by Marion Nestle
Oct 31 2007

Happy Halloween (the silly season)!

As a nutritionist, I often get asked what to do about treats on Halloween. I’m not the only one, and see what the New York Times did with our responses today. If you can’t bear to give kids candy, how about a small toy? Otherwise, just enjoy!

  • Addi

    This evening I had a huge bowl of chocolates of all types. Instead of handing things out – I let kids trade anything in their bag for whatever was in my bowl. Hopefully I wasn’t adding too much to their caloric stash, and they all saw value in having chocolate instead of gumballs.

    I ended up with not one, but TWO popcorn balls at the end of the evening. YUM!

  • Kei

    What kind of killjoy can’t bear to give kids candy on Halloween??! It’s just one day out of the year, and as long as they’re not eating crap for the other 364 days, why ruin the fun?

  • Here in Australia we don’t celebrate Halloween. And there’s no trick or treating. So it’s really interesting to read the outbreak in nutrition advice, all based around one night.

    While child health, nutrition and obesity are problems, it strikes me that it’s not Halloween’s fault. As Kei says, it’s what happens the rest of the year.

  • I opted to give out candy but the kids already had A LOT of candy in their bags. If the candy eating were restricted to halloween, then fine, but there is so much candy given out that there is plenty available for months to come. I can’t make my own stuff because of safety concerns nowadays. I am still working through this issue although I have another year to think it out.

  • Sheree

    My husband is a dentist. When our kids were old enough to Trick-or-Treat, he came up with this suggestion: they can have the treats for about a week, almost unlimited. At the end of the week, I tell the kids it’s time to put it all in a bag to save for making gingerbread houses. Usually, I open all the packages, so it gets nice and stale and no one is tempted to eat it (including me!). Some of it makes it onto a gingerbread house around the holidays, and the rest gets tossed. The kids are happy because I didn’t just take their candy away, it was repurposed. My husband is happy because more damage is done by a piece of candy every day for months than a free-for-all for a few days. Every year, I’m surprised by how much is left over at the end of the week.