The fall is a wonderful time of year with beautiful weather and great harvest foods. However, between Halloween parties and trick ’r treating, it also tends to be a time of overeating not-so-healthy snacks.

Clementines or small oranges decorated like Jack-O-Lanterns

Clementines or small oranges decorated like Jack-O-Lanterns

As a parent you want to do what is best for your kids. So, in the spirit of October as Children’s Health Month, let’s make some tasty and healthy Halloween treat choices. The American Heart Association offers several good tips for avoiding the big sugar rush while still having a fun and festive holiday.

Be THAT house – nobody said you have to give away candy, and discount stores including Costco and Dollar Tree have healthier options that are around the same price point:

  • Pretzels
  • Dried fruit and nut trail mix
  • Granola bars
  • Fruit, such as clementine or apples
  • Peanut butter crackers, preferably whole wheat
  • Raisin boxes

Once you get home with a filled bag is where the danger comes! KidsHealth.org asked parents to share how they handle Halloween. Most mom and dads — 82% — set limits to keep kids from going overboard on the Halloween treats. Many parents said that after letting kids indulge in some treats right after trick-or-treating, they limit their kids to a certain number of pieces each day or put the candy stash out of reach and out of sight. Then kids have to ask for it — that is, if they remember that it’s there!

Worried you’ll have leftover Halloween candy until long after long Valentine’s Day? Here are some ideas of what to do with all the leftover mountains of candy:

  • Pick out enough candy for one piece a day for 5 days and put those in the fridge. When your child asks for a piece of candy make sure to pair it with a healthy snack: an apple, a banana, some healthy nuts, or celery.
  • “Buy back” the candy from your child with money or tokens they can trade in for a fun activity: a day at the zoo, an afternoon playing at a local park, going ice skating, or a day at the pool.
  • Some dentist offices have been known to buy back the candy from their patients so be on the lookout for that option!
  • Save it for holiday baking coming up.
  • Stuff a piñata with it for the next birthday celebration.