7 Tricks for a Healthier Halloween

Elle Penner, MPH, RD
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

About the Author

Elle Penner, MPH, RD
Elle Penner, MPH, RD

Elle is a nutrition and wellness writer, recipe developer, blogger and nutrition consultant whose favorite things include her camera, carbs and quality time with her toddler. For more from this busy mama, check out Elle’s lifestyle blog or connect with her on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


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