Is there a statute of limitations on spoilers? Maybe not, so I’ll cryptically tell you that the end of a certain ’80s horror movie —one which involved a day of the week, an unlucky number, a lake, a canoe, and a hand reaching out of the water — scared me so much that my contact lens popped out and flew across the room.
I don’t seek out horror movies anymore. And I could add that I’m not a huge Halloween-person; someone who loves planning my costume or decking out my house on October 1. But I do totally get the appeal for kids and can’t help but catch their enthusiasm by the time October 31 rolls around.
What scares me most these days is the thought of the pillow case full of sugar that the kids are bringing back at the end of the night. When they were really little I could fill a little bag full of maple buckwheat cereal and they were totally psyched, but now we’ve moved beyond that. So it helps to have some strategies that add back in some balance without taking away any of the fun:
- Plan some extra physical activity on the days leading up to Halloween. Walk or bike to school and increase outdoor playtime.
- Serve a healthy dinner before sending the kids out trick-or-treating. This will help them avoid the typical sugar high and subsequent energy crash.
- To counter the toll lots of sugar takes on the immune system, give kids lots of immune-boosting fruits and vegetables as well as a probiotic and vitamin C.
- There’s often a bit of a gap between dinner and sundown, when everyone is ready to go but waiting for it to get dark. Capitalize on that time by adapting a couple of our activities to make them Halloween-friendly. For example, if your child is dressed up as werewolf, turn the bear crawl into the werewolf crawl.
- For the littlest trick or treaters, make a quick visit to a few trusted neighbours and then come home and play musical pumpkins or monster freeze dance to keep the Halloween fun going and your wee ones moving.
- Give kids the option of trading in their treats for a toy: consider allowing them to keep a few treats, and decide the number in advance.
- Summon the Halloween fairy by leaving your bags of candies out for her to replace with a small (preferably active) toy.
- Teach kids good food habits and skills. You can read ingredient labels together, noting unhealthy amounts of sugar and sodium in many treats.
- Help kids plan costumes that lend themselves to being active. For example, though super cool at the time, my Rubic’s Cube costume slowed me down a lot come the big night. Luckily, we’ve already come up with some great ideas for active costumes.
- Please remember to keep everyone safe on Halloween night! Visit Safe Kids Canada for some great suggestions.