When we got too old for trick-or-treating, we started celebrating All Hallows’ Eve at haunted theme parks, then partying in themed dorms wearing whatever we could pass for a costume, then, as newly minted yuppies, we dressed up for house parties or bars, or wherever else our friends could drag us. I've been guilty of going all out on Halloween—from the bags of candy I've eaten to the caramel apple cocktails I've imbibed. But over the years, I've learned a few hacks to make it healthier without feeling FOMO. Check out our tips below, and wake up on Wednesday feeling proud of all your smart choices!
01. Don’t go cray on the candy.
USDA data shows that the average American consumes about 32 teaspoons of added sugars per day, even though the maximum should be 10 teaspoons (40 grams)! Even foods that don't seem to contain added sugars do. Obviously, you don't want to be the person passing out pencils on Halloween, but you could buy a bag for the kids that is less tempting and treat yourself to few pieces of your favorite candy instead. You can indulge in Halloween party fare—like candy, chips, pizza, and other processed foods—as long as you practice moderation. Doctor and award-winning author Michelle May recommends viewing your appetite as an expense account. “How much do you want to spend on apps or snacks? Do you want to save some room for dessert or a cocktail? Go through this process mentally to avoid eating too much food and feeling uncomfortable for the rest of the evening,” she says.
02. The social scene is sobering up.
Have a couple drinks on Halloween night at a party or hanging out at a bar is pretty reasonable. But a survey last month indicates that Millennials are actually much more into experiencing good food than drinking alcohol. Forbes recently shared ten reasons why opting out of booze is becoming a trend for Millennials worldwide. A few among them include experiencing more connection, stepping into a healthier lifestyle, and experiencing an elevated mood state—all things that can make your Halloween even more fun!
03. Look for healthier versions of your favorite treats.
In many cases, pumpkin-flavored has become synonymous with artificial ingredients. Pumpkin spice is everywhere: Oreos, coffee, granola bars, gum, candles, and lip balm, among hundreds of other products. But that doesn't mean these products actually contain any pumpkin or pumpkin spice. In fact, Emily DeWitt, a registered dietitian and lab instructor in the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at UK, tells Leo Daily, "Real pumpkin puree is not always part of something labeled as 'pumpkin spice,' and sometimes it is actually artificially manufactured in a laboratory."
Not long ago, Food Babe uncovered that the Starbucks PSL didn’t contain any pumpkin at all. That changed a couple years later as Starbucks added some pumpkin puree to its pumpkin sauce. Since we all started wising up about wellness, some of our favorite brands have, too. You can opt for healthier Halloween-ready treats from Trader Joe's. Its products never contain artificial flavors, preservatives, MSG, genetically modified ingredients, or partially hydrogenated oils (aka artificial trans-fats). All you have to do steer clear of overly processed foods and check the nutrition facts—the new label makes this easier than ever—for whole ingredients that you can actually pronounce. Then eat, drink, and be scary . . . guilt-free.