Making Halloween Special, Spooky – and Safe!

It would take a 185-pound person an entire workday of non-stop cross country running to burn off the higher end of the 3500-7000 calories from Halloween candy consumed by the average US child. Holidays aren’t exactly known for being healthy, but this year there are more health considerations to keep in mind beyond the usual sugar rush. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, many holidays have been spent in a different way and Halloween will follow suit. If your family is brainstorming safer and healthier ways to celebrate, follow along for alternative ways to get spooky this season:

Modified trick-or-treating and virtual ideas. Depending on the your local COVID-19 situation, a modified trick-or-treating set-up may be in the cards. To help guide your plans, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has outlined activities and their associated risk. Consider setting up a table in your driveway with a spread of pre-portioned candy in plastic cups. Make sure to keep a 6-foot distance, hand sanitizer handy and masks on – bonus if they are spooky. Virtual meetings and social gatherings are becoming more of a norm beyond the workday. Host a virtual Halloween party with a costume and/or pumpkin carving contest. Finally, get your kids involved and let them decorate their bedroom spooky with spider webs, skeletons or home crafted décor.

Get crafty. Ready, set, glue gun! Masks are becoming a more normal part of leaving your home. If your child wears a face covering, crafting a spooky mask together can be a fun activity for the whole family. Make or purchase plain masks and decorate by drawing skeletons mouth or a spooky jack-o-lantern on with a fabric marker, gluing fake teeth, or a scary clown face. It may feel like your child doesn’t get to have their normal celebration, so focus on fun activities that can be done safely at home such as pumpkin decorating.

Crafting with healthy food makes it more fun to eat. If you want to ditch some of the candy this year, make these delicious soldiers in a spooky fruit army:

  • Mandarin Jack-o’-lanterns – draw on the face with a permanent marker on a mandarin orange peel.
  • Banana ghost mummies on popsicle sticks – cut a banana in half, place the cut end of the banana on a popsicle stick and place chocolate chips for eyes and a mouth. To finish it off, drizzle some peanut butter “bandages” on the banana.
  • Marshmallow apple mouth – Slice an apple in half and create a slit to apply peanut butter. The apply marshmallows as teeth and use it as a prop.
  • Kiwi and strawberry monsters – Let Mike Wazowski from Monster’s Inc make a comeback this Halloween by making these below. Cut a slit it a peeled kiwi, apply slivered almonds as teeth, stick on a strawberry slice for a tongue and apply mini marshmallows topped with a chocolate chip as eyes. Uncanny, right?

Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietician and health and wellness spokesperson at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. 

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Photo credit: Anchiy.

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