food bank.