Controlling Halloween Candy Consumption

Halloween is a major celebration if you’re a kid. You get to dress up in costume and go out in public, roaming the neighborhood or local shopping center asking for treats. Sometimes it’s a little scary, but the brave kid knows the house with all the spooky decorations is also likely to be the one with the best candy.

From an adult perspective, Halloween’s a little nerve-wracking. Complete strangers are handing your child candy, and excited kids are running close to roads in the dark. And when all that’s done, your child comes home planning on some major candy consumption. How do you avoid the sugar rush (and crash) that so often follows a night of trick-or-treating?

Eat a Good Meal

Before your ghosts, goblins, and fairy princesses go out trick-or-treating, make sure they eat a hearty meal. A full stomach goes a long way towards limiting candy consumption. Make one of the family’s favorite meals, to be sure everyone goes out the door with a full tummy.

Limit Bag Size

If kids had their way, they’d trick-or-treat with the biggest bags possible. Buy or make candy bags that look cool, but limit the amount of treats the child can collect. When the bag’s full, it’s time to go home.

Collect, Inspect, and Ration

Once home, all candy should be inspected before it’s eaten. While cases of tampering with Halloween candy are thankfully rare, you should still throw out any candy that seems suspect.

Once the candy’s been declared safe, let the kids have some—it’s Halloween after all. after they’ve had three or four pieces, put the rest away. You then have control over their Halloween candy consumption and can ration it out over time, allowing children to pick one or two pieces a day.

Offer Trades

Some families give kids the option to trade in their candy for small toys, coloring books, stickers, or books. The kids get to decide if they’d rather have the candy (rationed out of course) or the more tangible reward. Either way, let them have some of the candy on Halloween night.

Donate It

Another option is to suggest children donate their candy to homeless shelters, assisted living facilities, or food pantries. You can also donate Halloween candy to charities that send care packages to servicemen and women deployed overseas to give them a much appreciated taste of home.

Be a Role Model

Like everything else in life, remember your kids are watching you on Halloween. If you’re overindulging on candy, your actions encourage children to do the same, so stay strong as you hand out those delicious treats at the door!

It’s Only One Day

Despite all your precautions, children may still find ways to overeat on Halloween. If this happens, remind yourself it’s only one day out the year. If your family eats a healthy diet the rest of the year, a little excess on Halloween won’t do any lasting harm. Have fun trick-or-treating!

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