We mommies sure can find any excuse to feel guilty. This week, I had the best intentions of coming up with some vintage store, urban take on my preschooler’s stereotypical princess costume. Last Hallowe’en, she was still small enough for me to “suggest” she might want to be a cute little ladybug. But now she’s 3 and it’s all princesses, princesses, princesses. So I found myself, strapped for time, at the mall picking through the polyester costume-in-a-bag selection. She got her princess costume. And she loves it! But I feel guilty for not providing a homemade, hand-sewn costume. I can’t help you with your mommy guilt. I’ve got my own! But I can help you with one predictable upcoming source of major guilt: the post-Hallowe’en candy hangover! You’ve got a few days left to start planning your defense for this Sunday’s big candy bash. Make sure you come out of the holiday still fitting into your jeans and feeling good about yourself. Here are my tips for keeping Hallowe’en as guilt-free as possible: Don’t buy your candy in advance. This is an obvious one, ladies. If it’s in the house, you’re probably going to eat it. If you’re not going to eat it, your hubby is going to eat it. If your hubby doesn’t eat it, your kids are going to eat it (or they’re going to beg you for it if they’re too small to open the box themselves). Set aside a half hour on Hallowe’en afternoon to zip out to the store and stock up. Don’t buy your favourite candy. What are you trying to do to yourself? Chinese water torture might be less uncomfortable. Don’t buy your favourite chocolate bar in miniature form x 70… you’ll be sitting in front of a large bowl of candy all night with nothing to do but wait for the doorbell to ring. What do you think is going to happen? Eat dinner. Do not wait until after trick-or-treating to eat dinner. Prepare an early dinner and choose something satisfying, with a mixture of carbohydrates and protein. Choose something you and your family like to eat so appetites are good and tummies get filled. Then, when your kids are asking for candy, you’ll know it’s out of desire and not hunger. Plus you’ll be much better able to resist the treat onslaught yourself. Plan an evening snack. It’s a holiday! Have something yummy! Maybe some popcorn or pretzels to satisfy your salt craving or a single-serving ice pop or homemade dessert for your sweet tooth. At some point, the kids will go to bed and you’ll be left unsupervised with their little trick-or-treat sacks calling your name. Save your snack for your weakest moment. And don’t choose Hallowe’en candy for your snack. It’s much easier to resist the treats altogether than it is to stop at just one. Give all of your candy away. This is not brain surgery. When the knocks on your door start to dwindle, start giving it away by the handful. You’re better off putting up a sign on the door letting the last few kids know you’ve run out than you are polishing off the last twenty Hershey miniatures yourself. Let’s be honest here. The candy is for the kids. Best of luck with the candy bonanza! Stay healthy. Stay safe. Happy Hallowe’en!