As someone with an insatiable sweet tooth and a fierce love of pageantry, Halloween has always been one of my favorite days of the year. The haunted houses. The campy and oft gruesome horror movies. The pumpkin stabbing and carving. It’s all so wonderful, and that’s before we’ve even come to the pillowcases with seams ripping from the weight of candy. I look forward to the chocolate in the same way that I lust after Thanksgiving, with abundant, giddy anticipation. Historically, Halloween was one of the few days where it seemed socially acceptable for me (and others) to binge on sweets. No need to retreat to my bedroom and quietly unwrap each piece before burying crinkly evidence at the bottom of the trashcan. Instead, I was allowed- encouraged, even- to eat my fill of peanut butter cups. I was a maven when I knew exactly which houses on our route handed out full-sized Kit Kats. I displayed my mound of discarded wrappers to my friends with pride and (almond) joy.
These days, I still love Halloween. I’ve already gone apple picking, eaten pumpkin everything, cringed my way through a haunted house, toured the ghastly history of Salem, MA, and watched enough horror flicks that I’m now unable to walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night, no matter how badly the urge strikes me. The one thing I haven’t done is eat the sheer volume of candy that I once did. If you’re like me, there’s at least a small part of you that wonders if it isn’t easier to simply abstain from candy altogether than eat one or two fun-size Snickers. But as a candy lover through and through, where would the fun in that be?
If you’re trying to lose weight or you’d simply rather not eat a neighborhood’s worth of miniature chocolate bars, which is entirely reasonable, here are some tips:
Eat Halloween Candy on Halloween Only
The candy hits the shelves after labor day and lasts for weeks after trick-or-treaters have come and gone. If you have kids, or you just love a good sale after October 31st, you have treasure troves of chocolate sitting in your home. It would be easy to gorge on peanut butter pumpkins and candy corn for two months. What’s vital to remember is that holiday treats can only remain special if they’re limited to holidays. If pumpkin pie were a year-round dessert, it’d have get no extra love on Thanksgiving. Likewise, pumpkin Reese’s are only out once a year, and good Lord don’t I love that intense ratio of peanut butter filling to chocolate coating. I’ve got to keep it special, keep it holiday. Once a year. Try to follow suit and enjoy the treats on the 31st only, then get back to your regular routine in November.
If you’ve happily decided to enjoy some candy or another fun treat later in the day, plan your remaining eats accordingly. No need to skip meals, just focus on keeping breakfast and lunch healthy- full of fruits and vegetables- to balance the sugar you’ll be consuming later.
Be Mindful of Portions
Because Halloween treats usually come in smaller packages it’s all too easy to eat the equivalent of several normal sized candy bars and not even realize it. Fun-sized candy bars have about 70-100 calories per piece. My best advice: Pick out one of each of your favorite candies, put them on a plate, and savor them- really love them- one by one between sips from a hot mug of tea or coffee.
My picks: Reese’s peanut butter cup, Almond Joy, Butterfinger*
*give or take a Snickers
What are your favorites? Will you have any Halloween candy this year?