Child eating candy while trick or treating

Information on alternative options for Halloween beyond candy and some tips for moderating sugar during Halloween.

A lot of kids say that Halloween is their favourite holiday because of one thing: candy. But as a parent, it can be hard to manage when we know that we should be reducing how much sugar our kids are consuming. Reports show that children are consuming too much sugar: from sugary drinks to their favourite treats. And many health organizations like Heart & Stroke, Diabetes Canada and the World Health Organization recommend all of us reduce our added sugar intake. You might be thinking “I don’t add any sugar to my child’s food!” but most added sugar in our diet comes from processed food and sugary drinks, and it adds up quickly. So how can we reduce our kids’ sugar intake without taking the fun out of Halloween?

Halloween is a chance to teach kids moderation

Help your child manage their candy. When they come home from trick-or-treating, let your child sort their candy into ‘keep’ and ‘discard’ piles, and eat as much of it as they want. Then, have your child put the rest away and keep it for meal- and snack-times only. For example, they may choose to have a couple of pieces for dessert at mealtime. Offer a glass of milk of your choice with the candy to help to boost the nutrition of the meal or snack. A child will need your help if they find it difficult to limit their candy to mealtime or snack time.

Tips for reducing added sugar this Halloween

  • Keep neighbourhood kids healthy by giving out small amounts of candy. Don’t feel the pressure to outdo your neighbour with excessive candy bags. Kids don’t need a whole candy bag from each house.
  • Freeze some of the loot. Candy lasts a longer time in the freezer. Spread it out over the course of the year.

Tips for reducing added sugar any time of year

  • Buy fewer sugary items when grocery shopping. A simple swap is all you need—try swapping sugary treats for fruit. Not sure how to choose healthier options? Check out these helpful tips.
  • Serve healthy meals to your family most often. Aim for half your plate of veggies and fruits.

Final thoughts: Keep Halloween fun

Over-regulating sugar consumption or banning all candy around Halloween can take the fun out of the holiday. So remember: be a role model for moderation and maintain some structure, and your child will learn not to overindulge on this spooky holiday.


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