Those Scary Halloween Treats

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I noticed that Halloween candy displays have been up since early September and we still have another 3 weeks to go before the trick or treating begins.

Do you think buying candy 2 months before Halloween is a good idea? Be honest, does it stay in the bag, unopened and ready to give out or do you find the bag empty after a few days?

Research from Brian Wansink of Cornell University shows that the easier food is to obtain or if it is anywhere in sight, the more likely we are to eat it. So the evidence is  that the earlier you purchase the candy, the more likely you will be to need to purchase it again before Halloween. (Stores and candy companies know this!) If you don’t eat it, someone else in the house may find it. That’s certainly what I heard from my clients around this time of year.

A treat once in a while is fine – that’s why it’s called a treat. But we have so many opportunities to have “treats” – sugary drinks, snacks from the vending machine, office doughnuts and more – that they aren’t treats, they’re a diet staple. The extra sugar and added fat means more calories which can lead to weight gain, overweight and obesity. And AICR’s expert report found that excess body increases risk for several cancers. That’s scary.

So this year, if you participate in giving out candy to little witches, princesses, superheroes or ghosts, think about how much you’ll need and whether you’ll be tempted to eat candy that isn’t part of your eating plan if it’s in your house for very many days.

Or, try something different. Trick or Treaters will get a lot of candy – why not be creative and think of other treats that are fun, colorful and don’t involve loads of sugar and fat. Need ideas? Check out our eNews video with dietitians sharing what they give out at Halloween.

And tell us what you plan to give out at Halloween here or on Facebook.


    Author: Alice RD

    Alice G. Bender, MS, RDN, is the Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She helps put the science of cancer prevention by providing tips and tools to choose nutritious and delicious foods. Alice has guided thousands of individuals to healthier lives through diet changes and choices.

    One thought on “Those Scary Halloween Treats”

    1. I always buy lots of discounted items and toys right after Halloween for the following year, up to 90% off. I also check out the Dollar Corner @ Target and other stores for un-Halloween toys and items throughout the year that are heavily discounted. That way I don’t feel I need to buy candy to give out!!

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