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Healthy Halloween Treats

Updated on August 18, 2014

Enjoy Halloween, Stay Healthy & Survive the Candy Monsters

It is possible to enjoy Halloween, stay healthy and still survive the start of Candy Season.* To do so it takes a bit of thought, planning and perhaps developing new traditions for how one typical spends Halloween.

With daughters who want to have all of the Halloween Candy and their mother (who teaches nutrition) not wanting to gain any Holiday weight, for the last several years I have taken a healthier approach to Halloween.

We are still having fun, but I am focusing on healthier foods, healthier choices and enjoying the fewer candies and sweets that we do eat.

This lens offers tip and suggestions for surviving all of the Halloween candy, one night that can become a parent's nutritional nightmare. As a parent who also teaches nutrition, one can only imagine what kind of nightmare Halloween poses for me.

* Candy Seasons starts in October with Halloween and runs through March or April with Easter. During this time there is Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine's Day as well, all times for sweets and treats.

Image Source: Ella Marie The Pumpkin Parade. Royalty Free Use.

Healthy Halloween?

You really can have a Healthy or a Healthier Halloween.

1. Limit Candy and Sweets.

2. Focus on making healthy food fun, spooky food.

3. Develop a new tradition.

With Halloween Treats its Everything in Moderation

Vote on Passing out Halloween Treats

What do you think about all of the Halloween Candy?

Scary Candy Corn

Image from Microsoft Clipart

A Time for Mixed Health Messages

Halloween sends a very mixed message to children. Parents spend much of their time trying to get their children to eat healthy foods, but on the rules change.

On Halloween children are encouraged to Trick or Treat for candy, while grown-ups pass out Halloween Treats (and might even be seen to indulging in holiday sweets).

There are ways that parents can help to set a less confusing example. The key is to encourage children to eat Halloween treats that fall in the healthier end of the spectrum, while showing them how to savor their sweets in moderation.

Tips for Dealing with Halloween Candy Overload

The American Dietetics Association in their Book, "The American Dietetic Association Guide to Healthy Eating for Kids: How Your Children Can Eat Smart from Five to Twelve" from the American Dietetics Association offers the following tips for helping parents cope with the Halloween Candy Overload and tame your little candy-loving monsters.

  1. Set trick-of-treating curfews. Limit the number of hours your child is out trick-or-treating to help cut down on the amount of candy your child collects.
  2. Serve lunch or dinner before your child goes out, since this will help prevent her from gorging on candy when she gets home.
  3. Negotiate how long the candy will remain in the house. Decide, for instance, that all candy is thrown out after one week. Once the novelty of eating the candy wears off, it often loses its appeal.
  4. Keep candy out of sight (and out of mind). Store the candy in out-of-reach places like high cupboards of the freezer. Changes are your child (and maybe even you) will forget about it.
  5. Get kids moving. Make sure your child gets a little extra physical activity such as riding a bike or jumping rope to help compensate for all those Halloween Treats.
  6. Stack the 'food' deck. Since you already know that your child will have access to several high-fat, sugary treats during the year-end holidays, plan to serve at least one nutritious holiday dish.
  7. If you are eating elsewhere, offer to bring the dish along; or better yet, let your child help you decide what to prepare, and let him help you make it.

How Your Children Can Eat Smart from Five to Twelve in the Amazon Spotlight

The American Dietetic Association Guide to Healthy Eating for Kids: How Your Children Can Eat Smart from Five to Twelve
The American Dietetic Association Guide to Healthy Eating for Kids: How Your Children Can Eat Smart from Five to Twelve

The American Dietetic Association Guide to Healthy Eating for Kids is filled with practical skills for parents to make sure your kids are eating right even when they're not under your roof.

The book offers delicious, child-friendly irresistible recipes. This reference is a great resource filled with the nutrition knowledge you need to teach your child how to eat smart-now and for the rest of his or her life.


Interesting Finding...

A large body of research shows that

if a parent restricts a food,

children just want it more.

Healthy Halloween Tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to help ensure that children have a safe holiday.

  1. A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  2. Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  3. Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  4. Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.

Caramel Apples

A typical Halloween Treat - Caramel Apples covered in peanuts.

Image of Candy Apples by Pam Roth.

Healthy Halloween Treats - Food Items

With a bit of thought and preplanning you can find creative, but healthy Halloween options and help the children in your neighborhood have a healthier Halloween with fewer empty sugar calories.

  1. Small bags of pretzels
  2. Mini-bags of microwave popcorn
  3. 100% Fruit-Roll Ups or Fruit leather
  4. Mini granola bars
  5. Boxes of raisins
  6. 100% Fruit juices
  7. Small packages of nuts or sunflower seeds
  8. Individually wrapped beef jerky or Slim Jims
  9. Snack-size graham crackers, animal crackers or goldfish
  10. Mini dark-chocolate bars with nuts
  11. 100 Calorie Packs

    Portion controlled packages it helps to keep kids from going hog wild.

  12. Packages of Cheese and Crackers or Peanut Butter and Crackers
  13. Pre-packaged apple slices or carrots sticks

Make sure kids have a healthy meal before Trick or Treating.

You don't want

the unhealthy treats to

crowd out the healthy food.

Spiky Halloween Fruit

Image Source: G & A Scholiers. Autumn Fruit. Royalty Free Use.

Healthy Halloween Treats - Non Food Items

Other options for Halloween are to pass out Non Food Items. These are great ways to help the children in your neighborhood have a healthier Halloween.

  1. Temporary Tattoos
  2. Plastic skeletons
  3. Mini Cans of Playdoh
  4. Stickers
  5. Pencils or Pens
  6. Halloween jewelry like spider or bug rings
  7. Coloring books and crayons
  8. Plastic whistles
  9. Sugar-free chewing Gum

    Ideally approved by the American Dental Association.

  10. Other Halloween trinkets or items (Hair scrunchies or hair rubber bands)
  11. Brightly-colored toothbrushes
  12. Colored, flavored or animal disposable dental flossers
  13. Halloween Plastic Cups

    I like to use plastic cups for the class parties that the kids can take home. If you do this, remember to put names on the cups.

Health Halloween Treat Ideas

Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe

Simple Steps for Every Holiday: An Easy Plan for More Joyful, Less Stressful Celebrations All Year Long has a great Halloween Recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes.

These pumpkin pancakes are a wonderful treat to enjoy on a Halloween Morning.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 large egg yoke

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1. Mix all ingredients together.

2. Spray cooking spray in a nonstick skillet

3. Heat over medium heat.

4. Spoon in 1/3 batter for each pancake

5. Turn pancakes when the tops are covered with bubbles and the edges are just turning brown.

Yields 4 - 5 pancakes.

Serve with Berries, Bananas or 100% Fruit Jam.

Image Source: Ivo Ruijters. Pancakes. Royalty Free Use.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Remove pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin, wipe them off with a paper towel, spread them onto a paper bag and let them dry overnight.

Place pumpkin seeds in a single layer onto a cookie sheet and light roast them at 160-170ºF for 15-20 minutes.

Roasting them for a short time at a low temperature helps preserve healthy oils.

Alliance for a Healthier Generation. October 2008. Pumpkin Seeds. The Kicker.

Image Source: Michael Stocks. Pumpkin Seeds. Royalty Free Use.

How About a Nice Red Apple?

Image of Poison Apple by Bill Davenport.

Chopped Apples with Caramel Dip

Halloween is the time for Caramel apples. I've been trying to find a way to let us have the experience and taste of a caramel apple without all of calories and the sticky caramel (which may stick in the teeth).

This Caramel Dip is served with chopped apples. It is my healthier alternative to Caramel Apples.

Instead of putting the caramel on the apples, you create a dip mixed with yogurt and end up using less caramel and getting a good source of Calcium in the process.

Caramel Dip (Crud)

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract, no alcohol

2 tablespoons light caramel apple dip

Combine ingredients together.

Serve with chopped apples

If you want it sweeter, substitute Vanilla yogurt for the plain and vanilla extract.

Makes four 1/3 cup servings (73 gms).

Nutrition Facts (only for the dip): Calories 66; Calories from Fat 113; Total Fat 1 gm; Saturated Fat 1 gm; Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 62 gm; Carbohydrate 11 gm; Dietary Fiber 0 gm; Sugars 8 gm, Protein 3 gm and Calcium 12%.

Image Source: Piotr Bizior. Green+Red apple. Royalty Free Use.

Apple Drizzled in Caramel

This easy variation of Caramel and apples uses cored apple cut into pieces and then stirred into a caramel syrup.

An big advantage is that you can make this recipe with very little candy. You get your caramel taste without as many calories

2 1/2 caramel candies, cut small pieces

1/2 tbsp dark or light corn syrup

1 large tart apple, cored, and cut into bite-sized pieces

Recipe Instructions:

In a 1-cup measure or similar microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and corn syrup. Microwave on high power for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave for 15 additional seconds, or until the caramels are completely melted.

Stir well, and mix in the apple pieces, stirring to coat them with syrup. Cool slightly. Divide into two servings. Eat with a fork.

This recipe yields 2 servings. Serving size: 1/2 apple.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 120; Calories from Fat 11; Total Fat 1g; Saturated Fat 1g; Cholesterol 1mg; Sodium 35mg; Carbohydrate 28g; Dietary Fiber 3g; Sugars 22g; Protein 1g.

Source: American Dietetics Association.

Image Source: Jem Stone. Cutting Up Apples. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.

Serve a Basket of Apples

A Basket of Apples can do double duty. First works as a great decoration and then as source for a Healthy Halloween Treat.

You might even use them for an old fashioned game of bobbing for apples.

Image Source: Andrew Dubock. Basket of Apples. Royalty Free Use.

Hot Apple Cider

Hot Apple Cider

1 gallon apple cider

4 cinnamon sticks

16 cloves

Can also add:

1 orange sliced

Lemon rinds from one lemon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Simmer apple cider with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange slices and lemon rinds.

1. Mix ingredients together.

2. Simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Serve each cup with a cinnamon stick.

(If desired strain orange slices, lemon rinds and cloves from cider before serving.)

For an extra Halloween effect serve from a black cauldron.

A bonus for mulling apple cider. The House will smell great.

Halloween Fruit Plates with Guests

Composite image by Kirsti A. Dyer
Composite image by Kirsti A. Dyer

Healthy fruit plates filled with mangos, tangerines, bananas and apples can seem more like Halloween simply by scattering a few plastic spiders, skeletons, plastic eyeballs or other bugs.

Image created from Fruit Plates by Lars Brinkman and Tarantua by Coolza.

Hedgehog Spikes

Barbed Porcupines or Hedgehog Spikes are another simple snack.

Only two ingredients.

1 block of Cheese cut into 1 inch cubes

1 bag Stick pretzels

1. Break stick pretzels into smaller pieces.

2. Arrange pretzels spikes around cheese cube.

3. Place spiked cheese cubes on a tray.

Image Source: Wojtek Wozniak. Hedgehog 2. Royalty Free Use.

Goblin Food

Goblin Food is a mixture of Fruit, Nuts and Seeds. You can mix this up and put into small bags as a healthy treat option for Halloween Classrooms Parties.

1 Large container of Black Raisins (15 ounces)

1 Bag of Golden Raisins

1 Bag of Craisins, (Dried Cranberries)

1 Jar of Peanuts

1 Bag of Natural Almonds

1 Bag of Roasted Soy Nuts

1 Bag of Natural Sunflower Seeds


1 Bag of Dried Apricots cut into small pieces

1 Bag of Pumpkin Seeds or Pepitas

1 Bag of Mini Chocolate Chips (Semi-Sweet)

1. Mix all of ingredients in a very large bowl.

2. Measure into individual bags, cups or other containers.

Image Source: Chris Chidsey. Fruit 'n' Nuts. Royalty Free Use.

Dragon's Breath (Popcorn)

The combination of popcorn seasoned with paprika and a bit of pepper makes for a spicy combination.

Dragon's Breath

1 package popping corn

1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

1/4 cup butter (omit for fewer calories)




1. Pop popping corn.

2. Pour into large mixing bowl

3. Mix melted butter with lemon juice.

4. Pour Butter-lemon juice over popcorn, stirring constantly to mix well.

5. Shake on salt, paprika and a bit of pepper.

6. Stir popcorn until paprika and pepper coat the popcorn.

Image Source: Supreet Vaid. Popcorn 1. Royalty Free Use.

Witches Fingers

Witches Fingers is an easy way to serve something as simple as green beans.

You can cook them with almonds or sesame seeds and with baby carrots.

Don't want to spend time washing beans? Start with a package of frozen green beans.

Make them even more eerie by drizzling on some spaghetti sauce for 'blood'

Image Source: Peter Bartelt. Green Beans. Royalty Free Use.

Frankstein or Goblin Brains

Frankenstein or Goblin brains can be either of two vegetables, both of which look a bit like the human brain.

For White Brains, use Cauliflower.

For Green Brains, use Broccoli.

To enhance the "brain" effect of the food, steam the vegetables whole rather than chopping into pieces.

If possible, serve the broccoli on a stem, so it looks like the brain on a brainstem.

Image Sources: Mike Fitzpatrick. Cauliflower. Royalty Free Use.

Robert Owen-Wahl. Healthy green broccoli vegetables. Royalty Free Use.

Worms in Served in Fresh Blood - Spaghetti

Sometimes it's all in the presentation.

Prepare your favorite mixed grain or whole wheat pasta.

Arrange Pasta on a Black Plate.

Cover in Red Spaghetti Sauce.

Serve your "Worms in fresh blood."

For younger children, you may just want to tell them its 'worms.'

For another Halloween pasta option, see the Black Pasta Dish on the Spooky Halloween Meal Lens.

Image Source: Spaghetti. Royalty Free Use.

Wormy Apple Croissants and Other Halloween Recipes

Wormy Apple Croissants and Other Halloween Recipes (Fun Foods for Cool Cooks)
Wormy Apple Croissants and Other Halloween Recipes (Fun Foods for Cool Cooks)

A collection of fun recipes to make with children at Halloween.

You can start with the Wormy Apple Croissants.


Tips and Suggestions for Surviving Halloween

The Do-Gooder's Diet: A Novel Approach to Permanent Weight Loss (And How to Make the World a Better Place) offers some helpful suggestions for those who can't, or don't want to opt out of Halloween.

  1. Buy the treats at the last possible moment. Don't keep the little candy bars or mini packages of treats in the house days in advance.
  2. Buy candies and goodies that you don't like.
  3. Buy only the amount of stuff you'll realistically need. Err on the side of too little and don't answer the door if you run out early. (You'll just disappoint the older teenagers.)
  4. Have your non-dieting spouse or children dole out the treats while you busy yourself with a project you've been putting off.
  5. If you're the one on door duty, keep milk, water, or diet soda nearby to sip on.
  6. Always throw away any leftover treats immediately. Put them out in the trash or down the garbage chute.
  7. When your children bring home their treats, divide them into daily portions, package them in baggies, dole one out every day until, mercifully, they're gone from the premises.
  8. Store candy so they're not easy to reach.
  9. If you believe that nothing good ever comes of giving children all of that sugar and fat and salt, give trick or treaters little toys or coins for UNICEF.
  10. Throw a Halloween Party at your house and serve your own delicious and nutritious home made snacks.

The Do-Gooder's Diet: A Novel Approach to Permanent Weight Loss in the Amazon Spotlight

The Do-Gooder's Diet: A Novel Approach to Permanent Weight Loss (And How to Make the World a Better Place)
The Do-Gooder's Diet: A Novel Approach to Permanent Weight Loss (And How to Make the World a Better Place)

With humor, wisdom, and warmth, The Do-Gooder’s Diet provides information to readers lose weight permanently and make the world a better place, one small step at a time.

What a combination.


Haunted Halloween Fruit

Untitled Image by Janet Goulden.

Have Halloween Candy

with a meal,

brush after you eat

and make sure it's not squirreled away in a child's room.

Dr. Kaneta Lott

Pediatric Dentist

Halloween Treat for the Teeth

Image from Microsoft Clipart

Tips for Keeping Teeth Safe at Halloween

The American Dental Association reminds parents that good dental health depends on more than just diet. It also helps to understand how cavities form.

About 90 percent of all foods contain sugars or starches that enable bacteria in dental plaque to produce acids.

This attack by bacterial acid, lasting 20 minutes or more, can lead to a loss of tooth mineral and, eventually, to cavities.

  1. A child who licks a piece of hard candy every few minutes or sips a sugary drink is more susceptible to tooth decay because long-lasting snacks create an acid attack on teeth the entire time they are in the mouth.
  2. Allow children to indulge in Halloween candy at mealtime instead of as a snack.
  3. A new caution on sour candies. Look for the following ingredients on the label and avoid them: citric, lactic, malic, tartaric, fumaric, adipic or ascorbic.
  4. If the child chooses to consume sour candies, make sure that he or she rinses their mouth with water immediately afterward to reduce the damaging effects from the acids.
  5. Another option with Halloween candy is to allow snacking immediately after trick-or-treating, then throw out the remainder.
  6. Remember that depriving your child of Halloween treats will only make him or her want them more.
  7. Snacks should not be served more than three or four times a day and should contribute to the overall nutrition and health of the child.
  8. Healthy snack choices include cheese, yogurt, vegetables, peanut butter and chocolate milk.
  9. Most of all, practice good oral hygiene by making sure your child brushes and flosses every day, uses fluoride toothpaste and visits the dentist regularly.

Problem with Treats

Treats like sticky taffy and gummy bears are less likely to be washed away by saliva.

Long-lasting lollipops and hard candies keep sugar and preservatives in a child's mouth, increasing the risk for cavities.

Enter at Your Own Risk

Image Source: Modified Microsoft Image.

It's Candy or Nothing

The real reason we leave the house on Halloween night:

Turn out your porch light. Unless you want to be the most hated house on the block, do NOT give out healthy treats on Halloween.

You will be egged, TP'd and shunned.

Healthful food has no business on Halloween night, nor do toothbrushes or pennies.

It's candy or nothing baby!

Lela D.

Wellsphere Post

Benefiting Save the Children

The lens benefits Save the Children, the leading independent organization creating lasting change in the lives of children in need in the United States and around the world.

What do you think about making Halloween treats healthier?

Comment on Healthy Halloween Treats

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • HealthfulMD profile imageAUTHOR

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      @anonymous: Glad to hear that the lens is having health benefits.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Awesome topic and wonderful ideas! This lens got me in the mood to eat an apple :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for these great alternatives. I know my daughter appreciates healthy treats for her children because all that candy really affects their behavior.

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 

      6 years ago

      Great ideas for healthy Halloween treats!

    • pupster132 lm profile image

      pupster132 lm 

      7 years ago

      Great Ideas!

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 

      7 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      I think it's SO important. I just wrote about it too. I featured your lens there. Thank you for all the terrific links. I look forward to visiting here again.

    • debnet profile image


      7 years ago from England

      Excellent ideas! Blessed by a Squid Angel ;)

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      There are some lovely ideas here - I am going to send my daughter the web address for her family and lensroll it to some of my halloween lenses

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Good ideas for healthy Halloween treats! Thank you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A lot less children sick from eating too much sugar by, instead, eating foods such as these healthy Halloween treats.

    • ElizaRayner profile image

      Eliza Rayner 

      9 years ago from Boulder, Colorado

      great lens, very detailed. I have a 3 year old and have totally restricted sugar and candy so far...As the "candy season" approaches, i am looking for ideas and suggestions to allow him to participate without all the junk. All of your healthy food alternatives are great. I also especially like the idea of giving are recieving totally nonfood items for halloween like you mention, stickers, pencils etc. I would not recommend surar free candies and gums as splenda and apsatame are as harmful to the health as sugar is IIve got a lens on the dangers of splenda).

    • hlkljgk profile image


      10 years ago from Western Mass

      terrific lens. i have featured it on mine,

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Gee 

      10 years ago

      Lots of information. Am lensrolling you to my The Great(est)(Carved)Pumpkin Halloween lens!


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