Fright Night: 10 Tips for Keeping Halloween Healthy(er)

Pumpkin pizzas are perfect and punchy

Halloween is coming at you like kids hankering for O’Henry candy. It’s time to hunker down and work the constitution. You’ve made it through Valentine’s Day, Easter, July 4th and the Labor Day. So what do you plan to do to keep yourself in check?

Whatever it is, check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Halloween can be evil, not for its connotations, but for your body’s reactions to the sudden influx of sugars and preservatives coursing in over the next two weeks. Whether it’s at work, in your home, or coming to a kitchen near you inside a pillow case, you need a plan of action. Here are some tips for hanging in there and keeping sane (and skinny) during costume and candy season.

1. Look for ‘safe’ alternatives to candy.

You don’t need candy because you’re so sweet, but you are used to those social norms. Right? Right? Whether you’re going to treat yourself to a few sugar free candies (emphasis on two or three. Period), or an ice cream bar, make sure it fits in your lifestyle. Don’t use Halloween as an excuse to go for broke. That one Snickers bar can end up costing you half of a year of progress if you end up on an M&M Mars bender, and too many sugar free candies could cause cravings and/or resulting moments in the bathroom. We don’t want you to go there.

2. Make food fun.

I don’t mean legal, like the time you spray painted the neighbor’s pajamas with him still in them (and we came and bailed you out. Again). I mean make things like these pumpkin pizzas make the holiday a fun one. Finding fun ways to snazz up your food means feeling like you’ve had something special and fun without the guilt or the feeling that you already screwed up, so why not go for high carb pizza instead?

3. Take a walk.

Skip through the leaves in fall. There’s nothing like it. Jump on the cracks (you won’t break your mama’s back) and have a great time! Everything’s so beautiful now, and you might even meet the neighbors. Look at Fall Festivals and Trick or Treating downtown as opportunities for a fun, festive stroll. Smile. Have fun. You’re doing something healthy.

4. Don’t give candy.

I’m watching you as you cavort through myriad store aisles festooned with brown and orange promises of temporary blood sugar rushes, caressed in nougat. Fuggetabout it. Look to companies like the Oriental Trading Company for fun and goofy giveaways to neighbors. Small visitors will be candied out anyway, but your fun slide puzzle or mini yo yo (or even that Wal-Mart pack of mini Play Doughs) will be around for awhile.

5. Give sugar free.

I know you think you’re just asking to have your house egged, right? Wrong. Look for clever options like pumpkin seeds, Slim Jims, Sugar Free Candies, individually wrapped candies from the store aisles, or even Xylitol gum (which studies have shown fight tooth decay).

6. Like buying candy from a baby.

If your kids partake in the neighborhood candy gatheringpalooza, offer them $1-5/pound of candy to take it off of their hands. Toss the rest, donate it to the Troops, or give it to a local food bank.

7. Bag and tag.

If your latter day ghouls and goth ghosts girlies are jonesing for their stash, keep the good candy bars and toss the rest of the filler type stuff. Give each a quart sized bag of their very favorites and let them fill it with their precious Halloween booty. The rest can be tossed or donated.

8. Candy only with fat and D.

While this might sound counterintuitive, when the kids partake in a piece of candy, make certain it’s in conjunction with fat and protein to keep those blood sugar crashes (and ensuing cravings) at bay. The reason kids can plow through a bag of empty calories in a sitting is because they’re not consuming anything of substance. Make sure they’re also getting their Vitamin D since sugar may create issues with inflammation and the ability to fight off illness.

9. Fright height.

If it’s there and out of reach, you’re less likely to go after it. So have a spouse place it out of sight (and out of mind), or tell kids to place it where you won’t find it (but preferably not in the oven, inside the toilet tank or under your mattress.

10. Don’t worry. Be howly.

Remember, Halloween is just a holiday, and like any holiday, have fun! Instead of the food, make your days about about family, friends and neighbors. Get out and meet your favorite people, play card games on Halloween, and hand out healthier goodies to the little witches and warlocks who ring your bell on October 31st.

Those memories will last longer (and be even sweeter) than the clouded sugar bender.

Do you have any tips for Halloween? Share them below and help save thousands of figures from turning to pumpkins.

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