10 More Ways to Make Halloween Less Scary continued...
2. Give Out Nonfood 'Treats'
Another option is to offer trick-or-treaters small toys, stickers, pencils, erasers -- even shiny quarters -- instead of candy.
In one study, 3- to 14-year-olds who were given a choice between toys and candy on Halloween night were just as likely to choose the toys as the sweets. Do your own experiment this Halloween: Let kids in your neighborhood choose between toys, money, or candy and see which is most popular.
3. Offer Healthier Treats
You can offer healthy foods to kids on Halloween, says Rebecca Puhl, PhD, psychologist and researcher at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University.
"Not only does this give kids a healthy option in their bag of treats, it also prevents parents from having to bring lots of candy to the house," she says in an email interview.
Some healthful options include granola bars, sugar-free gum, and individually packaged portions of raisins, apple slices, dried cranberries, and nuts.
4. Don't Ask Your Kids to Hide the Candy
If you're a parent, Halloween offers an opportunity to set a good example for your kids. Model moderation, not deprivation, nutrition experts recommend.
"We know restriction only makes people want it more," says Barbara Rolls, PhD, a researcher at Penn State University and author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan.
So don't ask your kids to hide their candy from you. That would only encourage the "candy ban" mentality.
5. Make the Candy You Do Eat Last Longer
Put a handful of your favorite candy bars in your freezer so that when you do enjoy a piece or two, it will last longer and you'll have the chance to truly savor the flavor. It takes twice as long to eat a frozen candy bar as one at room temperature.
6. Enjoy, but Be Mindful
Levitsky urges grown-ups to enjoy Halloween and the candy that goes with it. But, he says, that doesn't mean you can just forget about the calories. Prepare by eating a little less in anticipation of Halloween night, or adjust your eating a bit after partaking.