Tips for Having a Safe, Healthy Halloween Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Mary Cherne, St. Lukes Clinical Dietition, Provides Safer, Healthier Alternatives When it Comes to Celebrating the Holidays Amid COVID-19

DULUTH, Minn. – Having a safe and healthy Halloween will have a whole new meaning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mary Cherne deals with dietitian, clinical nutrition, and diabetes care at St. Luke’s in Duluth.

She’s urging Northlanders to err on the side of caution to keep yourself and loved ones safe this holiday season.

This comes as the CDC is recommending against traditional trick or treating this year to limit the spread of COVID-19.

If you do go out or meet up with others, Cherne advises you remember to wear a well fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth.

Hand washing or using hand sanitizer is also key if you are heading out and about or seeing friends.

If you are getting together with people outside of your household, try to avoid buffet style meals and communal dishes. It’s also best to stay outdoors when possible and maintain 6 feet of space between people.

Cherne says just because many children might not be trick-or-treating this year, that doesn’t mean there won’t be candy around the house.

“First, you don’t need to totally restrict or avoid candy. The more we restrict foods the more likely we are to overeat them later,” said Cherne. “This goes for kids too. Don’t ruin the fun of Halloween by taking away all of the candy. Instead, use it as an opportunity for them to learn and develop a good relationship with food.”

Offering a glass of milk with candy can be a way to add some nutritional value to Halloween.

Cherne suggests avoiding mindless eating. She says it’s absolutely okay┬áto eat Halloween candy, but make sure you are actually enjoying it. When you go to eat candy, stop what you’re doing, eat slowly and savor every bite.

Keep busy. Keeping your mind and hands occupied may help decrease the number of times you reach for the candy bowl.

Cherne says this is a great year to start a new tradition or simply celebrate in a new way. Some ideas include:

  • Having a bonfire in the backyard – (bundled up this year!)
  • Halloween themed movie nights in costumes
  • Hosting a virtual costume contest
  • Making a Halloween themed meal for your family
  • Creating a candy scavenger hunt around the house or trick or treating around your own house
  • Carving pumpkins and listening to Halloween music

“Stress eating and boredom eating are common and can be legitimate ways to deal with emotions,” said Cherne. “The key is that it is not your only way to manage these feelings or situations. Work on non-food ways to manage stress. A mental health provider can be a great resource if you find this is something you’re struggling with.”

Click here for more information from St. Luke’s.

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