Easiest Upgrade: Peanut butter cups
A crowd-pleaser! No one will TP your yard if you dole out a de-junked version. We love The Double One Peanut Butter Cups by UNREAL. These babies have no artificial ingredients, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, or corn syrup.
- Lollipops: “They last longer than most candies, making kids think they’ve eaten more than they really have,” says King. A great over-indulge deterrent.
- Candy-covered nuts: “Nuts are a good source of healthy protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy unsaturated fats and omega-3s, making them a fantastic Halloween treat,” says Dr. Gardner. And, yes, run-of-the-mill Peanut M&M’s count!
- Covered raisins : Raisins are naturally sweet, nutrient-dense, and packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, says Dr. Gardner. “Even with the yogurt- or chocolate-covered variety, kids will at least get some fruit in their tummies!”
- Hard candies : Thanks to their size, texture, and shape, these slippery goodies can easily block a child’s windpipe. Kids under 5 are especially at risk.
- Taffy and caramel candies: Sticky, chewy candies get stuck in kids’ teeth. “The longer a food sticks to their teeth, the longer bacteria can feed on it,” says Timothy Chase, D.M.D. If your tot must eat these, save them for home (not the lunch box), so he can brush and floss right after.
- Eat First. Feed your kids a well-balanced dinner that includes a lean protein, a healthy starch, and plenty of vegetables before hitting the road.
- Set Binge Rules. Before heading out, decide and discuss how much candy they can eat that night. “I’d say 5 to 10 pieces max,” says King. One to two a day after that is a good goal.
- Buy Some Back. “I usually recommend that parents have their children pick out their favorites and sell the rest back to Mom or Dad for one to five cents per piece,” says King.