This year it is predicted that Americans will spend about $2.1 billion to buy 600 million pounds of candy to give out for Halloween.
"Candy in moderation for any child is certainly acceptable, so Halloween by itself isn't the issue when it comes to the health of our youth," explains Brigitte Weymiller, registered dietitian at the Gundersen Lutheran – Decorah Clinic. "But keep in mind that following Halloween is a string of five more months of holidays that are also known for their "goodies" including Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Easter. With rising rates of heart disease, diabetes, and weight issues in children, maybe we can consider other things that could be handed out either instead of candy or given with a smaller amount of candy."
Non-food choices: erasers, pencils/pens, crayons, markers, bookmarks, whistles, bouncy balls, glow-in-the-dark items, "message" wrist bands, stickers, toothbrushes, tattoos small puzzle books, Play-Dough and silly putty.
Healthier food choices: popcorn, low fat granola bars, 100% juice boxes, raisins /craisins, animal crackers, hot cocoa packets, pumpkin seeds, flavored water packets, trail mix (careful with nuts), Rice Krispie® treats, baked potato chips, low fat snack crackers
Healthier Candy choices: Three Musketeer bar, jelly beans, fruit snacks, lollipops, gummy bears, sweet tarts, candy corn, sugar free gum and licorice.