Your Halloween Candy Cheat Sheet

Note: if you are practicing candy-abstinence, this may not be the post for you. Perhaps you would like to (re)read The Healthy(-ish) Recipe Fairy instead. :)

Halloween can be a tough time for anyone trying to lose or manage their weight. The stores trot the candy out two months ahead of time, banking on buyers taking it home, gobbling it all down before the holiday, and coming back for more. Not that I’ve ever done that.

These days, I don’t usually buy Halloween candy. Our neighborhood kids go to the “Trunk or Treat” function at a community church, and I have a year-round stash of something chocolate in my freezer in the form of Hershey’s Kisses, Ghiardelli squares, Bliss, Dove, or anything else available in individually wrapped bite-sized pieces. Two dark chocolate Kisses are only about 50 calories, perfect for the wee indulgence.

Since I’m starting to run low of my chocolate-y freezer stash, I visited the candy aisle at Target the other day. Rather than automatically go with one of my tried-and-trues , I picked up a bag of Halloween candy. At first I was horrified by the calorie content (I didn’t even look at the ingredient list), but then I noticed something odd. I picked up another bag. And then another and another. It was the same on all of them: the calorie counts displayed are for multiple bars or packs! I don’t want multiple servings at a time–okay, I do, but I know that wouldn’t be healthy or smart–I just want ONE every day or so!

As it turns out, the calories for a single bar or pack just aren’t that awful, usually 100 calories or less. I had figured out the quirk of the serving size on the Kisses, et al. The serving size on the package is 9 pieces, but ONE Kiss is 25-30 calories. I had never looked at Halloween candy to see if I could fractionate the published serving size.

So now I’m hell-bent on having Halloween candy. I just can’t decide which ONE to buy. As an aid, I have prepared a handy reference chart, which I shall be taking to the store with me. You are welcome to clip-n-save, if you are also an indulger:

I don’t know which candy (if any) I’ll buy eventually. I’m probably having more fun evaluating my options than I will eating the candy. Okay, that might be a stretch. :)

This has all served as a gentle reminder to me of lessons I had already learned but managed to forget:
1) Fractions are our friends. The calorie count on a food may seem high (or low, for that matter), but the serving size we choose gives us wiggle room (or send us to our doom).
2) Questioning is good and calorie-free. (Answers may not be. Proceed with caution.)

Will you be having Halloween candy in moderation? Or are you staying on the straight and narrow?

17 thoughts on “Your Halloween Candy Cheat Sheet

  1. This is great. I admire your restraint if you purchase. This year, I think I’m best not to do so. In the past, I’ve purchased with good intentions of having a serving each day. But then the bag ends up being gone in two days. Straight and narrow for me this year.

  2. I’m torn on this one. As for myself. I get mini bags of popcorn and pretzels and candies that I don’t like for the trick or treaters. we get tons of trick or treaters, and the kids get excited over the popcorn and pretzels. And I usually get, on the eve of halloween, just one bag of the kind I do ( assorted of the smallest kind, so I don’t feel totally deprved). I try to give away much of it but save at least 1 piece of each kind for me.

  3. I don’t usually buy Halloween candy that appeals to me, but I was thinking about doing that this year – thanks for the handy dandy chart! Hmmm, now I’m thinking either M&Ms or Reeses. Yum. And Yay!

  4. Thank you so much for this! We indulge in one day of our favorite Halloween candy (which will be this coming weekend) and we go to the bulk section and take one or two things here and there instead of buying a huge bag for trick or treaters that never show up. (Seriously, we haven’t gotten any in 6 years! So no “but they’re for the trick or treaters” excuse for us! *darn*) I’m writing this out so I can make good choices at the bulk section!

  5. I always give out pencils and notepads. We only get the grandkids anymore since this road no longer has any other kids around. I miss the busy trick or treat nights that we used to have. I do buy Halloween candy and keep it in a ceramic pumpkin. My “kids” raid it when they come over. :)

  6. I try not to buy stuff that appeals to me in a big way. We normally give out little pretzel bags or raisinettes, which the kids are surprisingly very happy to get. That way whatever leftovers are around are not a big deal.

    Now I never give out candy corn. That is just for me and I have to have John put it up high and dole me out a serving. Isn’t that sad? LOL.

  7. Wellll, you know me and moderation:( My plan is to not buy any. And not eat any that is purchased by anyone else either. (Not to single out my dear husband…) When I was stocking up for my boys’ Halloween care packages, I actually put back one bag of candy because I thought I’d be tempted. It was 3 Musketeers and, while they are not my favorite candy, I know they are not as “unhealthy” as many others so might have found it a bit harder to stick to my plan of abstaining this year.

  8. Thanks for this info Cammy. I’m lucky, I can portion control and have one halloween candy and be fine. BUT…if they had halloweeen sized portions of good sharp cheese, I’d be hooped and the whole pack would be gone!

  9. Well- as of today I plan to stay on the straight and narrow- but I don’t know what will actually happen when I come face to face with my favorite! (that round disc of peanut butter covered in chocolate) We usually give out smarties and lollipops- treats that don’t appeal to me anymore.

  10. Great Post!!!
    I am officially pledged to eat no Halloween Candy. I’m sticking to it, but I still love your little chart!
    When I’ve gone for sugar lately, I have these great Cinammon Almonds from Trader Joe’s. They’re sweet, but basically like Almonds calorically and only 14 carbs per serving.
    Works for me.
    Still hard to stop once I stop though.. so I must be prepared.
    Enjoy your Halloween candy choice. I can’t wait to find out what it is!

  11. No trick or treaters out here in the sticks. I’m not very tempted by halloween candy any more. Even candy corn. Weird, huh? I find plenty of other stuff to eat though.

  12. Like you Cammy, we really don’t get many kids anymore. Not like when I took a pillow case trick or treating as a kid! :-)

    If I buy, I tend to buy things I don’t like & we may buy something the hubby likes since he can indulge more easily than me & not gain. These days, with the hormone stage I am in, just being near a fattening foods puts weight on me.. age is not my friend right now! 😉

    Thx for the cheat sheet. Will pass it on too!


  13. If I buy any, it will be something I do NOT like and won’t be tempted to eat. I’ve lost about 15 lbs, and I know if I eat one mini Snickers, then I’m shoving the rest of the bag in, too! haha
    Hopefully in a few more weeks I will be able to have a small indulgence every now and then.

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