7 Tricks for a Healthier Halloween

by Elle Penner, MPH, RD
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7 Tricks for a Healthier Halloween

Trick-or-treating is a lucrative business, at least if you’re in the business of collecting calories. Based on the nutrition labels on popular candies, it’s been estimated that the average child accumulates 3,500 to 7,000 calories worth of treats on Halloween night, according to Donna Arnett, Ph.D., of  the University of Alabama-Birmingham’s School of Public Health. Want to know what the scariest part of Halloween is? If all of those extra calories are gobbled up and not burned off, those treats will quickly pack on 1-2 pounds. Yikes!

I’m all for enjoying a few Halloween treats here and there–especially those delicious peanut butter cups–but with the abundance of candy, both at home and sitting on your co-worker’s desks, it sure is easy to go overboard. I recently put together a few tips and tricks to help us all survive the next few candy-filled days.

1. Hold off on breaking open those bags of candy until just before trick-or-treaters arrive

Take it a step further and wait until Halloween day to purchase your treats!

2. Be a role model by keeping your own candy consumption in moderation

Enjoy one or two small pieces at a time, and allow your children to do the same.

3. Keep a tally of miniature treats

It’s easy to have 3-4 “snack-size” treats throughout the course of the day. I’m guilty of this myself! Do the math though and the fat and calories quickly adds up to 1 full-size candy bar.

4. Prepare a few healthy finger foods for you and the kids to nosh on before heading out for Halloween festivities

Doing so will likely reduce the desire to fill up on candy instead.

5. Consider a candy exchange

Allow your children to enjoy their Halloween treats for a day or two and then propose making a trade; their pillowcase full of candy for a new toy of their choice.

6. Give out non-traditional treats

Things like sidewalk chalk, bouncy balls, jump ropes, glow sticks and hacky sacks are inexpensive and promote physical activity–which is probably more fun for kids than another handful of miniature candy bars.

7. Remember that Halloween, like other holidays, is just one day of the year

If you and your family make healthy eating a habit, a few days of overindulgence is perfectly okay, and should be enjoyed! Plan on making a tasty, nutritious meal over the weekend and get back on track once the trick-or-treating is over.

What tricks do you have for making Halloween a little bit healthier for you and your family? Share them in the comments below or on our Facebook page! 

Photo Credit: RichardBowen | Flickr


  • un noticed

    I bought fruit nugget in pouches for Halloween. Each pouch has 50 calories. I can have one and not blow my diet. They are healthier alternatives for the kids too.

  • Stephanie Kerr

    I have about 1kg of candy that i plan on handing out on halloween. Im not going to be eating a single piece (i tried it a while ago and thought it tasted gross), but to treat myself, im going to go all out with the facial latex, wax, fake blood and black contacts, to scare the crap out of some kids 😀

  • okolo

    best trick for surviving – just dont partake – dont give candy, dont get candy – worries gone!

  • best fat burner

    i like candy and we eath it in morroco with the couscous, is is so delicieuse

  • Hi Elle! It can be so tempting to partake in all the delicious candy. That’s why I make sure to buy candy that I hate to pass out. There is zero temptation for me to eat it. As for the snacking before – yes! This is a total must. And since it is just one day out of the year, that’s why it is a treat dinner too. Hope you had a great Halloween! Will you have any tips like this for Thanksgiving?