Tips on a Healthy Halloween Trick-or-Treating

by Elisa Olivier-Nielsen, MA, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, EON Consulting

The holidays officially begin with Halloween, and this much-anticipated evening is filled with activities, treats and fun for children.

However, by the end of the night, children are left with an overload of candy that may lead to dental cavities, weight gain, sugar highs and upset stomachs.

Most parents realize overloading on candy is not the best option for their children, but they feel pressured to participate in the festivities, which exposes their children to delicious but very sweet confections.

Plan ahead. Let’s look at some helpful tips to avoid the pitfalls of Halloween.

Enjoy other activities as a family

  • Select, design and make your own costumes.
  • Decorate the house.
  • Pick and carve pumpkins.
  • Go on hay hides or other fun-related activities.

Choose your treats well

Purchase healthier options that provide some nutritional value, i.e., with less sugar but with some fiber, protein and maybe even healthy fats. Examples include dark chocolates, mini packages of popcorn, baked chips, pretzels, or Fig Newtons®, mini-sized pieces rather than the fun-sized ones, mini packs of sugar-free or regular gum.

Also, feel free to walk on the wild side by passing out bouncy balls, temporary Halloween tattoos, toothbrushes and toothpaste instead of candy!

Discuss moderation ahead of time

Be clear on how much candy your child will be allowed to eat that night and every night afterward, until their stash is gone.

Let your child go through their stash and decide which candy they wish to keep. Once you have your designated unwanted candy stash:

  • Hand the unwanted candy back out to other trick-or-treaters.
  • Bring it to work.
  • Give it to a friend, neighbor, family member, etc. 
  • Donate it to a food bank.
  • Sell it!