Hacking Halloween: 10 Tips to Avoid the Sweets

You can have a healthy Halloween even while on a diet
I‘ll bet you can already hear it: the sinister laughs of Mr. Skeleton in the howling breeze; the brooding bellows of the lurking Oogie Boogie; and, alas, the harrowing yet mellifluous screams of children as they prepare themselves for the most dastardly, invigorating night of the year.BOO! Halloween is coming.Halloween, as kids know–and parents mostly certainly know–is not just a day. It’s a week; sometimes it is a whole month, because we know when the first leaves fall, grocery stores magically introduce candy onto their shelves.

Candy. Candy everywhere.

This is what we think happens Halloween week:
  • Buy the candy early.
  • Set it on the table and don’t touch it.
  • The kids eat all the candy and there’s none left for us to eat.
But what actually happens…
  • We buy more candy than kids even exist in a 10-mile radius–just in case we run out.
  • We want the deal, so we buy candy a week early.
  • We put the candy in the spooky bowl by the front door… to be, like, prepared.
  • The night before Halloween: WHO ATE ALL THE CANDY?
Halloween finally ends, and though the trick-or-treaters had pillowcases filled with candy, you won: you ate the most. And your reward is… BOO! A wrenching stomach pain and an extra few pounds on your stomach.

Healthy Tips for Sugary Lips

Avoiding sweets on Halloween is probably the hardest thing to do in the world, aside from plugging in a USB flash drive correctly the first time. (Why does it always take three times to plug it in when the chances are 50/50?) Follow these tips to be healthy this Halloween.

Don’t open the candy early

It’s tempting to open up the bag of candy to add it to your bowl so you can once and for all finish your Halloween decorations. But really… there’s no need to do that. Don’t make it easy to eat candy. Ever.

Place it outside

Whether or not you waited until Halloween night to let the candy out the bags… literally, don’t let that bowl of filled-to-the-brim candy sit inside your house.* Place it outside with a sign (“2 pieces each… or else”) to avoid eating it yourself.

Set aside your limit

Set aside a small number of candies or chocolates that you’re allowed to eat so you don’t bury your face in the bowl. My rule is one handful… so I find the largest hands in the neighborhood and ask for a favor.

Count the wrappers

This may seem silly, but nothing is more haunting than lifeless wrappers who once housed calories now sitting there beside you on the couch, watching you eat “just one more.” Count them. Assemble them by the unwrapped candy and let them glare at you until you’re satisfied. Throwing the wrappers away piece-by-piece is a cop-out.

Quarantine the binge

Okay, so you’re going to binge. You’ve decided that in advance. If you’re really going to binge on that Halloween candy, save the date. Save the time. Use a countdown timer like that of New Year’s Eve and savor the moment. But once that time is up… Walk away from the candy. Run if you have to.

Eat before you treat

Whether you’re encamped in the house or out with the kids knocking on strangers’ doors, eat before you treat; and eat a well-balanced meal, particularly one with few carbohydrates and plenty of greens. It’s like going grocery shopping on an empty stomach: you never make the good decisions then.

Choose smaller bags

Is using pillowcases as a candy container passe? Are those days over? They probably should be. We recommend you opt for something closer to a gift bag or a grocery bag instead of an entire bed sheet–that way when you reach your bag’s limit, you have to return from trick-or-treating: you have no more room for candy!


Usually, parents have better control over their sweets intake than kids do. If you find your kids or grandkids consuming too much sugar on Halloween night, barter with them. Offer them the perk of staying up late or going on a special trip in exchange for some of their candy. You can even trade them a healthy meal for some of their candy so they make better decisions (just don’t, ya know, eat the candy yourself).

Walk, don’t drive

You may live far from the popular trick-or-treating neighborhoods, but use that time to enjoy the night. Walk yourself, your kids, and whomever else to the scene. Take the long route, not just the one strip of houses that offer the full-size candy bars. You’ll get far more exercise on Halloween night than you think!

Get energy from a good source

It’s a big night full of crazy kids, wildly expensive costumes (because you asked), and extended curfews. You’re going to need energy… just don’t get it from the candy. For clean, long-lasting energy, take a natural energy booster before you begin the madness; and if you’re really trying to fend off the sweets, combine energy and appetite control in a weight loss stick to brave the night.Oh… and #11: Brush your teeth on Halloween night.
*If you place your candy outside, you risk little monsters stealing the entire bowl of candy. You were warned.