Handling the Halloween Candy Crush

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on October 26, 2010 · 0 comments

According to the National Retail Federation, the Americans will spend $1 billion on Halloween candy this year, or about $22 a person. How did candy become such a central part of the tradition? In a word: marketing.

Kids began trick-or-treating in the US in the 1920s when neighbors handed out apples, homemade pastries, breads, and small amounts of money. Since the late 19th century, Americans have used candy to reward children, equating sweet treats with fun and a positive emotional experience. The candy companies saw a golden marketing opportunity, and began a full-court press to make Halloween and candy synonymous, producing pre-packaged, themed candy for the season.

So how do you handle the candy flood? Nancy Childs, PhD, professor of food marketing from St. Joseph’s University, says, “The fun occasions, like Halloween, should be enjoyed for what they are – fun and occasional.”

When your child returns from their Halloween adventure, sort the loot bag and discard the poor choices. Next, make the treats last. Most candies have a long shelf life – one piece a day, or a lunchbox treat over the next couple of weeks teaches moderation. Withholding the candy completely will only make it more desirable.

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