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Trick or Treat: The Best and Worst of Halloween Candy
bowl of candy


So, you’ve walked the whole neighborhood with the little ones and now, like 81% of parents in America, you’re about to reward your exertion by dipping into your kids’ candy (it’s only fair – that fitted-sheet ghost didn’t make itself).

But wait – let’s be smart about this – unless you walked for 6 hours today, you’re probably about to eat more calories than you burned. Rather than just give in to a moment’s urge, consider which, if any, of these calorie “splurges” are really worth it to you.

apple chocolate scale

By the Numbers

Every year Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy for Halloween, generating nearly $2 billion of revenue for confection companies and plenty of extra calories for consumers. So what does this mean for our health?

AICR recommends limiting energy-dense foods like candy -- high in calories, sugar and fat. Choosing plant foods low in calories and high in fiber can help us avoid overweight and obesity and reduce our cancer risk. It’s okay to have the occasional treat, so let’s put those extra calories into perspective and see if your candy is a trick or a treat!


Choice 1: Reese's Pumpkin

Serving: 1 pumpkin
Calories: 170
Fat: 10 grams
Sugars: 4 tsp

With more calories per candy than almost any other branded candy bar, these decadent pumpkins will set you back 170 calories.

Walk It Off: You’ve been out walking, but do you realize this has as many calories as it would take you 31 minutes of walking to burn? If you carried the candy and pushed a stroller, you only have to walk for 25 minutes.

candy corn

Choice 2: Candy Corn

Serving: 19 pieces
Calories: 140
Fat: 0 grams
Sugars: 8 tsp

Candy corn is a staple of the season and 19 pieces weigh in around 140 calories. That’s about 7 calories per kernel.

Burn It Off: Burn off one serving with a 26-minute walk or spend 30 minutes wrestling your sugared up children into bed. Like it never even happened.


Choice 3: Marshmallow Ghosts

Serving: 3 ghosts
Calories: 110
Fat: 0 g
Sugars: 4.5 tsp

Much like their spring counterpart, the peep, these marshmallow sweets are mostly sugar. A serving of 3 is 110 calories, which means you could always just have one (yes, you can) for only 37 calories.

Lift Off: Give your little-legged ghost a break—carry him for 23 minutes.  You’ll burn the calories and work those arms.

kit kat

Choice 4: Kit Kat

Serving: 1 fun size bar
Calories: 70
Fat: 3.5 grams
Sugars: 2 tsp

A fun-size Kit-Kat has about 70 calories and much less sugar than the mallows.

Jump it Off: Jumping up to answer the doorbell for trick-or-treaters will negate that fun size in just 15 minutes. Keep the bowl near the door so you won’t be tempted to dip into your own candy.

tootsie roll

Choice 5: Tootsie Roll

Serving: 3 pieces
Calories: 70
Fat: 1.5 grams
Sugars: 2.5 tsp

Love them or hate them, Tootsie Rolls have been found in candy buckets for generations. They’re too small to have individual nutrition facts on them, but a serving of three is 70 calories.

Throw it Out: Instead of sitting around, stand up for 20 minutes while you check your kids’ candy. Throw out anything that’s unwrapped, homemade, or that you would like to eat later (we won’t tell).

three musketeers

Choice 6: 3 Musketeers

Serving: 1 fun size bar
Calories: 63
Fat: 2 grams
Sugars: 2.5 tsp

One of the lowest calories per serving, this candy bar will satisfy your sweet tooth without adding too many extra calories.

Clean it Up: You can burn that bar off by spending 20 minutes laundering those fitted sheets and putting them away for next year.

toasted pumpkin seeds

Healthy Halloween

If you want to avoid candy altogether this year, there are delicious, easy alternatives to snack on. Try one of these options that you can make at home:

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