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Keeping count on the candy corns and other sweet treats on Halloween

October 29, 2015
Halloween Candy

You can still have your sweet treats, and eat them, too, this Halloween season. But, as with all foods, everything in moderation.

Dr. Rushika Conroy, a pediatric endocrinologist at Baystate Children’s Hospital, who treats kids with diabetes – many of whom are overweight and have type 2 diabetes – issues a challenge to families during the Halloween season.

“I suggest that they make a contest out of their Halloween candy by seeing how long they can make it last. I tell them to aim for Christmas. One small candy a day or every other day is certainly better than eating the whole bag in three days,” said Dr. Conroy.

But, can you really ever have a sugar-free Halloween?

“Probably not, when it’s truly all about the treats. But there are other ways, too, that kids can still have fun with more than just candy and sugar,” said Nancy Anderson RD, a pediatric clinical dietitian at Baystate Children’s Hospital.

Anderson, along with the Massachusetts Dietetic Association, offers the following tips on how to successfully get through Halloween, the most sugar-coated holiday of the year, in an epidemic of overweight kids and diabetes:

• Hand out useful treats, such as fake tattoos, stickers, or plastic spider rings, rather than candy.

• After trick or treating, go through your child’s candy and allow them to keep only their favorite pieces in order to pare down their stash, and save on calories, fat, and sugar.

• Try other fun Halloween activities such as carving pumpkins and roasting the seeds for fiber and minerals, bobbing for apples, going for a hayride, or visiting a haunted house or other holiday attractions.

“Even if you or your child turns into a sugar goblin on Halloween, remember that healthy eating habits are determined by the food choices you make day after day, and one night of poor eating will not undermine an otherwise healthy diet,” said Anderson, who along with other dietitians at Baystate not only treat patients but provide educational information to the public about good nutrition.

And, Dr. Conroy agrees.

“Having fun by turning into a sugar goblin for a day is not a license to abandon your return to healthy eating,” she said.

For more information on Baystate Children’s Hospital, visit