5 strategies for reducing Hallowe’en weight gain

Note: A version of this post originally appeared on my blog two years ago. But it’s a good one and still relevant (any many of you weren’t reading me back then anyways…). If you’ve read the original, see if you can spot the differences!

Ever since I was a kid, Hallowe’en has been one of my favorite holidays of the year.

Is it the pumpkins that make it so special? Although I love cooking with pumpkins, I don’t particularly care for carving them (too goopy).

hallowe'en weight gain

How about the costumes? Nope, more stressful than fun really (so much pressure to come up with a really unique, show-stopping costume, year after year).

hallowe'en weight gain

I think we were a witch for 5 years in a row…

What about the fact that you don’t have to buy anybody presents for it? That’s a good one, but not it.

The candy? You guessed it! More specifically, the chocolate.

Mmmmm. Those teeny, tiny squares of chocolaty perfection. There’s chocolate with peanut butter. Chocolate with marshmallow. Chocolate with almonds. Chocolate with coconut. Chocolate with caramel. Chocolate with bubbles. Chocolate with chocolate! Each one, a little bite of heaven in a crinkly wrapper.

hallowe'en weight gain

A little bite with a whopping 40-80 calories and 5-15 grams of sugar!

Not so bad if you only have one. But who ever stops at one? (If you’re one of the few who really and truly can, you need not read any further; the rest of you, whose brains encourage overconsumption, keep reading)

Over the years, I have developed some strategies to save me from Hallowe’en weight gain. Here’s hoping you find something on this list to help you out this year!

  • wait until the very last minute to purchase the treats you’ll be handing out to the goblins and witches that ring your doorbell. Don’t worry that the stores will run out (they won’t) or that you’ll forget (as if you’re children will let you). I used to buy early, but always ended up having to buy ‘replacement’ candy at the last minute (once the big bag is open, my husband loses all sense of self control)
  • don’t buy your favorites. Always give away something you don’t really like. Something that won’t tempt you while you wait for the next round of trick-or-treaters to arrive. Black licorice and gummy body parts are my treats of choice; I wouldn’t eat either unless absolutely starving, and maybe not even then.
  • give generously on Hallowe’en night. A handful or two to each child. Aim to have nothing left at the end of the evening. If you run out early, blow out the pumpkin, turn off the lights and treat yourself to some air-popped popcorn.
  • send leftovers to work with your spouse (not for them to eat, but to leave in the lunch room to tempt their co-workers, evil I know)


  • throw out the extra. Not just in the kitchen garbage. Take it immediately to the curb where you will be much less likely to try and retrieve it later. Imagine what your neighbors would say if they saw you pulling a George Costanza?. If this last one is difficult for you because you grew up in a household where wasting food was a mortal sin, remind yourself that candy is NOT REAL FOOD.

What about the pillowcases full your children will bring home?

hallowe'en weight gain

My strategy is to let them eat what they want for the first week or so (only after a healthy dinner and never packed in their school lunches; teachers have actually thanked me for this) then hide the rest for another week or so (just in case they remember that there’s still some left), before throwing it out.

If you can’t resist sneaking a piece or two, remember to count it as one of your 3 or 4 weekly ‘treats’. Then, go brush your teeth before you cave and raid your children’s stash (81% of parents do!).

Do Hallowe’en treats tempt you?

What’s your favorite childhood candy?




  1. Great tips! I do most of them but buy candy I don’t like and I don’t know why I haven’t done that before! My mom used to hide our candy! Now I know why. 🙂
    Heather Murphy recently posted…New routines, the best cookies and a lower body circuit.My Profile

    • Thanks Heather! My husband hid the candy I bought on the weekend and now he’s even forgotten where he left it… Hoping not to have to buy more at the last minute!

  2. I always buy stuff I am not a fan of which helps!!! I also send anything left to work with hubby – so right on there! If I buy early & usually do not but if I do – the bags are NOT opened.

    I was a heavy kid – I loved everything! 🙂
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted…Gratitude Monday, Santa Clause, Hiking & More!My Profile

    • I hear you Jody. Once that bag is open, the ‘candy is out of the bag’, so to speak! Hope you’re having a great Monday! xo

  3. We’re handing out chips this year. It’s so easy to pop a tiny chocolate bar in my mouth but not so much with a mini bag of chips 🙂 We also abide by the handful of treats rule, and when we run out we dip into our son’s stash – he’s only 4 so we can get away with that…for now 🙂
    Jenny @ simply be me recently posted…Long time, no write and a quick thought on intentional exerciseMy Profile

    • Jenny, chips would not tempt me at all. Maybe that’s what I should give out next year! Already have the box of Hershey’s; free with $175 worth of groceries at Superstore this week!

  4. I guess I’m odd because I don’t raid the boys’ stash. I do, however, whine until they share. And I love your tips. Luckily we live where no trick-or-treaters come, so I just don’t buy candy in the first place.
    AlexandraFunFit recently posted…Baking and Cooking in Seattle with MieleMy Profile

    • We really don’t get very many trick or treaters either. Last year I only had to answer the door 4 times. But I’d hate to disappoint those few little monsters that do show up by not having anything on hand…

  5. Ive always been a misfit.
    MY FAVE was BIT O’HONEY!!!!!
    Miz recently posted…Venus called…My Profile

  6. One of the best “trick or treat” houses in our neighborhood does the coolest thing. Instead of handing out candy, they take an old school Polaroid family picture of parents and their kids as a memento of Halloween night. We have pictures of us all together from the past few Halloweens. Sweeter than any candy.

    Still, gotta love a good piece of bite size chocolate…..or six! 😉
    Barbara recently posted…Official DietBet Final Weigh InMy Profile

    • I love that idea Barbara! Wouldn’t that make a great Shutterfly photo album to give to your kids when they have kids?

  7. Oh yeeessss, Halloween candy. I LOVE much of it but am trying to set an example and reign in my daughter’s insane sweet tooth. But what do I do? I have a piece with her every damn night! THIS year I am going to throw it out or donate it (totally have reservations about that) after ONE week. It will secretly break my heart but I know it’s for the best.
    Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana recently posted…Friday Roundup: A Client’s Journey to Muscle DefinitionMy Profile

    • My garbage can is full of the leftovers. And I’ve managed to avoid sneaking in there and grabbing a piece or two out. Helps a lot that I tossed the used cat litter on top! 🙂

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