Healthy and Sane

Candy is the scariest thing about Halloween

October 30th, 2010 · 30 Comments · baking

Who’s doing something fun this weekend? Are you dressing up? I have to say that I never really got into the whole Halloween thing. We didn’t have anything like that when I was growing up. In Israel (where I went to middle school) purim was kind of fun (same idea, you get to dress up to school, etc.) but there was no trick-or-treating tradition attached to it. My favorite thing about Halloween these days is all the pretty holiday-themed dishes, napkins, etc… and then of course there is an excuse to bake your heart out and make it spooky. πŸ˜‰

I went to a new Weight Watchers meeting yesterday. I didn’t weigh-in. I just wanted to listen to some inspirational messages and I did. The leader was very much into Halloween; she got all dressed up and brought a giant bag with all the scary toys – spiders, skulls, etc. – but the scariest thing she pulled out of that thing was a fun-sized Butterfinger. For someone that’s actively trying to lose weight (heck, even maintain it) this candy craze is definitely the scariest thing about Halloween. And we need to have a plan to deal with it, otherwise it’s easy to erase all the hard work of previous weeks. And for what?

In past years Halloween marked the beginning of the weight-gaining season for me. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, and of course Christmas, right around this time my mind already started forming excuses and planning to start losing all that weight come January 1. You all know how big of a sweet tooth I have, but you know what, I NEVER eat candy bars… except for the weeks leading up and right around Halloween. Why? What’s so special about this week? Is it the “fun sized” packages? Those fun sized packages aren’t so fun when they cause depression for many months to come. One fun-sized snickers bar (one of my favorites!!) is 99 calories. I could eat like 10 of them. Easy! Yet I would never even think about grabbing a regular sized bar, which is less than 3 fun sized bar’s worth. Those little packages are misleading. No more!

I think there are a lot of articles going around this time about how to prevent overeating candy on Halloween. Here the reasons why I thinkΒ  this stuff just ain’t worth it!

– Every single (traditional) candy bar out there is full of junk ingredients. I’m not talking processed sugar; I’m talking real junk – partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup (you can read more about the dangers of PHOs here and HFCS here). I normally avoid anything with these ingredients like poison. I know I won’t drop dead if I have 1 candy bar but again… if all year long I’m doing my best to eat mostly organic, unprocessed, artificial ingredients and junk free foods – why would I make an exception this time of year? Is it because it’s free and in my face? Not worth it!!

– There are alternatives – Most candy you see out there has junk but I am not really into deprivation so if I really want candy, I seek for their organic counterparts. You will never see that nasty ingredients list in Newman’s Own Organics peanut butter cups. You can also make your own! I literally just watched Giada make peppermint patties (recipe here) which can replace your favorite York peppermint patties (which have artificial flavoring) and earlier in the month Jen posted recipes for her own fun sized “snickers candy bars,” “3 musketeer candy bars” and “milky way candy bars.” Instead of filling up on cheap candy, you can savor the homemade variety. I will bet any amount of money that it will taste better and you will be proud of your little creations (so you won’t feel the need to see how many you can stuff in your mouth at one time… not that I’ve ever done that πŸ˜‰ )

– If I’m honest with myself, I’d rather have a real baked good instead of super sugary candy. Again, it’s about quality vs. quantity. Treat yourself to something sweet and delicious from your favorite bakery or make your own. I made pumpkin cheesecake brownies (recipe here; I doubled the recipe and followed the original measurements… i.e. not Jen’s subs) on Thursday for Adam’s work party and really enjoyed this Halloween/fall themed treat. Who needs candy when there are brownies and cheesecake competing for my stomach capacity!?

This last tip I actually heard from one of the WW members and I thought it was a really good one. If you have trick or treaters come to your house on Halloween, you probably stocked up on candy. What do you do with all the excess the next day? We don’t have kids come to our condo but if we did, I would buy the stuff I don’t like and bring the rest to the office come Monday. But this I thought was fun – dump the rest of it into the last kid’s bag! I am sure the kid will feel like he just won the lottery and you won’t have tempting candy calling your name from the pantry the next morning. Isn’t it such a good idea? πŸ˜€

Last but not least, enjoy this season full of smiles. We had a giant party at work yesterday and the kids were so excited. I was not tempted one bit to eat candy, I just tried to soak up all that positive energy!!

All right, and with that – I’m off! Have an awesome weekend!!

Do you love candy? Is this a difficult time of the year for you? What mind games prevent you from stuffing yourself silly of candy?

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30 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Lauren at KeepItSweet

    i totally agree that i’d rather have baked goods than candy bars but do occasionally get a craving for reeses cups or snickers! yesterday i tried a dark chocolate and peanut butter KIND bar for the first time and it tasted just like a peanut chew, amazing!

  • #2 - Erika @ Food.Fitness.Fun

    Although I am not trying to lose weight, I still dread Halloween candy. I ALWAYS seem to over-do it and then feel gross. I think it’s the “mental weight gain” that kills me. πŸ˜•

  • #3 - katecooks

    my mom still sends me a halloween package with all my favorite candy! true, i dont eat those little candy bars any other time of the year but that’s what makes it so special for me :)

  • #4 - Cristina @ Cristina Meets Life

    You’re right on. It’s very “scary”. I admit, I’ve been using the so-called fun size candies for a throw in for trail mix. You know, one packet of peanut m&m’s, one packet of chocolate m&m’s and the sugar content sky rockets combined with whatever else you’re throwing in. It’s easy to loose track. Before you know it, you’ve consumed XXX of sugar and unnecessary calories.

  • #5 - Olivia

    Omg I ate aprox. 30 mini bars the other day! Time to cut out some sugar :(

  • #6 - D

    Um, how do you know it’s the last kid…?!

    • #7 - Elina

      Isn’t there like a” turn the lights off – we’re done for the night” kind of ritual? No?

  • #8 - Bridget

    I totally agree that I don’t want leftover halloween candy — but how do you know when is the last kid? I’d hate to do that and then the doorbell rings 2 minutes later and you have to tell them you don’t have any more….

    • #9 - Elina

      Hmm, ok – so maybe this idea isn’t fool proof. It sounded good to me when I heard it πŸ˜‰

  • #10 - Lee

    I have a hard time with Halloween candy because it’s everywhere. We have a ton of it in our office and it always calls to me. But you’re right, it’s not even that good!

  • #11 - Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    I’m a chocolate girl more than a candy girl, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy some sour patch kids every now and then. If I like it, I’ll eat a few, but I’m not too tempted by the other traditional sugary candies so I’m not that scared of them :)

  • #12 - MelissaNibbles

    We donate our leftover candy to the local food bank. Happy Halloween!

  • #14 - Ameena

    I actually have zero interest in candy and just a tiny bit more interest in Halloween! I am not into this holiday at all. I much prefer Thanksgiving and Christmas!!

  • #15 - Jen

    I love candy so we never have it in the house. When we used to get trick or treaters, I always bought candy that I hated so I wouldn’t snack on it.

    Glad you liked the pumpkin brownies. Aren’t they awesome?

  • #16 - Stefanie

    I love Halloween candy, so I have a hard time preventing myself from eating too much this time of year too!

    Not to mention that my son gets a buttload, so I have access to all the goodies.

    I usually have a few mini bars on Halloween and the few days afterward, and by then I’m sick of the sugar high, so I’m satisfied. :)

  • #17 - Cara

    Great strategies, Elina! We bought some candy and I haven’t touched it yet, and I can’t even say it’s been that hard. I’ve just been having a really good exercise week and food-wise I’ve eaten plenty of really yummy, healthy things so I haven’t found myself craving the candy. I do plan to have a few pieces today but like you said, it’s really just a bunch of crap and not worth the guilt of eating too much – I keep telling myself, it’s mass produced crappy candy, not, I dunno, Godiva!

    ps- aren’t those brownies the best? Ever since I came up with them a few years ago I look forward to my once-a-year indulgence!

    • #18 - Elina

      You’re so right – when I have a really good exercise and food week, it really makes all these cheap “indulgences” unappetizing. They were delicious. I lightened them up slightly by using reduced fat cream cheese. Delicious! Couldn’t find the link to your original recipe… feel free to link back to it here πŸ˜€

  • #19 -

    i really want a muskateer tho!! ok ok, id gladly trade it up for ANYTHING made by you tho!! <3


  • #20 - judith

    love this post. you sound so positive and have such a good outlook on the season!
    my rule — i ran my half marathon tody and had some candy at my friend’s house after and that was it. no kids come to my place for trick or treating so i had my mini-indulgence and now it’s back to the regularly scheduled program. we can do this!

  • #21 - Rachael

    God, I’m a recovering candy fiend – Christmas mornings used to mean a breakfast of the whole box of stocking-gifted chocolate cherry cordials. Even when I was severely anorexic, gummy bits and candy corn still found their way into my diet. These days, I try to avoid sugar in fun-sized form, and on Halloween, I buy the candy that I don’t like. Seems stupid, but I remember the hierarchy of candy collecting from being a kid and the stuff I do get is still acceptable to the average 9 year old. So, everyone wins!

  • #22 - Shannon

    mmm, i lost the battle this year :/ let’s hope i can turn it around tomorrow…

  • #23 - @iRun2beFit

    Another tip, which I do, is just don’t even buy the candy to pass out. I like your making something delicious & baked idea, that’s excellent.

  • #24 - kellyB

    “But this I thought was fun – dump the rest of it into the last kid’s bag!”
    NO NO NO, cause that kid comes home to his mom who maybe on WW (like in my case) and has to then figure out how to get it out of their house.
    My son – who loves trick or treating – is bored of the candy by the next day or two, he has moved on – but he would of loved taking the rest of your bowl. Needless to say, I then am left with all that temptation.

    Bring it to work – yes yes, you then have to have the willpower there. But again, we really need to try and raise healthy kids. That’s why I hand out one bag of Halloween shaped pretzels and raid from my kids bags (we trick or treat on two different days) and hand out stuff from those bags as well. We still end up with TOO MUCH CANDY.

  • #25 - Emily

    I agree withe the bring-it-into-the-office approach. We didn’t buy candy this year but last year had a ton leftover. I would have eaten it myself if I had the option!

  • #26 - Bridget

    Yeah Halloween is the one time of year I give myself the “OK” to eat crap candy! There IS something about those little mini’s that make it seem better…probably because I can have 4 different kinds of candy without eating 4 big things. However, I agree that is way too easy to go overboard…too much crap sugar = belly ache.

    I was thinking about that this year…making my own treats! However I dont think that will ever fly with parents, so I guses I’ll just have to make them for myself :)

  • #27 - Kerstin

    I would definitely love one of your tasty brownies over all the candy I’ve been eating! I eat the super mini candy bars at work, but they still add up, luckily they’re almost gone!

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  • #29 - nancy at good food matters

    Elina, fortunately, I am not crazy for candy–bittersweet chocolate,YES. But I can pass up candy. I don’t think that I could pass up your beautiful marbled pumpkin brownies–WOW.

    When we run out of candy for Halloween, we turn out the lights, lock the front door, and head for the back of the house!

  • #30 - You can’t win them all – a baking disaster

    […] Candy is the scariest thing about Halloween […]