How To Make Halloween (Somewhat) Healthy for Your Kids (Without Taking All the Fun Out of it)

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Do you do battle with trying to make Halloween healthy for your kids…and fail miserably every year?

Are you shunned in your neighbourhood for handing out packs of organic raisins and juice boxes?

Are your kids embarrassed to take your gluten-free, sugar-free, food-colouring-free cupcakes with unspooky icing on the top to school for class treats?

Been there, done that.

I finally gave in and said screw it. Here’s the one thing that’s worked for us to allow our kids to have tons of Halloween fun with their friends but not suffer all the ill effects of the candy and treats. It’s not organic, it’s a bit of a cop out, but it works.

We buy our kids candy back from them (sigh).

Yes, I buy the candy and treats for everyone else’s kids (sorry parents!). I just can’t bear the looks of disappointment on your super cute kids’ faces when I drop an organic granola bar into their bags.

When my kids come home with their overstuffed bag of sugar and processed chemical waste, I let them pick their top 10. And let me tell you, this exercise in choosing is entertainment enough!

Once they’ve chosen, they can gorge themselves on all of it right then and there or portion it out as they choose.

But when those 10 items are gone, they’re gone because I buy back the remaining candy and get rid of it that night.

We offer a very competitive rate of return - usually either 5 or 10 cents depending on how many houses they’ve gone to. They make a few bucks and I get the satisfaction of knowing I’m not having to deal with their sugar highs for the next few weeks. Not to mention the ensuing colds that always result from a lowered immune response (that’s another blog post on its own!).

It ticks me off that I have to buy candy twice - once from the store and once from my own kids. It bugs me that it’s wasteful if I can’t find a place to donate the candy to. It irritates me that I go against my own principles buying sugar for your kids and then donating it after Halloween to your church or local food pantry.

But this is the only way I’ve found over the years to balance what I believe as a parent with my kids’ desire to be “normal” in a health-compromised world.

Whoever said parenting is easy?


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HI! I'm Dr. Shawna Dingman and I operate Elevate Women's Health Centre in Port Perry. I am the co-owner of Elevate Health Centres with my husband, Dr. Craig Dingman. 

Speaking of family, I'm a mom of 3 amazing kids: Jackson, Jenna and Cole.  I've always been passionate about the care of women and children, probably because I began my career as a pediatric and pregnancy chiropractor as a young mom with an infant!  Aside from clinical practice, I also co-host a podcast for women chiropractors and coach women chiropractors who want to have practices that are a great fit for their families.  In my "spare" time, I love to cottage with my family, hang out with the kids, CrossFit at our local gym, read a book, catch a great show on Netflix, go for a run or have coffee with friends.