Encouraging moderation at Halloween

Girls in Halloween costumes eating candy

Halloween. The mere word conjures images of black cats and pumpkins, elaborate front porch decorations, and neighborhoods crawling with costumed kids. But above all others, one thing comes to mind on this hallowed holiday: candy. Whether it’s acquired through trick-or-treating or in communal office bowls, candy is everywhere during the days and weeks leading up to October 31, providing the perfect opportunity to talk about the role of confections in a healthy and happy diet.

Studies have shown that depriving yourself of treats can cause you to have an unhealthy relationship with food*, so don’t make candy a forbidden fruit during Halloween. Instead, teach your children, friends and family how to Treat Right in moderation.

During the next few days, talk to your kids about moderation, the meaning of the word, and how it translates into candy consumption. Agree on the number of pieces they can eat during/after trick-or-treating, and then the number of pieces they can eat each day after Halloween. Use our handy moderation guides to see what we recommend for daily and weekly treats.

On All Hallows’ Eve, be sure to eat nutritious meals with foods from all food groups so that you – and your little goblins and ghouls – aren’t starving on the terrifying trek through your neighborhood. Once you’re home, take a moment to go through the Halloween haul and separate candy that your little ones can donate to a charity like Operation Gratitude which collects candy for troops overseas.

Candy is one of life’s little pleasures, and it’s important to note its role in this special holiday. Be smart and safe and trick-or-treat yourself!

* Source: Polivy J et al. The Effect of Deprivation on Food Cravings and Eating Behavior in Restrained and Unrestrained Eaters. Int J Eat Disord. 2005;38:301-9