Approximately 598 million pounds of candy are sold annually during the Halloween season, according to Nielsen. With only 44 million children living in the US, that’s a whopping 13.5 pounds of candy per child or a lot of adults snagging more than just one piece of Halloween candy!
Wearing cute or creepy costumes and going trick-or-treating is a traditional way to celebrate Halloween. Your kids usually come home with candy. Lots of candy. So what do you do with all that candy, besides let your kids eat it all at once and suffer the sugar-crazies, or the sugar cravings that can follow for weeks after trick-or-treating is done?
No problem. I’ve got some ideas to help control the post-Halloween candy craze at your house:
The best defense may be a good offense. Start proactively by feeding your kids before they go out. Serve your kids a healthy snack such as a peanut butter sandwich and some fruit before trick-or-treating. Why does this help? If your kids aren’t hungry, they might be less likely to gorge themselves on candy when they get home.
Let Them Have Fun and Experience Trick-or-Treating, Then..
You may decide to let your children enjoy some (or even a lot) of their Halloween candy when they get home from trick-or-treating (after you have inspected the treats for safety). But then you have some choices to make:
- Let them eat all of it until it’s gone. Not the best idea – lots of calories, fat and sugar and may set up some bad eating habits.
- Have your kids “trade the candy in” for something better – books, toys, or something of your choosing. Then you can give the rest away.
- Throw the rest away. It may seem wasteful, but if your child has difficulty controlling his or her candy consumption, this may be the best choice.
- If you don’t want to throw the candy away, give it away. Take the rest of the candy to work or group meetings. Hopefully, the adults will have good control over their candy consumption.
- Put the extra treats into a high cabinet in your kitchen or pantry. Out of sight is out of mind, and you can control how many treats your kids get to eat over the next few days.
- Divide up the leftover candy to be eaten a little at a time.
If you opt for the last choice, you’ll need some lunch-sized paper bags, tape, stapler, and maybe some markers or pens. Place two or three small treats (or one larger piece) into each plain paper bag. Tape or staple the paper bags closed and keep them in a large box or bag. Let your kids pick out one bag each day. Or you can mark each bag with a specific date and your child’s name.
How to Have the Healthiest Halloween
- Don’t buy Halloween candy early. You may just tempt yourself and your kids into eating it before the trick-or-treating even starts.
- Promote a healthy Halloween in your neighborhood by handing out alternatives to candy like pencils, stickers, party favors or trading cards.
- Give out individually packaged healthy treats like nuts, raisins, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, cashews, whole grain crackers, or little bags of microwave popcorn.
- Have some treats available for children who may have allergies to peanuts or other nuts.
- Skip the Halloween candy sale on November 1st. Cheap bags of candy may seem like a good buy, but you don’t need the extra sugar and calories.