Let’s be honest –we are all looking for ways to add some normalcy and joy to what has been a very serious and uncertain time, and candy has been a special and fun part of the Halloween season since Americans first embraced the tradition of trick-or-treating in the 1950s. If you keep these tricks in mind, it’s easy to stay safe this Halloween season and include a moderate amount of treats in your Halloween celebration.

Follow Guidelines from Federal, State and Local Health Authorities

Staying safe should be a priority this Halloween. Follow the recommendations from health authorities, and if you decide to trick-or-treat, wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and do your best to distance yourself from others.

Celebrate the Entire Halloween Season

If trick-or-treating is not advisable in your area or not the right choice for your family, you can celebrate the Halloween season in other ways outside of the evening of October 31. Throw a virtual costume party with friends or watch a spooky movie in the days leading up to the big night instead!

Make a Plan for Enjoying Treats

Nearly 90 percent of parents report that they have a plan in place to help their children make informed choices when they enjoy treats. Begin the conversation as soon as you start talking about Halloween – whether you’re decorating the house or shopping for costumes.

Understand Candy Portions

After you’ve enjoyed a few treats on Halloween, portion out treats for later by putting two or three pieces of candy into small bags. That way, you’re ready to talk about balance with your children as you enjoy treats over the following days and weeks.

Eat Before You Treat

If you decide to go out trick-or-treating, enjoy a balanced dinner together. It’s important to talk about balance not just around Halloween, but throughout the year.

Set a Routine

Research suggests that routines are beneficial to children. Involve them in the decision-making process by allowing them to decide when they can have their favorite treats, while you guide them on the mindful enjoyment of chocolate and candy.

Don’t Prohibit Treats

Restriction may increase the desire for treats like chocolate and candy. Instead, try teaching children about the role small amounts of treats can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle while allowing them to enjoy a pre-determined number of treats per day.

Savor the Flavor

Talk to your children about slowing down and enjoying treats with mindfulness. Minimize distractions while eating and bring their attention to the textures and flavors of their favorite treats.

Don’t Forget to Brush!

The best way to keep your teeth strong enough to enjoy treats is to brush frequently, floss regularly, use fluoride products as recommended by your dentist and rinse with water or chew sugar-free gum after each meal or snack.

Mix It Up

You can change the nutritional profile of your favorite treats by combining a smaller amount with whole grain cereals, dried fruit and/or nuts to make a fun trail mix. It’s another great way to demonstrate balance!

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