Happy Halloween

by Andie Mitchell on October 30, 2012

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?

Balance.

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.

Plan Ahead

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? 

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Shawna October 30, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Swedish Fish, hands down, my favorite candy. Followed closely by red licorice flavored taffy.
My struggle, however, is Halloween frosted sugar cookies. Can’t keep them around or I will consume a dozen in a sitting. BAD!

I live in a pretty remote area so no trick or treaters around, which means no candy in the house. Thanks heavens!

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Annie October 30, 2012 at 8:06 pm

I LOVE your suggestions, especially the one about just eating the candy on the day. I am on Weight Watchers and I am totally going to do this. It will be great to look forward to raiding my kids’ bags (I mean, it’s tradition!) but know that it ends on November 1.

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Jenna October 30, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I wish I’d read this about 2 hours ago–it may have saved me from the 3,283 (give or take a few) miniature Reese’s I just ate. Loved the idea about only eating Halloween candy on Halloween. Maybe I’ll pretend today was the 31st.

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Anne October 30, 2012 at 9:41 pm

The one-bite Snickers minis are the best. Not Fun-Size, but the tiny ones that you pop in your mouth. The combo of salty peanuts, chocolate and caramel in that one bite is perfect. It loses its magic in larger form…not sure why! Anything with salt and sugar is good though- Payday, peanut M&Ms. Love the sweet/salty combo.

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Miss M October 31, 2012 at 3:24 am

I am pretty jealous of the range of halloween sweets you get in america.. but at least not having such an amazing selection here in the UK saves me from temptation!

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Beth October 31, 2012 at 4:45 am

I agree, just sticking to one or two of the bite sized ones are perfect. My problem is that if I buy a bag of the candy, I want to keep eating it. We can’t savor things in our house and eat just one small piece a night becuase whatever I don’t get to on that first day, my husband (with the fastest metabolism ever) eats everything else. So I feel like I have to hoard it all from him.

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Heather@SugarDish(Me) October 31, 2012 at 4:57 am

Loving the ONLY on Halloween rule. I’m Reese’s cup/Snickers Bar girl. But sometimes I really need Skittles. I will be “checking” the candy thoroughly, keeping my eyes peeled for my favorite kinds. Quality control, you know? And then I have plans to eat kale and drink absurd amounts of green tea for the next 5 days. Balance. Yeah.

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Rachael October 31, 2012 at 5:28 am

I have made a decision to only have two pieces of candy today, one Unreal chocolate caramel nougat bar and one Unreal chocolate caramel peanut nougat bar.

I just discovered these candies which are basically knock-offs of Snickers and Milky Way (they also have M&Ms, peanut M&Ms, and reeces peanut butter cups) but they are made with no artificial ingredients, no corn syrup, no GMOs, no hydrogenated oils, and no preservatives! Super awesome :)

Check out their nutrition and ingredients compared with their counterparts (and fruit too!) at http://getunreal.com/unreal-5

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Kristn October 31, 2012 at 6:40 am

I love pixie sticks and zots and pop rocks….maybe because some of them were 80′s candy. I just love them! I don’t really love candy but those ones are just fun!

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Bridget October 31, 2012 at 7:07 am

I am all too aware that once I start eating a piece of candy, even if it is JUST ONE with the best intentions of stopping, I don’t have the control to stop until I am disgusted with myself. So this year is the FIRST year in all my 29 years that I will not be devouring a neighborhood’s worth of candy, not one single piece. Can you beleive that kids? I will actually leave some for you this year! These are all great tips though… in the past I would put my candy bars in the freezer- but that didn’t slow me down as it was intended to do!

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Au Naturel October 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I am with Bridget. Though I love the idea of balance, it’s just not something I am presently capable of. We often talk about “balance”, but does anyone actually achieve it? Maybe, maybe not. So I will not eat a single piece this year. Balance? No. But I am happier with this extreme than the other!

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Cynthia November 1, 2012 at 7:07 am

I agree with Bridget. If I was capable of just eating one, I would not have spent most of my life as a 300 pounder. In order to stay the 150 pound me, I can’t have any.

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Sonal October 31, 2012 at 8:09 am

Such great tips Andie, thank you! My favourite halloween candies are snickers and Reese’s peanut butter cups! :)

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Julie October 31, 2012 at 11:36 am

Great idea to only eat Halloween candy on Halloween. I have two girls, so I bought candy for their school and for trick-or-treaters. I tried to buy candy bags with candy that I didn’t like, but but of them had Reese’s peanut butter cups and Snickers – two weaknesses. I have to do a better job next year.

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Janet Vaght October 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Kit Kats but I usually end up eating smarties at my desk. Know what I don’t like? Tootsie Rolls. Blah.

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Michelle in N. Cal October 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I really liked this post. I LOVE pumpkin pie and because I know I would eat the entire thing within 24 hours (or less), I have refrained from buying one. I am going to wait until Thanksgiving and eat it and enjoy it on that. one. day. I might eat several pieces but knowing it’s just that one day does “balance” out the rest of the season.

As far as candy: kit kat, snickers and m&ms are always faves. :-)

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Lindsay @ The Reluctant Runner October 31, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Snickers are my favorite! Balance is hard. I bought a bag of candy for tonight with clear instructions that we DO NOT OPEN IT until Halloween, but my husband insisted on opening it Sunday night as “hurricane rations” so I’ve been snacking on candy here and there for the past few days. Hopefully some kids come by and take this candy so it’s not just sitting around!

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Robynn October 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm

As much as I love Halloween, it so gos against everything I’m trying to do to get a grip on my own weight and health, but my 5yr old daughters as well. I could absolutely gorge myself on all those wonderful little treats, but I wouldn’t want her to do that to herself, and I’m trying to be some sort of example (never easy).

This year, we’re trying something new…like the tooth fairy, I told her there was a Candy Creature (maybe creature not the best choice of word, cause now I’m envisioning some creepy, slimy thing coming into our house in the middle of the night; but that’s beside the point) who would trade a toy for candy. She can still choose 20 of her favorites to have 1 per night, but the rest is for him (because all creatures are “him’s”).

This way all the temptation is removed for me, I’m not too guilty about basically taking away almost all her candy, and feeling triumph over a holiday that would almost always sabotage my efforts. Hubby makes out pretty good too, since he ends up with all the candy, and can eat himself into a chocolatey faced coma. :)

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LG November 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I’ve heard of this before…it’s called the “Switch Witch”!

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Melissa November 1, 2012 at 3:52 am

I really believe that ultimately balance is the right way for me to go. However, I’ve also been trying to remember something you said a while ago about having to say good-bye to some foods temporarily. I think I actually have to refrain from some of my favorite foods (read:sugar) and try to reset before introducing them back in a more balanced way. Right now, I am way out of balance.

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Becky @ Becky's Place November 1, 2012 at 6:22 am

I love Reese’s pb cups… and Snickers… and Twix and Kit Kat. I went out with my sister in law and her daughter (even dressed up a little) and was offered all of my favorites. But they just didn’t have the appeal to me as much as I thought they would. Of course, I’d also enjoyed a Russell Stover chocolate covered coconut candy before leaving. There’s so many sugarless options available that it’s gotten easier to pass on the sugared goodies.

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Deena November 1, 2012 at 9:17 am

Anything Reeses is my favorite…wait no snickers…no m & m… ok it is all things chocolate.
As to dealing with the giant bowl of treats… Thanks go out to my wonderful husband, he was put in charge of the treats this year to keep me from the temptation, bought candies that I don’t like and brought me 1 regular size bag of m & m’s to sate the cravings. What a guy I have…

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Emily @ www.main-eats.com November 1, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I adore ALL candy…it’s kind of a problem!

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Bek @ Crave November 2, 2012 at 10:24 pm

I love how when you said plan ahead, you didn’t say cut back on your other meals- but instead to include plenty of fruits and vegetables. This is why I read you!!!!! :)

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Kels November 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

I don’t like Reese’s pb cups, but I LOVE the holiday shapes (pumpkins, trees, hearts, and eggs, they have a way higher pb to chocolate ratio!) I always buy a package of the mini versions on sale after the holiday. I stick them in freezer as a pre packaged, pre-portioned treat!

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Autumn November 7, 2012 at 7:43 am

I like the idea of buying candy that you don’t like so that you’re not even tempted to eat it. For a little indulgence, you could buy a small bag of your favorite candy, keep a few pieces aside for yourself, and then hand that candy out first so that it’s not the candy that remains at the end of the night.

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