If it were only at Halloween, we wouldn’t be concerned about the candy.
But it’s not just at Halloween. It’s candy and other treats all too often— breakfast candy (sugary cereals), liquid candy (soda), and fruit candies at lunch (fruit snacks/gummies/roll-ups).
Celebrating Halloween healthfully isn’t about giving up all the treats. It’s about bringing them into balance, especially since kids often have multiple celebrations: at school, at friends’ houses, at after care, and in the community. And, of course, there’s trick-or-treating.
There’s more to Halloween than candy. There’s dressing up, having fun with friends, playing games, and doing crafts. With so many celebrations throughout the year, it’s important to enjoy each one without going overboard.
Healthier Trick-or-Treating Giveaways For younger kids, try small toys like:
- Temporary tattoos or stickers
- Small plastic spiders, ghosts, or skeletons
- Super bouncy balls
- Halloween-themed pencils, erasers, or pencil toppers
- Spooky plastic rings or false teeth
- Bracelets or hair accessories
Healthier Food Options:
- Individual packages of raisins or other dried fruit
- 100% fruit leathers
- 100% juice boxes
- Small water bottles
- Sugar-free gum
For candy, give away:
- Fruit-flavored snacks/rollups/gummies
- Fat-free or lowfat candy like Twizzlers, Skittles, York Peppermint Patties, or Junior Mints
- Only giving out one fun-sized candy per child (whole handfuls reinforce over-indulgence)
On Halloween Night…
- Make sure children travel in groups and/or with an adult.
- Give children flashlights for added visibility.
- Accessorize with glow-in-the-dark necklaces or bracelets or use reflective tape.
- Check collected items before allowing children to eat them.
It is most important to work with children on healthy eating throughout the year. Encourage healthy eating but don’t battle over it. Instead, try to work something out, like allowing your children to eat what they want on Halloween night and then offer to trade them their candy stash for a small toy or another non-food related item.