A Coven of Healthy Halloween Inspirations

Any well-intentioned attempt to ban candy altogether can backfire because it “increases the chances of a child overindulging in the ‘bad’ food once they have access to it,” which is a fair point. But the autumn holiday does not need to be an orgy of high-fructose corn syrup.

Industry reports suggest the average trick-or-treater consumes three cups of sugar on Halloween, or about 7,000 calories worth of candy, according to a report in Fortune. For those who know that their children (or themselves) might not have the self-control, this can have an unhealthy impact.

Thanks to creative adults like Shari Bresin of the University of Florida, where she is the Family & Consumer Science agent, the face of Halloween can be transmogrified in creative and healthful ways. Bresin has collected a bunch of ideas, and there is still plenty of time to try them out. The first step is to agree ahead of time that after a party or a trick-or-treat mission, only a certain number of items will be kept. But why would any kid in their right mind go along with such a plan?

Parents could bring to life a useful mythological character called the Switch Witch, who will obligingly carry away the majority of the Halloween swag on her broomstick, and leave a toy or other non-sugary reward in its place. Actually, the Switch Witch idea has been around for a while, and an in-depth examination of it can be found online thanks to witch explainer Lisa Steinke.

From other sites, books, dolls, and probably other products are available. In fact, YouTube even hosts several delightful explanatory videos, produced by various Switch Witch enthusiasts.

Treats to make

Bresin offers instructions for several make-at-home food creations, like cheese quesadillas or orange peppers in the form of jack-o-lanterns; apple teeth; the monster mouth; “candy corn” skewers; pretzel spiders; and edible eyeballs.

As time goes on, more and more grownups are boarding the healthful Halloween train and inventing treats that are fanciful and fun, and that can be made by children themselves with the proper supplies. Here is a list of several other web pages that talk about healthful Halloween treats, better practices, adaptable customs, and innovative ideas to help make the holiday less strenuous and certainly less likely to lead to obesity!

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Halloween doesn’t need to be all about candy,” LakerLutzNews.com, 10/20/21
Source: “Switch Witch: Good or bad idea?,” SheKnows.com. 10/19/21
Image by Cozinhando Fantasias/CC BY-ND 2.0

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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