Halloween is right around the corner! This time of year is filled with many fun events ranging from the tame to the terrifying. The spooky season can also be a great time to get in shape in festive style.

Today, we’re looking at how to work off the trick-or-treat candy while celebrating this fun holiday. In fact, speaking of trick-or-treating…

Embrace the Health Benefits of Trick-Or-Treating

It may seem counterintuitive, but trick-or-treating can actually be a workout. Yes, you’re taking your kids or grandkids to get candy, but you’re also walking. Even if you live in a neighborhood that’s more spread out or need to do a little driving, use the opportunity as an excuse to get up and get moving. You could always head to a local mall or senior center, where you can make several stops within walking distance.

How effective is trick-or-treating for exercise? As long as you aren’t sneaking a fun-sized candy bar between stops, it’s pretty good for you. We’ve already talked about how healthy low-impact exercise is in “Jogging Turns Back Your Clock.” So, let’s zero in on the calories.

If you spend two hours trick-or-treating, the average male will burn about 674 calories and 626 for the average female.

Say you’re 65 years old, of average height and weight, and walking at an average pace of 2.5 mph, a very leisurely speed. If you spend two hours trick-or-treating, you’ll have burned about 674 calories if you’re an average male and 626 if you’re an average female.

Just a heads up, you’ll more than likely move a bit quicker than the speed above, seeing as you’ll be with children hunting candy. You can see how much you’d burn with this calorie calculator.

Trust us, after an evening of trying to keep up with your excited Iron Man or Wonder Woman springing from house to house, you’ll feel how much you’ve worked out! Just don’t forget to stay safe. Only walk in well-lit areas, keep on the sidewalk, and make sure you can see your little monsters by utilizing flashlights or reflective clothing.

Join a Halloween 5K or Fun Run

If you’re looking for a more extreme solution to your fitness goals, try a Halloween-themed fun run or 5K. Much like Halloween itself, these runs range from festive to frightening, so make sure you know what you’re signing up for. If you’ve got a pet, you can try a run geared toward your furry friends. Some of America’s most historic sites are even getting in on the fun. For example, Salem, MA, has the Devil’s Chase, a 6.66-mile fun run!

For those looking for something a little more…intense, you can try a zombie fun run. Before the race, you’re given a belt of flags that the “zombies” try to steal. If you lose all your flags, you’re “dead” or “infected.” Make your way to the finish line, dodging zombies, obstacles, and other racers, as you try to survive.

Before signing up for a run, check with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to participate.

Two notable examples of zombie races in Pennsylvania are The 5K Zombie Fun Run at the Field of Screams in Lancaster, PA, and The Zombie Mud Run by Shocktoberfest in Reading, PA. There’s also Zombie Run in Perry, GA, and Zombie Run! At the Great Escape theme park in Lake George, NY. If this sounds like a fun event to you, find zombie runs near you.

Before signing up for a run, check with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to participate. If you’re concerned about running that much, many of these events will allow you to go your own pace. If walking the 5K is what you can do, go for it. The important thing is that you’re exercising.

Run for Your Life in a Haunted House or Corn Maze

Want a work out that combines the low-intensity exercise of walking with the heart-pounding terror of the zombie runs? Look no further than a haunted house or haunted corn maze. Much like trick-or-treating, you’ll be walking throughout the activity, but you’ll also have moments of running in terror. These attractions are a fun way to get your heart pumping!

Film fans will love the Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, which put you in some of your favorite horror movies. Or, how about visiting a one-of-a-kind scare-fest in a real haunted prison? There are thousands of haunted attractions around the country for you to try.

One thing to keep in mind before going to a haunted house or corn maze is to take their health warnings seriously.

One thing to keep in mind before going to a haunted house or corn maze is to take their health warnings seriously. You don’t want to visit the attraction only to have a real life-threatening event encounter.

If getting chased by ghouls isn’t your thing, try out a regular corn maze. They offer all the brain-teasing fun and exercise of a maze without the terror. It’s the perfect afternoon activity for the whole family, and nearly every state has a maze to call their own.

And if you think you can use the “right hand rule” for mazes, think again. With advances in how corn mazes are set up, the tried and true rule may not work anymore. Looks like you may need a new strategy!

Get Your Cardio & Weight Training in by Apple or Pumpkin Picking

One of the most relaxing fall activities is apple or pumpkin picking. It’s also a deceptively good way to get a bit of exercise. Not only are you walking around the orchard or pumpkin patch, you’re carrying what you pick. That’s right, this activity is cardio and weight training!

Walking with weights boosts your cardio workout. It helps you to burn up to 10 to 20 percent more calories than you’d otherwise burn. Using our calculator from earlier, men can burn 388 to 423 calories, while women burn 343 to 374 after an hour.

The number of extra calories burned grows as you carry more, making your typical carving pumpkins (averaging 12-18 pounds) perfect for light lifting. Apples, on the other hand, are much lighter (roughly .28 pounds per apple). This gives you the opportunity to pick plenty of them before the bag or basket becomes too heavy for you to carry.

These activities are perfect for older Americans, especially those dealing with joint pain, since they are very low-impact. Just remember to lift with your knees, not your back. Do that and there is little chance of overstraining or hurting yourself.

● ● ●

You may associate Halloween time with candy, parties, and costumes. Not exactly the healthiest associations, are they? Well, by taking another look at classic Halloween festivities, you may lose a bit of weight this year. And, you may even have a bit of fun!

Do you have any ghost stories? How about some great Halloween memories? We’d love to hear them! If you’d like to share with us, send your stories to living@medicareful.com. We may even share a few of the best! Happy Halloween!