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Halloween: Let Them Eat Candy—But How Much?

Halloween: A Candy Celebration

Halloween ranks high as far as favorite holidays for children go. Not only do children get to put on fun costumes, but they also get to collect lots of candy.

As fun as Halloween can be for children, it can be a challenge for parents. As a parent, it can be difficult to keep the holiday fun, while making sure that your child does not overindulge in candy. Most experts agree that the first step is setting guidelines and expectations in advance of the special night.

A Candy Plan

After trick-or-treating, have your children spread their candy on a table or the floor. You can try one of these 4 approaches:

Or, develop a system that works well in your home. Whichever approach you choose, make sure you let your child know what the plan is before the big night. And if it works well, stick with it every year.

Some Additional Tips

Halloween does not have to scare off good nutrition habits. It just takes a little bit of planning and some dedication on your part. To help Halloween be a more healthful time, follow these tips:

One additional candy tip: Try not to reward your child's good behavior with candy or punish bad behavior by withholding candy. Use non-candy things, like a trip to the park or new crayons, to acknowledge good behavior.


Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics


Dietitians of Canada

Health Canada


Halloween safety tips. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: Updated October 7, 2016. Accessed March 29, 2017.

Healthy Halloween habits: Tips from parents. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: Updated November 2015. Accessed March 29, 2017.

Last reviewed March 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP  Last Updated: 3/16/2015