For healthy, well-nourished kids and adults, eating candy is okay–in moderation. While our favorite Halloween trick-or-treats should not be an everyday part of the diet, Halloween time and holiday seasons do involve special sugary treats for most.

It is important to remember that it can be very difficult for children (and many grown-ups!) to understand the long-term health effects of simple sugar on appetite, dental hygiene, or disease development. I recommend parents to encourage children how to learn to enjoy sweets in moderation: Being too strict and limiting with treats, especially on Halloween (when candy is such a big part of the festivities) could encourage children to overindulge when parents are unaware, impart on children feelings of guilt or shame when eating sweets.

One way to counter the traditional the heavily “candied” Halloween night is to pass out pre-packaged, wholesome but enjoyable alternatives like animal crackers, pretzels, cracker or raisin snack packs, kids Cliff bars, or dried fruit or trail mixes. Get creative in the kitchen with painting clementines like pumpkins for a festive treat! Or, for a fun spooky supper idea, try these stuffed bell pepper jack-O-lanterns! For Halloween parties at home, try these healthy living tips and fun festive ideas from Kids Eat Right – including roasting pumpkin seeds and making homemade pumpkin smoothies!

Here’s to a Happy and Healthy Halloween for children and adults alike!

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