Halloween Help Guide

Talk about scary: Halloween is a very hard time to stay on program. So we tracked down some of our members' best beat-the-treats tips. Check 'em out.
Halloween Help Guide
For many, the prospect of looming Halloween treats might be even scarier than watching a horror flick during a thunderstorm. So what are you supposed to do when those 5-pound bags of Snickers go on sale at the grocery store, or when your kids have laid out their loot in organised piles on the living room floor?

We've surveyed some successful members and found out how they tackle the scariest Halloween candy scenarios. Here are their best tips:

Resist the sales. "My biggest Halloween challenge is not falling for the good coupon in the paper," says Linda. A 5-pound bag of Snickers on sale is still a 5-pound bag of Snickers.

Your best bet? Buy late. "The closer to Halloween you buy the candy, the better," says Maggie. "In fact," she says, "never, ever open the bag before the first trick-or-treater comes." That way, you'll have less total temptation time to cope with.

Buy candy you don't like. Dina says she heads straight for Mounds and Almond Joy when she has to pick up the Halloween candy—"Coconut is the one thing I don't like."

Buy candy alternatives. There are tons of non-food treats that you could consider, in lieu of candy. Try these ideas:

  • Restaurant coupon books.

  • Spider rings, erasers, pencils ... check your nearest party supply store for cheap party favours.

  • Rolls of coins - break them open and give each treater a quarter.

Make up a game plan. If you decide to go for the mini Reese's that the kids will love you for, says Maggie: "Start giving out more as the night wears on, so there's less left over." Out of sight, out of mind. And if there are still leftovers, get rid of them. Give the candy away to a food charity, throw it away, collect it all and give it to the neighbours, or bring it to work (and drop it off in a different department)!

Let Your Kids Live a Little
If you have trick-or-treaters of your own, you need to develop a whole separate set of strategies. Actually, Halloween is a great time to teach your kids how to have a healthy attitude about treats.

Lead by example, and you and your kids can have a Halloween with treats and without guilt. "Candy should not be made the enemy," says Karen Miller-Kovach, Weight Watchers' chief scientist. "Healthy eating is enjoying a variety of foods including treats, some of which may be high in fat and calories or nutritionally sparse. When it comes to children and treats, what's important is to teach them moderation and a sense of portion control."

Plus, you have to find a way to give your kids a happy holiday and still keep yourself in control. Try these tips:

Go out on a full stomach. If you have to walk your kids around to trick-or-treat, make lunch your big meal of the day, so you're not walking around hungry with bags full of candy. And carry a thermos of something hot to sip on—how about a nice cup of apple-cinnamon tea?

When the candy's at home, work with your kids to decide what to do with it. Have them pick their ten favourite pieces: If they're young, encourage them to leave the rest out for "The Great Pumpkin." And if they're too big to believe, encourage them to save the rest for lunches and parties.

Also, ask them to hide their candy, and not tell you where it is. "When it's put in front of me, it's very difficult for me to resist," says Maria. "My son and I work out a deal where he takes a certain amount and then puts the rest of it out of sight."