October 27, 2008

Healthier Halloween? Get Active!

I confess that in years past, Halloween was really just an excuse for me to chow down on leftover Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Kit Kats - the one time of year I went to town with junk food. But as a new mama who works with kids and thinks about their fitness on a regular basis, I'm feeling not-so-good about handing out high fructose corn syrup in a wrapper to the world's littlest folk.

Thankfully, the Mom blogs I follow are filled with tips and ideas for a greener, cleaner, healthier Halloween. Check out Crunchy Domestic Goddess and Boston Mamas for great alternatives to candy that won't get your house egged this year.

But since I haven't seen this anywhere else, I thought I'd share some activities to incorporate into your Halloween celebration to ensure that it's a healthy one. Especially if their junk food intake will increase, make sure you offer more opportunities for physical activity in the days to come. Some ideas to get you groovin' (these go for grownups without kids as well!):
  • Hoof It: Skip the car for your trick-or-treating this year and walk instead. Maybe even use your spooky stroll as an opportunity to start a new family tradition of going for a walk together every night.
  • Spooky Yoga: Do a Halloween yoga practice together. Cat pose becomes Scary Black Cat Pose, for instance. Let your kids go to town inventing new poses based on their costumes, on animals, on whatever their imagination can come up with.
  • Leafy Treats: If you live in New England, celebrate Halloween and autumn with my favorite fall activity, leaf pile jumping! The time spent raking leaves into piles will give everyone a workout. Little ones and big ones alike will delight in the sound and running through and into all the leaves.
  • Pumpkin Picking: If you haven't already picked your pumpkin this year, get your kids outside running around a pick-your-own field. Pick up some squash and roast it and the seeds for a healthy fall treat while you're there as well. You'll help your kids understand where their food, and their jack-o-lanters come from, and everyone will get some outdoor activity as well.
  • Halloween Dance Party: Dance the night away with your costumed kids to Monster Mash, Thriller, and Ghostbusters, and Time Warp! Check out The Complete Halloween Party Album on iTunes or just do a music search for "halloween party" and come up with your own playlist!

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