October 31st, 2016
Happy Halloween! Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. Dressing up in my costume and going trick-or-treating in my neighborhood will always be cherished memories. This wellness blog will give your department some tips to encourage healthy Halloween behaviors.
One way to get kids out and active for Halloween is to hold a Halloween walk. Pick a route in your town and encourage the community to come out to trick-or-treat. Set up stops along the route to hand out Halloween goodies. It is important to be strategic when choosing Halloween treats - with a mix of small sized candies but also non-food items such as toys. This can be a great opportunity to utilize your parks and trail systems, while getting people out and walking. Last year, I had the pleasure of working the Town of Morrisville’s Trick-or-Treat the Trail event and was pleasantly surprised with the amount of steps I logged on my Apple Watch.
Halloween buy-back programs can also be a great way to encourage healthy Halloween habits in your community. After trick-or-treating, kids usually have way more candy than they can eat. This leftover candy can linger and cause over consumption. Halloween buy-back programs are typically used by dentist offices, but I think the concept can be translated to parks and recreation departments. A Halloween buy-back program in your department could work like this:
Leftover and unopened Halloween candy is brought into a specific location, between a window of dates
Candy is weighed and assigned a “value” by the department
This “value” could be a discount from a town program, an exchange for a toy, or any other prize you see fit.
The weight of the candy designates how many prizes a child can receive, up to a predetermined amount
“Bought” candy gets donated and distributed for a good cause
The kids who sell-back candy leave with a prize, and the satisfaction that their leftover candy is being put to good use.
The concept of Halloween buy-back programs can also be applied to your department on a whole. If you have leftover candy from any Halloween events, donation can be a great way to make someone else’s day.
A major way to make Halloween healthier is a change of thinking. Halloween does not have to be all about candy. Instead, focus on fun Halloween games, costume, and healthy treats/non food prizes during your Halloween programs. Halloween crafts can also be a great way to get kids active and involved in the spirit of Halloween, without the unhealthy candy. I hope this helps you in planning your Halloween events for this year and in the future!
Until next time,