3 Tips for a Mindful Halloween (Including How to Avoid Bingeing!)

Halloween is here! Let’s leave the scare-factor to the horror films, not the candy.

The holiday season is about to officially begin, and the first celebration is Halloween. Halloween is an exciting and spooky holiday that so many of us enjoyed as children. But, as with most things in this world, diet culture has ruined a lot of the fun associated with Halloween. Instead of focusing on our costumes and decorations, we’re often too busy checking the calorie counts on our Milky Way bars. We make deals with ourselves about how many pieces we’re allowed, or gorge ourselves the night-of and toss the whole stash the following morning out of shame.

So is it possible to enjoy Halloween in this diet-culture world? I think so! The key is approaching it with mindfulness. Here are my three tips to having a mindful–and fun!–Halloween:

1. Have a nice meal before trick-or-treating commences: Many of us are in the habit of “saving” all of our calories for the big candy extravaganza. But when we wait all day to eat, we prime ourselves for a binge. Instead, take a more moderate approach. Eat a yummy, balanced, satisfying meal prior to heading out (and when you feel hungry throughout the day as well!), and come candy-swapping time, you will likely be much more able to consciously choose and enjoy the candy you’ve brought home.

2. Don’t make rules about how much candy you’re allowed to eat: When we make rules around our food, we feed into a scarcity mindset. When we feel as if something is scarce, we end up wanting to eat as much as we can when we have the chance. Picture a child being told they are only allowed one Hershey’s bar. Because their scarcity mindset has been activated, it’s highly likely that child will eat their one Hershey’s bar, and then sneak five more under their pillow to be eaten in secret. Instead of making you or your children feel like you need to hide or monitor your candy intake, let go a little bit. Allow yourself whatever candy you’d like, without guilt or shame.

3. Keep the candy around: Many parents decide that Halloween candy should be thrown out after Halloween evening. Some families will wait a few days before dumping the whole lot. Instead, what if you stuck a few pieces in with your child’s lunch until it ran out? Rather than dumping the candy and giving your child a timeline in which they have to eat as much candy as possible before it’s gone forever, give your children and yourselves the space to enjoy the candy for the long-term. And remember that candy is always available. I hear that the grocery store even sells it when it’s not Halloween;-) This approach helps prevent both you and your children from feeling rushed with the candy experience, making bingeing and tummy aches much less likely.

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