There is no event like Halloween to stimulate creativity, inspire adventure, and cultivate imagination. It comes upon us, even as adults, to both daunt and excite us for the potential deluge of candy-demanding children.
Although it is not an official holiday, it seems to be an excuse for us to escape ourselves and, unfortunately in some cases, escape good health. It doesn't have to be that way though!
Here are some tips form your resident Halloween expert (me) to make this night of all nights to be the healthiest one ever.
Sugar is Scary stuff!
Sugar has been called the "everyday toxin." It is a huge source of chemical stress on the body. According to the American Heart Association, the recommended daily amount of sugar for a child is 10-16 grams per day. This is about the same as one of those little Halloween chocolate bars. For adults this amount doubles. Anything over this amount is going to create chemical stress in the body. In other words, there is most definitely going to be some stress due to sugar on Halloween night.
So what can we do?
In a typical neighbourhood, small children will arrive earlier in the evening. I would consider making a few small treat bags or that contain non-candy treats. This can be a Halloween pencil, small toy, plastic spider or pumpkin, Halloween tattoo, stickers, a colouring book, or a glow stick. You can visit your local dollar store, or toy shop and look for small affordable toys. You can probably make a little treat bag for under a dollar.
At first I was skeptical that kids would like the bags, so I offered them a choice between the candy and the bag. A kid has never picked the candy. They always pick the bag. It contained a pencil, a rubber spider and a tattoo.
The first thing you should understand is that this will cost more than a candy. In fact just the little bag is going to be costly, but if you only have 20 kids, this may be possible for you. If you have hundreds of kids, save the bags for the small children and give regular (cheap) candy to the bigger kids.
Tell Your Kids About the Switch Witch
It is not unreasonable to allow your child the indulgence of eating as much candy as he can for one or two days, but where do you draw the line? How do you draw the line? One way to teach your children about moderation is to introduce the "Switch Witch." The Switch Witch comes around 1-2 days after Halloween and trades the remainder of their Halloween candy for a toy, or a small amount of money. It can be a flat amount or they can sell it to the "Switch Witch" by the pound.
Aristotle said "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Now is the time for healthy habits. Halloween is a difficult time. It is getting darker and colder and it is hard to stay active. Make a point to do something active, like a hike or a public skate, the day after Halloween to get back to doing healthy things right away.
Embrace the beauty of Halloween!
Sure there are some unhealthy things about it, but it there are also some things that are great and even healthy about Halloween.
Schedule quality time in the days before Halloween to spend with your family or friends to carve pumpkins, decorate the house and make costumes. I know that when I rush through decorating and carving, I never have as good a time as when I take my time.
Probably the best part of Halloween is the fact that we are all getting outside, walking around and visiting our neighbours, often as a family. Often time, the first time I meet a neighbour is on Halloween.
Have your spine checked!
30% of children under 18 get back pain every year! Unless you want your child to look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, you should have their spine checked. Halloween is a great time to visit the chiropractor. For one, you will have time to use your insurance benefits before the end of the year. Second, your child is likely in need of an adjustment.
If they are toddlers they probably walked more than usual on Halloween. If they are school age, they not only carried a bag around the neighbourhood, but they are carrying their books and laptops to school and have been sitting at their desks for the past two months. They likely need to have their spine checked.
For some of you, the idea of chiropractic for children is scary stuff. If you are unsure about taking your child to the chiropractor you are not alone. Rest assured, it is perfectly safe, and it is one of the fastest-growing trends in health care.
Also, you should know that kids love getting their spine checked. If you are unsure, bring your child in for an initial visit. We will perform an examination without a treatment, including a posture screen (unless they are an infant) and give you a video report with no obligation. Schedule online right now!
This article is based on my 2015 webinar "Healthy Little Pumpkins." I recommend watching the video replay below.