By: Anjelika Temple Read Time: 4 minutes

I’ll never forget the first real non-baby time I took my oldest trick-or-treating. We hadn’t come up with a rule around candy because she’d never really had it before (classic first kid). She would ring a doorbell, receive a treat, and immediately consume said treat. We didn’t realize this was happening until we saw that her basket was filled with wrappers instead of treats. Eek!

Since then, our rule has been four pieces of candy on Halloween night, then a piece or two per day for a few days following, allowing the candy hype to naturally fade out. I know other parents align the number to the age of each kid which would not fly in the “that’s not fair” regime at my house, but hey if it works, it works. And there’s a lot to be said for the no limits self-regulation approach – maybe they’d just choose one candy and not even eat all four, maybe they’ll eat too much but then realize they don’t feel so great and choose fewer pieces next time 😉 Figure out guidelines that work for your family so you can revel in the magic of Halloween without quite as many sugar-related meltdowns.

After all, Halloween is a truly magical time. Freely transforming into their favorite superheroes or magical creatures, it’s a day many kids (and grown-ups!) can’t wait to celebrate, and, let’s be real, treats are a *huge* part of it. So, how can you strike a balance this Halloween without being a total buzzkill?  

Here are nine tips to help you navigate this Halloween like a pro:

1. Set Clear Guidelines in Advance

Before the big night arrives, sit down with your kids and talk about your expectations. If it’s a certain amount of candy after trick-or-treating or over the course of the following week — make sure they understand how candy consumption will be handled. Explain that while Halloween is a time for treats, it’s important to practice mindful eating to ensure their health and well-being. Trust that you know your kids best and how they handle sweets (and, hey, they know their bodies pretty darn well too!). We talk a lot about “power food” in our house, and if we have the veggies and protein in our bodies, it makes it easier to handle the sweet stuff.

2. Eat a Healthy, Nutrient-Dense Meal Beforehand

Prepare a nutrient-dense meal before having any candy or treats. Having your kids consume a balanced and healthy meal before going on their trick-or-treating adventure can ensure they feel more satisfied, preventing overindulgence and reaffirming a healthy balance with sugary foods. 

3. Stay Hydrated

It’s always important to stay hydrated and even more so when eating sweet stuff. Bring a water bottle on your trick-or-treating expedition to ensure your kids drink a few sips of water (or may we suggest a delicious and hydrating bottle of PLEZi?). Staying hydrated can help prevent sugar crashes so they wake up the next morning feeling their best. (We’ve all been there – the repercussions of forgetting to drink water and eat a proper meal are rough, and the sugar hangover is SO real.)

4. Make It ALL Fun

Halloween isn’t only about treats. Plan other fun activities such as a scary dance party, costume-making craft activity, or ghoulish relay race to keep those bodies active during the holiday. Invite friends and family to join in on the fun, making it an activity for all to get involved with.

5. Encourage Sharing 

Teach your kids about the joy of sharing! Share your favorite treats from when you were a kid (peanut butter cups for the win!). Encourage your kids to pick out their treats to share with friends and family. Not only does this reduce the ever-mounting candy stash, but fosters their natural sense of generosity and community.

6. Don’t Forget About All the Non-Candy Halloween-Themed Treats

Indulge in family fun by gathering together to make your own Halloween-themed treats. For example, try roasted pumpkin seeds or baked apple slices with cinnamon, nuts, and honey. Peel kiwis into mini Frankenstein heads with googly eyes, make string cheese ghosts with poppyseed eyes. We highly recommend going down a Pinterest rabbit hole for all sorts of spooky baking and cooking ideas.

7. Focus on the Range of Halloween Traditions

From visiting your local pumpkin patch to watching Halloween movies in costume, the whole family can engage in the Halloween spirit without the overindulgence of sugar. This way, the focus naturally shifts away from candy to the togetherness as the main attraction.

8. Choose Candy Alternatives for Your Treat Bowl

Instead of handing out candy, get creative and give bouncy trick-or-treaters something else. We’re partial to handing out PLEZi of course (Orange Smash has Halloween written all over it!) because it’s tasty *and* hydrating. Other ideas include: arts + crafts supplies like fun erasers, pencils, crayon packs, stickers; accessories like bracelets, spooky rings, and necklaces; and I’ll never forget the one family in our neighborhood growing up that always gave mini toothbrush and toothpaste packs! A parent in that house was definitely a dentist, right?

9. Be Flexible but Consistent

It isn’t easy being the fun police – and you don’t have to be! Be flexible in your candy management approach while staying consistent with what works best for your family’s needs. It’s one night, and many kids really do look forward to it – it can feel great to say “yes” especially when they know it’s a once-a-year thing.

And don’t forget to move candy out of sight at the end of the night, even if you plan on letting your kids continue to eat their treats for a few days after Halloween. I recommend hiding it in the depths of your kitchen pantry, just in case you “need” it after an epic bedtime struggle 😉