Every Halloween, kids get decked out in their favourite costumes and prepare for the trek around the neighbourhood with one thing in mind: candy…and more candy! In October alone, Canadians buy more than $355 million worth of candy for this much anticipated holiday1. While dentists may rejoice, parents recoil at how much candy and chocolate their children bring home. Beyond the concern of cavities, fun-sized chocolate and candy bars pack more calories than we’d assume. Walking around with your children for 2 hours (approximately 8 km) to collect the candy will burn around 450 calories, which is only equivalent to 5 fun-sized chocolate bars (eek!)2. While this time of year brings out everyone’s sweet tooth, here are a few simple strategies to help keep temptation in check:
- Give out fun Halloween toys rather than candy this year: think stickers, temporary tattoos, pencils, bubbles, notepads, erasers, and mini tubs of Play-Doh. These can be great alternatives to the traditional chocolate bar and kids will be just as excited to receive them!
- Buy a smaller goodie bag. Want to minimize your child’s (and your) temptation after collecting an abundance of candy? Buy a smaller goodie bag so that your child has less candy to bring home and sort through.
- Let them pick their favourites. Have a discussion with your children around how many candies they think they should eat on Halloween night. Work together to devise a plan where they get to choose X amount of their favourite candy bars to enjoy when they return home. This is a great way to get them subconsciously starting to think about portion control and will help avoid any sick tummies!
- Next steps: decide as a family what works best for you, whether it’s donating some of the candy to a local shelter or portioning out the candy throughout the week. It’s important to include your children in the conversation so that you are all on the same page.
- Try swapping the store-bought candy for some healthy homemade festive treats
Written in collaboration with Samantha Nesrallah, RD, MPH, Nutrition Volunteer