Five Tips for a Safe and Healthy Halloween

It’s that “spooktacular” time of year. The kids have their costumes picked out and plenty of space in their bags to fill with tons of sugary sweets. But are you worried about what might be sneaking home in those candy wrappers? Amanda Garman MS, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian and Wellness Coordinator at the Firelands Center for Coordinated Care has five tips for a safe and healthy trick-or-treating experience.  

     1. Eat Dinner Before You Go

The USDA recommends waiting to go trick-or-treating until after your child has eaten a good meal to help prevent them from overeating candy and sweets. “Halloween candy can be tempting, especially on an empty stomach," said Amanda. "Start the evening off with an easy and nutritious meal. Ideas for a busy night include slow cooker soup or chili, tacos, or breakfast for dinner. You can make dinner a festive event by getting creative and making pumpkin shaped pancakes with fruit faces or bell pepper jack-o-lanterns.”

     2. Bring a Flashlight

Most communities host trick-or-treating later in the evening, just before or after it gets dark. Carrying a flashlight or other bright light source is a great way to make sure you and your little ones are aware of your surrounds. If your child is wearing a dark costume, apply reflective tape to make sure your child is clearly visible to drivers. 

     3. Always Go in Groups

Everything is more fun with friends! Get a group together before heading out to prowl the neighborhood. If your child is under the age of 12, make sure that they and their group are accompanied by a responsible adult. It is also a great idea to have a designated meeting place in case someone gets separated. For younger children, place a piece of tape on the inside of their clothing with your name, address and cell phone number in case of an emergency.

     4. Practice Smart Street Safety

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. Remind your children to always use sidewalks if possible. If you must venture out onto the road, make sure you are visible and walk facing traffic. If you and your child must cross the road, always look both ways before crossing. Never assume that an approaching vehicle will stop. 

     5. Skip the Tricks With Your Treats

While it might be hard to curb an excited child, it's always a great idea to wait until you get home to open the candy bag. Always thoroughly inspect your child’s candy— do not allow your child to consume any treats that appear to be open or tampered with. While handmade treats may look nice, you can never be certain that they are safe to eat. “Sorting safe candy can be a good time to discuss mindfulness with your child," said Amanda. "The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories per day from sugar. This may be 1-2 pieces of candy. Have your child pick out their personal favorites to enjoy in moderation. I recommend pairing the sweet treat with a nutritious snack such as fruit or veggies. Donate extra candy to care packages for those serving overseas or find a trade-in program at local businesses.”

Have fun and be safe! Happy Halloween!