With childhood obesity doubling over the past 30 years, forgoing the sugar laden treats on Halloween is always a great idea. There are many healthy options that will still delight the local ghouls and goblins this Halloween.
Skip the candy completely. Try any novelty item or trinket that would be safe to put in a child’s party bag aka the birthday goody bag. Good options include glow sticks, inexpensive costume jewelry, funny Halloween glasses, fake teeth, mini magnifying glasses, decks of cards, or Halloween themed pencils, pencil toppers and fancy erasers.
Foster creativity and imagination with markers, stickers, temporary tattoos, crayons, comic books or mini activity books, small bottles of bubbles, or whistles.
Prefer practicality? Go with bookmarks or even toothbrushes. Children always enjoy receiving coins and pennies, nickels, and dimes can safely be given out without breaking the bank.
The healthiest options are going to be items that get kids physically active, such as, bouncy balls, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, or even a plastic or foam airplanes.
Note: Many of these suggestions are good for children of all ages but some small items should be limited to children over three. Have options available for any age group.
Edible alternatives. Healthier treat options include:
- Packages of crackers, including graham crackers and/or cheese filled crackers
- 100 calorie packs are available for a variety of products
- Beef or turkey jerky
- Single serve boxes of cereal
- Chocolate covered raisins
- Animal crackers
- Fruit filled cookies
- Gummy candies made with real juice
- Mini boxes of raisins
- 100% juice boxes
- Snack pack pudding
- Jell-O snack packs
- Hot chocolate mix packets
- Granola bars
- Fruit bars
Note: While fresh fruits like apples, bananas and oranges are some of the best snack options for kids, they are no longer safe options for handing out on Halloween. Remember that individually wrapped items are best to guarantee the safety of the children. Save the fruit for the Halloween party.
Healthiest candy options. If it just doesn't seem like Halloween without the candy, opt for these sweet treats, which provide less fat and calories than many other popular choices.
- One Three Musketeer’s mini fun size bar has 63 calories, 2g of fat and 11g of sugar.
- A single Kit Kat snack sized treat contains 70 calories, 3.6g of fat and 7g of sugar.
- Snack Size York Peppermint Pattie, 1 piece has 60 calories; 1g fat; and 11g sugar.
- Dark chocolate has more health benefits than milk chocolate and Hershey's Miniatures: Special Dark are great for passing out on Halloween, 1 piece has 40 calories; 2.5 g of fat; 5mg sodium; 3.6g of sugar.
- Concerned about GMOs? Mile High Organics offers a wide variety of GMO-free candy and snacks.
Halloween presents an ideal opportunity to teach children the benefits of practicing moderation in eating. Halloween treats can be included in a healthy eating plan, just make sure to set limits on when and how much candy can be consumed. Most importantly, stick to those limits. Allow kids to choose a few pieces of candy to eat on Halloween night and then let them choose a few pieces each day after that. Overtly forbidding or restricting candy consumption may cause kids to develop patterns of hoarding or obsession with candy. Instead, teach children why sweets should be consumed in moderation and help them become responsible for their own healthy eating habits.