7 Healthy Halloween Traditions That Are Also Wicked Fun

Your kids have planned out their costumes and are secretly scheming strategies to collect as much candy as possible, but with a little forethought and creativity, you can establish Halloween traditions that won’t leave them reeling from a days-long sugar high.

Hand out Toys Instead of Treats

Don’t be tricked into believing Halloween candy is anything but a treat. Even if its labeled “natural” or “organic,” it’s still candy. But, candy is as much a part of the celebration as the costumes, and you should embrace it. However, you can still talk to your kids about how sweets are OK on special occasions, but on normal days, they should make healthier choices to fuel their growing bodies. And, since your kids are going to pick up sacks full of candy on the their trick-or-treat route, you can choose to give out something else at home. Bouncy balls, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, crayons, kazoos, mini pots of Play-Doh, mini Rubik’s Cubes and many other small toys and puzzles can be purchased at big-box stores for the same price or less as a jumbo-sized bag of candy.

Carve a Pumpkin and Roast the Seeds

Kids of all ages – and adults, too – enjoy this classic Halloween activity. Remember, a pumpkin carving kit with smaller tools is easier and safer to use than traditional household knives. To roast the seeds, try this special Kore Nutrition recipe.

  • When cleaning out the inside of your pumpkin, separate the seeds from the stringy pulp. An easy way to do so is to fill a large pot with water and place a colander in it, then put the seeds in, shake the colander a bit to get the pulp to settle to the bottom of the colander, and remove the seeds.
  • Boil the seeds in salted water for 10 minutes; pre-boiling ensures the insides of the seeds are fully cooked and allows you to roast at a higher temperature.
  • Strain in a colander and pat dry, either with a towel or paper towel.
  • Spread out on baking sheet, add a medium drizzle of olive oil and then salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bake at 400 for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Roast a Butternut, Acorn or Spaghetti Squash

Let your kids pick out a fun shaped squash from the farmers’ market or the produce section of your local grocery store. Then, show them how to peel, cube and roast the butternut or acorn squash, or roast and shred a spaghetti squash. As you cook, teach your kids about the benefits of eating fresh, seasonal foods. Squash, specifically, is very high in vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants.

Plan a Game-Focused Party

Who doesn’t love a theme party? Invite the kids’ friends – and yours – over for a day of fun, and focus on kitschy Halloween activities rather than sweet treats. Try dunking for apples, making ghosts from sheets to hang in the trees in your yard, making jack-o-lanterns from paper plates with magic markers and pipe cleaners, turning the kids into toilet-paper mummies, having a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt or a costume contest, or playing musical chairs with pumpkins instead of chairs. Or, create your own haunted house in a darkened room, with skeletons and ghosts hanging from the ceiling, “bloody” handprints on the walls and windows, and a bowl of “eyeballs” on the table; just peel two grapes and let the kids’ imagination run wild!

Watch a Scary Movie!

Kids are drawn to things that scare them, so be sure to choose an age-appropriate film that won’t keep your young ones awake for weeks. There are plenty of spooky movies that will make the hairs on the backs of their necks stand up, but that lack the gore and violence that will actually terrify them. Try Little Monsters, Cruella, The Addams Family, Goosebumps, Frankenweenie, The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Corpse Bride or Beetlejuice. For a special treat, watch the movie outside in the yard, with cups of hot cider to keep warm.

Visit a Corn Maze

In most parts of the country, there is a corn maze within a reasonable driving distance. The mazes, carved out of a field of corn, feature twisting and turning paths, with false trails diverging from the main path, on which you can get lost for hours. Many of the mazes have themes, and when viewed from the air, the patterns in the corn make a picture. See which of your family members can get through the maze the quickest! Most corn mazes are at farms that also feature other activities like hay rides and petting zoos, with treats like apple cider and candy apples readily available. Make a day of it!

Have a Halloween Costume Photo Shoot

Keep a trunk or duffle bag of all your Halloween costumes from previous years, or pick up a few on the sale rack after Halloween to save for the following year. Then, let your kids take pictures in different outfits, or combinations of outfits. If you have a Polaroid camera or can quickly print your images at home, the photos can be decorated with Halloween stickers, sequins, googly eyes and glitter. Who needs a Halloween filter when you can make your own?