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Temptation can be everywhere as stores stock their shelves with spooky goodies and seasonal treats that are around just once a year. Special edition candy bars, pumpkin spice everything and virtuous-seeming minis practically throw themselves into shoppers’ carts. Exercise willpower to avoid the candy and seasonal aisles if you know the lure of those items will pull you in. But what to do when you’ve got to get something for the ghosts and goblins who will surely knock on your door come Halloween?
1. Purchase the candy you don’t like. I’ve never been one for fruity things like Skittles, Nerds or Starbursts, so those tend to be a better option for me over Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Hershey bars.
>> Read more: The Official Skinny Mom Guide to Halloween Candy
2. Switch it up. The last several years in a row, we’ve handed out individual cans of soda or lemonade instead of candy. This is a fun switch from what trick-or-treaters normally get and our neighborhood kids look forward to adding a drink to their other loots. Since I usually treat myself to diet sodas on occasion, it’s no problem to resist these. As an added bonus, many grocers run weekly specials on name-brand sodas, which can end up being cheaper per can than buying multiple bags of candy and doling out a generous handful. Another great option is to hand out non-food items like bouncy rubber eyeballs, stickers or plastic vampire teeth. A lot of great options can be found at local dollar or party stores, dollar sections at Target or Michael’s, or ordered online.
3. Hunt down healthier goodies. Mini packages of pretzels, popcorn or crackers have recently begun to appear among all the sweet treats on Halloween shelves. Brands such as Goldfish, Pirate’s Booty and Annie’s are offering options that will satisfy a snack craving without breaking the calorie budget. As another alternative, troll the aisles of your local bulk item store (Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, etc.) for options like individual applesauce pouches, real fruit leathers, hummus packs or pita chips. Any extra will be a welcome addition to your family’s healthy pantry after the holiday is over.
>> Read more: 5 Hauntingly Healthy Halloween Treats
4. Healthy head start: Holidays are a great opportunity to create family traditions and food will always be a part of that. Build memories around healthy renditions of classic fall comfort foods like Skinny Mom’s Lean Turkey Chili (pictured below), Chicken Alfredo Pizza, Quick Tomato Bisque or have breakfast for dinner. If your trick-or-treaters are fueled for their Halloween adventures and full of healthier food, all the sweet stuff may be less appealing.
5. Focus on fun, not food: With so much commercial emphasis on candy, cereal and other edible items, it’s easy to lose track of the other entertaining aspects of Halloween. Shift your family’s focus away from food by placing emphasis on creative costumes, decorations or games. Challenge family members to carve the craziest pumpkin, organize a neighborhood 5K in place of a trunk-or-treat or make it a goal to have the spookiest house on the block.