With less than two weeks until Halloween, the sugar overload season is upon us. Market research shows four major holiday seasons made up nearly half of US candy sales: Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. This Halloween will be the first of those holidays celebrated since the American Heart Association recommended that children age 2-18 should consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day and those age 0-2 should consume none. Compare that to the mounds of sugar that the typical trick-or-treater takes home in their Halloween candy.
Health concerns are driving more parents to find creative ways to celebrate Halloween that don’t involve overloading kids on sugar. The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages you to place a teal pumpkin in front of your home to indicate that you have alternatives to candy available for trick-or-treaters.
Many parents are also inviting the Switch Witch to visit and trade out the leftover Halloween candy for a small toy. Here’s how Parents Magazine described it:
“Like Santa or the Tooth Fairy, the Switch Witch visits children while they sleep and leaves a prize. But in this case the prize makes parents happy too, because she swaps it for that overflowing sack of Halloween candy.”
The American Cancer Society suggests buying back the candy from kids and letting them use the money to buy a toy or game. This keeps the fun in Halloween while helping them understand that fun doesn't have to mean an overload of sugar.
Even though candy makers rake in billions of dollars in sales each year, they are looking for ways to push even more sugar on a world facing an epidemic of diabetes. They’re looking to use “micro-holidays” to sell more candy including Super Bowl, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Graduation, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Grandparent’s Day, and Thanksgiving.