Nearly $3 billion will be spent on Halloween candy this year, with approximately 40 million kids in hot pursuit of the decadent goods.1 Halloween is one of the best-loved of all American holidays, but it also comes with some risk. Following are tips to make Halloween safe, fun, and maybe even a little more health-conscious.2

Before the Big Night

  • Make sure costumes are flame resistant and easy to see; consider adding reflective tape.
  • Use non-toxic makeup and test it ahead of time on a small area of skin. Try to avoid masks, as they can inhibit eyesight.
  • Consider using battery-powered votive candles or glow sticks to light jack-o-lanterns.
  • Make sure your home’s entry area is well lit and free of potential tripping hazards.
  • Discuss a plan with children in case they get lost or separated. Cell phones may come in handy.
  • When shopping for treats, consider that hard and sticky candy are worse for teeth than chocolate, which washes away more easily. Better yet, consider less sugary treats such as raisins and pretzels.

The Hallowed Eve

  • Encourage children to eat a healthy meal before they hit the road so they’re full before the candy starts to pile up.
  • Children should always travel with at least one adult, and carry flashlights with new batteries in them.
  • Restrain eager pets when trick-or-treaters are at the door.
  • Although tampering is rare, check candy packages before the kids dig in.
  • Never eat homemade treats made by strangers.

The Days that Follow

  • Encourage eating just one or two treats after meals only.
  • Have the kids select a few of their favorites and consider donating the rest.

Rationing is one way to manage sugar consumption after the big event. Another is to create your own tasty and healthy substitutes. Click here for a nutritious, nut-free treat to entice your kids.

Carol Swanson is a R.I.-based health and wellness writer.

She can be reached at

1Sources: National Confectioners Association and the U.S. Census Bureau

2 Sources: the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Links to sources: