Nutrition Articles

BOOtiful Halloween Treats!

Give Your Trick-or-Treaters Something Healthy

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Not-So-Tricky Halloween Treats
Most tricks have been dropped from today’s Halloween celebrations and all we are left with are a lot of high-sugar, high-fat treats. If you do not want to send the little beggars off with a sugar buzz, consider these alternatives.

These are sure to please all your little ghosts and goblins:
  • Individual packets of dried fruit, raisins, nuts, peanuts
  • Peanut-butter crackers, cheese crackers, pretzels
  • Fruit juice boxes
  • Individual pudding packs
  • Sugarless bubblegum
  • Buttons, pins, spider rings, trinket jewelry, bracelets, friendship rings, hair barrettes, ponytail holders, shoelaces
  • Home-baked goods, labeled with your name and address
  • Money
  • Tiny plastic animals, figurines, finger puppets, whistles
  • Halloween stickers, coloring books, puzzle books, pencils, erasers, note pads
  • Crayons
  • Trading cards
  • Restaurant coupons
Dealing with all the Loot
Wondering what to do once your children’s Halloween loot makes it home? In terms of dental health, nibbling on a piece of candy here and there will continually bathe the teeth in sugar and acid. This repeated exposure is likely to cause tooth decay. The best idea is to let your children eat as much candy as they want at one time and then make sure that their teeth are thoroughly brushed and flossed.

Be sure to set a limit on how long the candy stays around. For example, any leftovers get thrown away after 5 days. This not only will get them back on a healthy schedule but will remove the tempting goodies from you, too!
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • Things that require refrigeration like pudding/yogurt snacks are bad ideas for those in southern states where it can be 80 degrees on Halloween. Foods that are allergens are bad ideas now, too, especially since there are so many children with peanut, tree nut, or other potentially lethal allergies.

    Unless you personally know all the kids coming to your door, you're better off just giving small themed toys or other favors that are fun to play with. I'd stay away from giving out buttons or pins as well, due to the safety factor for younger trick-or-treaters
    .Giving out money is a terrible idea, too. It's better to just buy a cheap bag of themed party favors. I'd never put my name and address on anything I give out to strangers, even if they are children. That's asking for trouble.

    I'm also of the opinion (along with many others) that allowing kids to eat however much candy they want at once and chucking the rest is a terrible idea. We (my sister and I) would get to take 1 piece for lunch each day or eat 1 after school (but not both), after we sorted out all the stuff we didn't want (like raisins and taffy). This method seems like a much better way to illustrate what "moderation" means, since moderation is the foundation on which SparkPeople is built. - 10/14/2014 12:42:57 PM
  • MELBUR2
    For a number of years now I have offered satsumas/tangerin
    es for treats. Recently, I've also offered individually packed Haribo - but only if they are happy to take some fruit. They all seem to be happy with this; especially the parents! - 10/2/2014 4:29:41 AM
  • I actually came to the article in search for alternative treats; for Halloween and Christmas I like to decorate and have treats at my cubicle, but I wanted to give my coworkers some variety since some of them compete for body building and hockey around this time of year. - 10/1/2014 10:15:48 AM
  • Also: Shoelaces??? You put shoelaces in my kid's bag, I'll egg your house myself. - 10/1/2014 9:20:06 AM
  • It's halloween, for crying out loud. It's once a year! Lighten up. - 10/1/2014 9:17:32 AM
  • Let them eat all the candy they want at one time?! No way! My son is going to choose 2 treats out of his loot to eat that night, then the rest is going into daddy's secret stash never to be seen or heard from again! Then again, my son is only 19 months and shouldn't have much candy anyway... - 10/30/2013 10:34:36 AM
  • NJTTHOMAS
    We give out glow bracelets. The kids love them and if you plan ahead and get them off ebay you can get them for about 5 cents ecah which is way cheaper than Halloween candy. Additionally, if you have left overs you can store them for the next year (no temptation to eat the leftovers). - 10/27/2012 8:12:19 AM
  • Lots of good suggestions but I have to admit, the thought of handing out shoelaces to the neighborhood kids made me laugh out loud. - 10/23/2012 9:29:49 AM
  • I get about 20 full size candy bars for the kids in the close neighborhood. Once it is gone I turn off the light.

    I think that if the child works for the candy by walking for it, then it is theirs. It is stealing to take it from them. They worked for it.

    I use to go out walking for hours with my friends and we brought it home and divided it into baggies with all the same things in them. we would give mom and dad the ones we didn't like, so they would have some. But again it was our candy. we would through it away when the Christmas candy got there, and through that away when the Easter candy got there.

    What are you teaching your children it is ok to steal. What if they took just a little money from you without telling you, every day! - 10/27/2010 11:55:10 PM
  • Mother let us keep our candy and eat some at night after supper. We were able to trick-a-trick over the neighbor hood without suppervision. Now no parent should let thier child go alone or just a group of small children to walk alone. The world has changed for the worst. We now live out in the country and never have more than our own grand children come to the house. I learnt long ago to buy little candy. Even the other children around us have out grown Halloween. We now take the babies to churches that hev trunk-a-trick and a few friends and that gives them enought candy and a good time. I have bought candy when it goes on sale and put it in the freezer for Christmas stockings. - 10/27/2010 11:21:41 PM
  • WALKMAMMAWALK
    Use a SMALL container to hold the Halloween loot - limits how much there is.
    Focus on OTHER activities like hay rides, haunted walks...
    It's best to eat it all at once - then ration over weeks. Decreases the risks of prolonged exposure to sugar on little teeth.

    - 10/27/2010 4:14:32 PM
  • When I was young, our Halloween candy lasted for months becasue my paresnt only allowed a piece or two a day. It always worked fine. My parents still get Trick or Treaters but now they also mix in the silly little toys that come in cereal boxes. The kids go crazy for those and the toys are gone long before the candy. - 10/27/2010 3:05:00 PM
  • We ration our kids candies over a long period of time (most candy has a LONG shelf life).

    As for those giving out pretzels and boxes of raisins, I can vouch for my kids (and me when I was a kid), they don't eat them. They set them aside until Mom gives up trying to get them to eat them. They end up getting wasted. My kids eat raisins and, slightly less often because of the salt, pretzels in their day to day life. Doesn't feel like a treat, no matter how many pumpkins and ghosties they put on the packaging.

    I do give some candy out but balance it with glow-in-the-dark bouncy balls (I buy them in bulk from Oriental Trading Company) and glow bracelets/sticks when I can find them cheap. They love the toys but only if they're not the throw-away/break when you play with them type. - 10/27/2010 2:13:02 PM
  • Thanks for the ideas, did some of these in the past... I bought candy that any extras can be used for my daughter's school fundraising booth - - 10/27/2010 12:45:43 PM
  • As a suggestion of where to take the candy, when my wife was going through chemotherapy, I occasionally brought along small little halloween-size candy bars which were *very* popular with the patients as well as the other guests/visitors that accompanied the patients. I never saw anyone eating candy to excess, but a little chocolate was certainly a mood lifter in what was otherwise a pretty sucky day. - 10/27/2010 12:22:36 PM

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