Halloween is my favourite day of the year. It’s a magical day for kids to dress up and play make believe for an entire day. Something they don’t do nearly often enough. There’s a lovely sense of community, neighbours opening their doors and giving treats, commenting on how much the children have grown, kids running in packs on the street at night. To me, no other night compares.
Needless to say we go all out. Our house has always been the one on the block that kids flock to. We decorate embarrassingly early and often forget to take our decorations down for a few extra weeks.
Every year I wonder, how I can keep Halloween fun without it being turned into a sugar overload? Over the years, especially after having kids, I have figured out a few tips to keep Halloween exciting without the tantrums and sugar rushes that often follow and unfortunately, last for weeks after.
First off, in terms of trick-or-treaters, what I’ve found is that if you are the fun house everyone wants to go to, they really could care less what you hand out as a treat. Walking up my yard is a treat itself. I tend to have different options for different ages. For toddlers and younger kids I keep the small packs of Annie’s organic bunnies. They’re a lot like goldfish and every kid loves them. I also stock up on dollar store Halloween items like, tattoos and stickers. For older kids, we do some fruit bars and then some type of mid-healthy treat.
Now what do you do at the end of the night when your kids come home with an oversize bag of sugar? I’ve used two techniques and both work great. First off, you can use the unhealthy candy as currency. My daughter would “buy” nuts and dried fruit in exchange for candy, a one to one exchange rate. She thought it was the greatest thing ever and would spend weeks buying snacks.
The other technique that we’re trying for the first time this year is the Switch Witch. The Switch Witch comes to kids’ houses at night and takes their bags of candy in exchange for a toy. Kids can write her a letter beforehand to request specific toys.
Now because we go all out for Halloween, our Switch Witch is an actual doll named Wenda. She moved into our house on October 1st to help us prepare for Halloween. She brought along a Halloween countdown calendar filled with daily Halloween related activities to get us in the spirit (have I mentioned we like Halloween?). From carving a pumpkin to reading a Halloween book, every day there is something to follow the theme. To keep it fun our witch gets into some mischief and tends to hide in a new spot each day. She also brought my kids a toy catalog to help them pick what toy they might like to get from her on Halloween night.
The hardest part was figuring out 31 Halloween related activities but the magic of the kids running downstairs each morning searching for Wenda and her activity of the day has been great. Now they feel like they are collecting candy in order to earn something they really want, and they are so excited for Halloween night!
Do you have any tips on keeping Halloween fun and healthy? Share them below.