Diet-friendly tips and tricks for Halloween

Oct 16, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. ET

Spooky fact: The US Census Bureau estimates that a large portion of the 25 pounds of candy consumed annually by each American happens around Halloween. And while those sweets are definitely tasty to eat, they don't do much for your health. Before you dive into the candy bowl, here are some ideas to make this Halloween healthy while keeping it fun for the entire family.

Children Sorting Candy

Go for low-cal candy

Nothing beats biting into a chocolate bar (or two), but snacking on several of the snack-size candies can certainly pack on the pounds. So instead of reaching for the traditional treats this Halloween, go for low(er)-cal candy.

New this season: A bevy of 100-calorie options, like Hershey's Snacksters S'mores, Swedish Fish, and Sour Patch Kids. Then there are sugar-free snacks including Pumpkin Peeps and AirHeads, or you can opt for Kudos chocolate chip granola bars (for extra calcium) or Sunkist Fruit Gems (for extra vitamin C).

Fill 'em up

To stop your kiddos (and yourself!) from chowing down too many treats, fix a healthy meal or snack before costume parties and trick-or-treating.

Serve a spook-tacular meal with Bat Wings in Goblin Stew (baked Tortilla Chip shapes with a bowl of guacamole) or a Guacamole Goblin (recipe below).

Ghoulish Guacamole Goblin ... and other Messy Monsters

Recipe courtesy of Wholly Guacamole


  • Deli sliced meats and cheeses
  • Bagels and breads
  • All natural guacamole, found in your grocer's produce or deli fresh section (like Wholly Guacamole)


  • Olives
  • Baby carrots
  • Crunchy noodles
  • Pepper slices
  • Sunflower seeds


  1. Lay cheese and meat on cut bread or crackers.
  2. Spread guacamole to cover surface.
  3. Set out bowls of toppings and watch the transformation into monster faces. Try olive eyes and a carrot nose, crunchy noodle hair, pepper lips and sunflower seed teeth.

After dinner? Take a long walk to enjoy the fall weather and frightful decor hanging around your neighborhood. And when you go trick-or-treating with your kids, walk to the farthest house first and make your way back home to get in a little extra workout.

Stay away from sugary drinks

And while you're avoiding sugar overload, swap out super-sweet drinks like soda and fruit juices with low-fat chocolate milk. Each 8-ounce serving provides 300 milligrams of calcium – or 30 percent of the daily value for this vital bone-building nutrient.

Kids, especially, benefit from the calcium boost – research shows that children who drink fewer sugary sodas and fruit drinks and are more likely to be at a healthy weight compared to kids who drink little or no milk.

Ways to keep candy consumption under control

Want even more ways to stay healthy this Halloween? Here are a few from The National Confectioners Association:

1. Sort and save. Allow your kids to enjoy some of their Halloween bounty. Then work with them to portion out two or three treats in small bags. Create a week's-worth of bags to accompany nutritious school lunches or to serve as after-school snacks.

2. Mix things up. To give candy a healthy punch, consider making your own trail mix. Combine raisins, peanuts and even cereal with your child's favorite candy or chocolate treats.

3. Practical pairings and portion control. Try pairing caramels with an apple or a snack-sized candy bar with a small banana.

4. Make it or break it. Most candies now come in snack-size servings. For the ones that don't, break them into sections and store them separately to make your own miniature-sized treats!

More diet-friendly tricks to have a Healthy Halloween

Low-carb Halloween candy treats and recipes
Diet-friendly alternatives for seasonal indulgences
Guilt-free Halloween treats for your family