7 Tips for a Healthy Halloween + a Meme

Halloween is upon us! This holiday always hits me by surprise, and I've come to a theory as to why this happens. It’s because, at age 16, I feel too old to trick-or-treat yet too young to go to Halloween parties. It’s this age where October 31st no longer is a bundle of excitement wrapped in sugar. Now I just make a jack-o-lantern and compliment my brother’s costume (he wants to be Willy Wonka this year). Then, I will go do homework, since this year Halloween falls on a TUESDAY *face palm*.

Mainly I'm excited for the next holiday: Thanksgiving! Why? Because we get 5 days off of school, that's why! We're going back to Chicago, even though we went just last weekend (stay tuned for a post). Never enough Chicago for me. Plus, I just really really love traveling.

So while I may not be doing anything exciting this time around, this "limbo" age range is a narrow one, and I know a lot of people ARE doing something super cool for Halloween. With that in mind, I wanted to see if I could be of any help :) So lo and behold, 7 tips for a healthy Halloween (or a healthier Halloween, because a "healthy Halloween" is somewhat of an oxymoron, haha).

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1. Eat a meal before you hit the candy

Whether you’re partying it up or are still of the age where you can head out into the streets on your annual candy mission, you’re likely to be exposed to ungodly amounts of sweets. Fuel up before you go brave these circumstances. Eat a nice, filling, savory dinner so that you don’t show up hungry. Because candy should be eaten for the pleasant taste of the sugar, not to fill the hunger in your stomach. In other words, don't use sugar to soothe your body's craving for real sustenance. (Optional: Sprinkle on some corn for a touch of Halloween-iness, like I did)

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2. Drink lots of water

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, dehydration causes the kidneys to release an antidiuretic (meaning less pee) hormone called Vasopressin, which research suggests also increases blood sugar. Take this with a grain of salt (or sugar, hehe), as the article is from 6 years ago. Plus, the information I dug through held mixed views. Some claimed that drinking water does lower blood sugar and others maintained that it did not.

But like, that doesn't mean DON'T drink water. Because whether or not it'll alleviate the bucket of sugar coursing through your veins, it's always a good idea to stay hydrated! If the water doesn’t lower your blood sugar, at the very least it’ll make you happy and energized and ensure your digestive system runs smoothly. Personally, I know that my ocular migraines are brought on by excessive sugar, and I know that drinking water is critical to minimizing the duration and the pain of the migraine. So for me? Heck yeah I'm going to be chugging that water when I'm eating sugar! Here are some tips for drinking more water.

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3. Feel free to eat candy, just in moderation!

Is this too obvious of a tip to list? Eh, it never hurts to encourage moderation. Everything in moderation, even moderation! Don’t go into Halloween with a strict, all-or-nothing attitude. Eating zero candy is no fun and will just cause you anxiety. On the other extreme, letting go completely will give you a tummyache and a feeling of guilt. Flashback to when I was little and a relative sent me a box with an amazing variety of Lithuanian chocolates/candy bars. First: pure joy in the form of sugar. Soon after: running to the bathroom to puke all of that pure joy out. 

Have some candy and feel good about it. Enjoy the taste slowly and know when to stop. Don’t just instinctively eat candy because it’s what everyone is doing and because there is a lot available.

4. Trade candy

If you get your hands on candy that you’re not crazy about, don’t eat it. I know that sounds dumb, but I think oftentimes when we receive food, especially free food, we feel an obligation to eat it. So not true! I remember when I was little I hated DOTS. They were so sticky and pulled on my teeth and were disgusting (no offense if you like them). But I still remember eating them, and definitely more than once, if I was able to develop this clear dislike of them. Why?!

Either give your candy to someone who likes that kind, or trade with them! Because if you’re going to eat candy, make it GOOD. 

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5. Consider donating to causes like UNICEF

Instead of trick-or-treating for candy, maybe you can trick-or-treat for UNICEF. Get a box and go door-to-door (in costume, duh) asking for donations. You can totally do this at the same time that you ask for candy, but if you’re looking for a non-candy alternative to trick-or-treating, collecting for charity is a great way to go. “This year, funds raised through Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF will support UNICEF’s emergency relief work for children affected by recent disasters.”

You can also donate candy to Operation Shoebox or to Operation Gratitude, which are both organizations that send packages to troops.

You might also want to try contacting a local homeless shelter or food pantry to see if they would accept your candy donation.

6. Make non-sugary Halloween recipes

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Don't limit yourself to the dessert category. You know you'll be craving warm, savory food after all of that candy. So use this opportunity to make something a bit more wholesome. For dinner, try some “candy corn chicken quesadillas” from Boulder Locavore. These do NOT include candy corn, I repeat, these do NOT include candy corn. I can't attest to whether candy corn tastes good with chicken but let's just stay on the safe side and assume no.

If you’re FANCY, you can try making this Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls from Food Network,

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Or for a snack, make their sweet and spicy pepitas popcorn balls.

POPSugar has a creative bat bite recipe (cheese covered in poppy seeds?!)

Their vegan candy corn bites also look AMAZING.

7. If you have trick-or-treaters coming to your house, consider giving them treats that aren’t candy

You don’t have to do the cliche toothbrush and apples thing (let's be honest, that's just weird), but get creative. Try:

Glow sticks, some good-quality fruit snacks, play dough, slap bracelets, stickers, cool pencils and pens, bubbles, mini notebooks, tattoos, little puzzle games, balloons, bouncy balls, etc. Doesn’t all that kinda sounds like even more fun than candy?

You'll be doing them a favor, and maybe the kids will think those *bubbles* are so cool that they'll tell their parents to do that instead of candy next year, and the healthiness will spread, hooray!

8. Now, I would like to leave you with a wonderful meme

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What's your favorite Halloween candy?

Mine is Kit Kat, for sure. I do this thing where I eat the chocolate off the sides first. Weird? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Happy Thursday, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN! (almost)

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