Can you believe that Halloween is just two short weeks away? With all of the candy and sweet treats associated with the holiday, it can be hard to create healthy Halloween programming. This wellness blog will give your department a few ideas to incorporate healthy ideas into your Halloween programmings.
Trick-or-Treaters are normally expecting candy, but they may be just as happy with other fun Halloween related giveaways. Websites like Oriental Trading are great places to find non-candy alternatives to hand out at your Halloween events. Giveaway items like kites, balls, and frisbees would be great ways to get kids outside and active while still getting in the Halloween spirit.
If your department is handing out candy there are a few policies you can enact. Limiting the amount given to a few pieces per person. Mixing candy with non-candy giveaways could also be a good tactic. Additionally, candy selection can be vital. This website has listed calories, sugar (G), and fat (G) of popular Halloween candy. Some selections are better than others!
Halloween can be a surprisingly effective way to get people outside and walking. If you think about it, the act of trick-or-treating does a great job of promoting walking! This could be a great way for your department to encourage people to come out to your facilities, walk around in their costumes, and collect goodies.
If your department has a greenway, trail system, or walkable park, try setting up a Halloween event! Set up stations along a designated path with different Halloween crafts, trick-or-treat goodies, and activities.
To promote health and wellness, one station could “spooky” exercises like “Frankenstein Walks” and more contained in this website. Another station could include recipe cards for healthier Halloween treats.
For adults and children, Halloween themed 5k runs/walks, haunted trails, and more could be good options. Create a fun environment by allowing people to come to these events dressed in their costumes, and provide a safe place for them to run/walk.
It is also important to encourage trick-or-treaters to be safe this Halloween. According to SafeKids.com, “On average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.” Dark clothing, coupled with dark road conditions and heavy foot traffic on the streets can make trick-or-treating a dangerous affair.
While trick-or-treating in your community may not be happening in park and recreation facilities, your department can still help spread tips and best practices to help ensure safety. Below, I’ve compiled a list of quick Halloween safety tips from the National Safety Council, Safe Kid’s Worldwide, and the CDC for both trick-or-treaters and motorists:
Teach your children to never enter a stranger's home or car
Tell your children not to eat any treats until they return home
If children are allowed out after dark, fasten reflective tape to their costumes and bags, or give them glow sticks
Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
Watch for children walking on roadways, medians, and curbs
Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully
Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you
Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. WALK and don’t run from house to house.
Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
I hope that you have a healthy and happy Halloween!
Until next time,