The aftermath of Halloween: Nutrition in mind!

Posted on November 1, 2017 by kerri
It’s the day after Halloween. The kids are probably tired, parents send them off to school with a few treats (or more!) in their backpacks or pencil cases, and teachers are dealing with the sugar-rush or post-sugar-rush Halloween aftermath until the kids go home at the end of the day—unless they remembered to send a note home before Halloween!
Purple bag with jack-o-lantern pumpkin overflowing with halloween candy in wrappers.
Of course, we all know the issues with too much candy, especially for children! But, most kids aren’t interested in making their halloween candy last until next Halloween, and moderation isn’t exactly a concept that they understand. While over-indulgence in candy for a few days isn’t going to result in obesity, it may lead to tummy aches, sugar crashes and resulting irritability, and kids that are joyful in their candy consumption, and grumpy in the aftermath! It might not all be staying up too late!
Parents and caregivers need a strategy for how to deal with the ups-and-downs that follow Halloween celebrations! Here are some ideas.
  • Pair treats with healthy foods! Melt down pure chocolate bars for a dip for fruit. While Rice Krispy Treats aren’t the healthiest food in the book, they do contain grains, so adding a few M&Ms or skittles on top or inside might help your kid get a bit of candy in with something that at least has some nutritional value!
  • Share! One year, the daughter of one of my middle school teachers was in the hospital over halloween. Since that year, the teacher collected extra candy to take to the Children’s Hospital for kids who missed out on trick-or-treating. While kids won’t part with all of their candy, it can be a good way to teach kids about compassion and unload some of the bag! Contact your local Children’s Hospital’s Child Life Department for requirements (fully sealed, nut-free candy will be a minimum need!)
    • Homeless or women’s shelters similarly likely accept candy donations to provide a little treat to their clients. This can be another good way to introduce children to ways they can care for others in their community!
  • Reward trade-in. Has your kid been asking for a new toy or other item they just have to have? Have them trade candy for a set amount of money per piece. Especially if you’re going to end up buying them whatever it is anyways, having them “earn” it while getting rid of their candy can be a good trade off. Even at ten cents (or a quarter if you’re feeling generous!) each, with the mountain of candy collected, they can likely earn a decent chunk of change!
  • Make it crafty. Create your own spin off of some of these home decor ideas using halloween candy! As one article said… they can’t eat it if it’s got glue on it! (…Although, let’s be honest… Many kids probably would!)
  • Work for it! I told my friend I was writing this article, and he said that he and his 5 siblings had to work for their candy! His parents would ration it, and only let them have a piece of candy or two only when they had finished their homework or chores! The candy usually lasted until after Christmas—especially, he said, the year there was a blizzard that he and his siblings braved but many didn’t and people would dump their entire bowl of candy into their pillowcases!
These strategies are also great for children who have food allergies and can’t eat much of the candy they receive, or children with diabetes who need to more carefully plan for treats. The after-Halloween days at school can be risky for kids with medical conditions, so ensuring a diabetes medical alert bracelet or food allergy medical ID is worn at all times is crucial.
As well, for children who struggle with being overweight, these strategies can help control the treats they have access to indulge in and help them stay on track. For children with ADHD or autism, food dyes might worsen their symptoms, and sugar crashes might impact their moods, so moderation may be especially important! Your child will vary!
How do you deal with the post-Halloween sugar-rush and manage all that extra candy? Let us know in the comments!

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