Healthy Halloween Candy: Take Two

September 30, 2010   28 Comments

Last weeks post on Healthy Halloween Candy got mixed reviews. I decided to take out an insurance policy in case someone blamed ME for their house getting toilet papered.

Healthy Halloween Candy: Take Two

My favorite comment came from Jennifer on Facebook:

I think the prunes would be a waste on most kids, it would go right in the trash. Halloween is for fun and candy. Though bags of pretzels and goldfish or even all natural and organic fruit snacks would go over far better.

Right! Prunes just aren't fun.

And, I got told that Halloween is just once a year and lighten up a bit. And I hear you, BUT, candy seems to be just everywhere for every season. Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Easter, my children get candy from all different sources.

For example, on July 4th my town had a parade where police officers thew CANDY to the crowd. Then, I had to make sure my kids didn't get run over as they dashed out to get all the candy their little paws could hold.

So, I went back to the drawing board and came up with two candy treats that are both fun and not SO bad for kids.

My first choice is "Special Dark" Chocolate Hershey's Kisses. These little things have A LOT of flavor in a small package. They feature 180 mg of antioxidants per serving, and for 9 pieces it is about 180 calories. If you give out a few for each child, they get something fun, yummy, and not too bad on the waistline.

My second choice, I purchased from Target for $2.


You get 80 mini Tootsie Pops! They are about 17 calories each, which is pretty amazing for candy. And, yes, they are made of sugar, artificial flavors, and colors. I just like that they are really small.

Other great ideas from readers included going to Michael's craft store and getting glow bracelets (15 for a $1), Clif Twisted Fruit, and real fruit juice boxes.

Are their any other great ideas lurking out there for fun, reasonable, Halloween treats? Please share!

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 28 )

I think those are great ideas! Tootsie Roll Pops were one of my favourites as a kid. Plain old lollipops are always good; there's always lots of sugar-free lollipop options around Halloween. Halloween sized bubble gum is another option. Sure it's not exactly nutritious, but I think limiting the calories/sugar is probably the more successful road to take, rather than trying to add vitamins and whatnot.

Though really, I think I would worry less about what Halloween candy to give, and put more focus on teaching kids not to pig out on candy when they receive it, you know? Individual Halloween-sized candies really aren't that bad.. it's just bad when you eat a bunch of them. The only thing is the pure quantity of candy kids get, but I think they just need to learn some moderation, or even being generous with the candy, and giving it to friends or to school and sharing what they have.

OK.. so not cheap, but along the lines of your dark chocolate- you can get 150 mini organic, fairly traded dark chocolate bars from Equal Exchange for $28 + $3 shipping and handling. They have a 55% cocoa content, so lots of antioxidants, and you're voting with your wallet to give candy that was produced with all fair trade practices (i.e. no kids were used in the production- a lot of chocolate is produced with child labor).…

One year I ran out of candy and gave out bags of instant oatmeal. It occurred to me afterwards it wasn't a bad idea, especially if it's the flavored variety, and the parents might appreciate something a little different and marginally nutritious in spite of all the sweeteners and artificial flavoring.

How about small baggies of candy corn? I believe (don't quote me) that 12 pieces are only 150 or 120 calories. That may not seem like a lot to giveaway, however, but it's another option! :)

After making my 6yo go through baby root canal due to a broken tooth from chewy candies like starbursts and skittles and the like my dentist told my son "only chocolate" for my son (a rule which I've adopted for my other children). A little swish of any warm drink and all traces of bad stuff for the teeth are gone. When people give my kids "forbidden" candy they bring it to me and we swap for chocolate :-)

Thanks for this post and I took my own poll on my facebook page about giving non-sugar treats for Halloween. I received some great responses. Ordering mini-flashlights (from Oriental Trading), glow in the dark necklaces/bracelets, etc. were popular with many. Last night, I picked up the mini Play-Doh containers and a whole pack of Disney card games (old maid, snap, concentration, etc.). I'll hand out Play-doh and card games to the younger ones, and quarters to the older kids. No toilet papering at my house (and no dental decay)!

These Hershey dark chocolate kisses are a year-round staple in my pantry as a treat. The kids love them (not too bitter), and I find that 2 or 3 will quell my chocolate cravings.

Candy everywhere?

I was at my local CVS pharmacy (there are 3 within a mile of each other) the other day (mid-August) and could not determine if I entered a candy store or a drug store.

I know folks who are into a healthy lifestyle shouldn't ruin it for people, but here goes ... when the Girl Scouts bang on my door to sell me cookies, they are selling me cookies with trans fats in them!

Thanks girls, I'll give you the donation, but keep the cookies. I'm not looking to ingest artery-clogging foods.

Happy Halloween,

Ken Leebow

P.S. Now you know why there are 3 CVS stores within a mile of each other. We're eating crap all day long.

My kids have also struggled with cavities and there are many candies that are forbidden. We also live in a neighborhood with 130 homes so we get a ton of candy. After culling the forbidden stuff, we decide on a fair amount to keep (like 30 pieces) and they choose which 30. We then donate the rest to the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan who give them out there (as good will? Weapons? :) )

I think donating the EXTRA candy to soldiers is a wonderful idea. Can you imagine how much fun it is to receive a box of Halloween candy from little kids (with some hand drawn photos for the box). I found this website - but there are others -

Ever since the egging and TP Incident in the Neighborhood we give out full size candy bars. I know its indulgent but I want to keep those kids happy and for those special friends I make home made double dipped Carmel apples with Chocolate and a toppping Every year it is different. We have done MM's, Oreo's and a variety of other candies on my apples.

One of my favorite autumn snacks is a mixture of candy corn and dry roasted peanuts...the ideal bite is 2 to 3 peanuts to 1 piece of candy corn...the resulting flavor is something akin to a Payday candy bar! You can give small baggies of this colorful, tasty treat as an alternative to plain ol candy corn!

I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree with the idea of handing out instant oatmeal to all these pint-size princesses of small-fry superheroes. Oatmeal, flavored or not, isn't candy or a "fun" snack. It's just regular food, and I don't think little "Caitlin" or "Owen" is going to be happy to receive regular food in his or her little plastic jack o'lantern. It seems like a good idea in theory, but as far as a kid is concerned, that's akin to tossing a can of peas or a handful of bouillon cubes into his or her pumpkin-shaped container.

Sue, great idea. More non-edible goodies include flavored lip glosses (or "lip pomades, to be fancy) such as Avon, Bonne Bell, or Nivea Kiss of Flavor, crayons, barrettes and ponytail fasteners, markers, toy dinosaurs, toy soldiers, yo-yos, novelty erasers, and stickers

Had to fix a typo:

I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree with the idea of handing out instant oatmeal to all these pint-size princesses or small-fry superheroes. Oatmeal, flavored or not, isn't candy or a "fun" snack. It's just regular food, and I don't think little "Caitlin" or "Owen" is going to be happy to receive regular food in his or her little plastic jack o'lantern. It seems like a good idea in theory, but as far as a kid is concerned, that's akin to tossing a can of peas or a handful of bouillon cubes into his or her pumpkin-shaped container.

Yes, donate that candy! Some friends of mine still get together and send packages EVERY MONTH to about 100 soldiers overseas. If any of you want to find out how to donate your extra candy, visit and scroll down to "care packages" to find out more.

It's great to read all the ideas, and, even more, to find a like-minded community that shares so many of my concerns and worries. I, too, am amazed that every holiday now includes candy (Valentine's Day being the most recent with the cards now having candy attached). I am also amazed by all the sugar that comes from b-day celebrations. Our dentist said that she now mostly focuses on getting kids to brush their teeth (or simply swirl with water if brushing isn't possible), so part of my response to all this is to be vigilant about teeth care. (Love, love, love the children's sonicare toothbrush; makes doing two minutes easy.) A friend of mine told me about the Candy Fairy, who shows up at their house shortly after Halloween and after her kids have enjoyed some of their candy. The kids can put their candy out, and the magical Candy Fairy takes it away and leaves them with Lego or a book or something they will like. (One year our Candy Fairy brought toothbrushes and some other things, too!)

I get so bothered when people act like WE don't have a choice buy to make the kids happy with CANDY?? Come on, my kids are not going to die if they get non-candy items for Halloween! Are you kiddin me?? I don't eat candy so it's never in our home and I'm NOT gonna fill other folks kids up with candy! I'm not going to give in to the foollish notion that it's JUST one holiday so let me bend the rules. HFCS and dye are in SO many things (known and unknown) so how can we just pretend like it's ok to give the control up as parents for the sake of one holiday?? No, I don't give my kids candy period and they never ask for it because it's not a norm or something they miss! I know when they are with their grandparents they might give them a little candy or some non-organice fruit snack or yogurt that's full of dye or sugars so I let that slide and those occurances are very rare anyway! I never give out candy and I've never had a problem. I do apples, oranges etc and tell the kids if they don't want it that's ok but I'm sorry it's all I have with a smile. Again, never had a problem. I think we have to do better as a people to give our children a fighting chance at a healthy life. If we give them bad habits or give into their tantrums, what do they need us for?? I think we should stop being pushovers and give tough love!


I understand where you're coming from, but you can also buy the cookies and bring them over to your neighbors or offer them when company comes over. After all, adults are adults, and if other adults that you meet or socialize with choose to eat artery-clogging food, it's their right and their business :-)

I loved reading the comments as much as the post :-) I gotta say, lol at the instant oatmeal - I would totally want to do it, but probably wouldn't. I don't mind my kids getting candy - in fact, they can go crazy and enjoy the experience of collecting it, because they aren't going to eat most of it. Last year I just kept sneaking out handfuls so they wouldn't realize until they were left with little or nothing (then they knew of course). But I LOVE the idea of donating the candy to soldiers.

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