The cooler air and changing leaves can only mean one thing! Fall is upon us and Halloween is right around the corner. While the kid in me loves the idea of dressing up and indulging in unlimited candy over the entire month of October, I understand that the sweets need to be balanced out with non-sugary treats that are still festive and fun.

As a registered dietitian and a mom to a candy-loving daughter, I try to find ways to allow my little one to enjoy the season without overdoing it on the sweet treats. While candy in moderation can be a healthy part of a diet, excessive sugar intake can take its toll on a child’s weight, dental health, and behavior. While I see nothing wrong with an occasional indulgence once-in-a-while, a month-long sugar-a-thon does not result in anything positive for both parents and kids.

Thankfully, I have found some dietitian and mom-approved ways to offer up some Halloween fun while taking it easy on the candy.  All of these have been tested on my very opinionated daughter who has a vicious sweet tooth. If she is happy with these treats, everybody will be happy with these treats.

Here are three ways that we celebrate Halloween in a fun, yet candy-free way.

1. Whip Up Some Homemade Treats With Your Kiddos. When you cook at home, you have complete control over what is going into your recipes. And working with your kids in the kitchen is a great way to bond and help them learn skills they will need for the rest of their life. Kids seem to be just as happy gobbling up a better-for-you snack with a Halloween twist as they are chowing down on a pre-packaged candy bar.

One kitchen favorite we have in our home is making vampire mouths. Starting with one washed, cored, and quartered Envy apple, we cut a wedge from the skin side of each quarter and press almond slivers in place of teeth. The skin of Envy apples are a perfect shade of red to look like lips and offer up a boost of fiber to help support your kid’s gut health. Plus, this snack has no added sugars, yet is naturally sweet and yummy!

2. Go For Some Non-Edible Fun. From slime to stickers, there is no shortage of treats that don’t involve food. When my daughter starts whining for yet another peanut butter cup, I whip out some werewolf temporary tattoos or a pumpkin-shaped stamper with ink. My daughter gets so excited to play with something new, that she doesn’t give the lack of candy a second thought.

3. Opt For Some Halloween-Themed Low-Sugar Packaged Snacks. One of our household favorites around this time of year is all the fun snacks dressed up for Halloween! Whether it’s buying pretzels in the shape of pumpkins, little fish dressed up as vampires and bats, or other snacks in the shape of ghosts, you name it, we love it! I make a point to purchase better-for-you snacks dressed up in Halloween flair like PopCorners Halloween snack packs to keep the focus on the festive and not the sweets.

A healthier and just-as-fun Halloween can be had without a constant sugar rush with a little creativity and know-how. Choosing better-for-you snacks that are wrapped in festive packaging, making DIY fruit-based snacks, and leaning on small toys instead of treats can help your kids enjoy their Halloween without the sugar hangover.