What Are Some Alternatives to Halloween Candy?
Whether you’re stocking up for trick-or-treaters or looking for healthier ideas for your child’s Halloween party, check out these candy alternatives for this favorite fall holiday.
What to Hand Out Instead of Halloween Candy
- Fruits and veggies. Many grocery stores sell fruit and vegetables in individually wrapped snack packs. Check your produce aisle for treat-sized bags of baby carrots and apple slices to encourage dental health and provide a break from a bag of syrupy sweet candy.
- Dairy products. The dairy aisle holds more pre-packaged treats that go easy on the teeth. Individual yogurt tubes come in various flavors and provide essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. You can also try cheese sticks, which are sure to be a favorite for hungry ghosts and goblins. Or quench a young vampire’s thirst with drink boxes of organic chocolate milk.
- Chewing gum. As previously mentioned, sugar-free gum makes a great alternative to traditional Halloween candy. Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals can help reduce tooth decay. The increased saliva helps wash out food debris and neutralize any acid produced by bacteria.
What to Serve at a Party Instead of Halloween Treats
- Monster mouths. Skip the wax lips in favor of healthy — and arguably better-tasting — monster mouths made from apples. Slice an unpeeled apple into large wedges, then cut a groove into the center of the wedge’s peel-side to create an opening for the mouth. Stuff the groove with peanut or almond butter and top with chopped peanuts or almond slivers to look like crooked teeth poking out.
- Vegetable skeleton. Make a boring veggie platter spooktacular by arranging the vegetables in the shape of a skeleton. Use celery stalks and carrot sticks for the legs and arms, cucumber slices for the spine, and bell pepper slices for the rib cage. Cauliflower florets create a skull on top with broccoli for eye sockets and bell pepper strips for the mouth. For the finishing touch, add a carved-out pumpkin on the side filled with a healthy dip.
- Orange pumpkins and banana ghosts. Quickly turn your favorite fruits into festive snacks. Simply peel oranges or clementines and add a small slice of celery on top for the pumpkin stalk. Then, peel and slice bananas in half and use three chocolate chips to create two eyes and a mouth for a spooky ghost.
What Halloween Candy Is the Worst for Teeth?
Any candy that contains sugar will feed the plaque development that leads to tooth decay. It’s no secret that some of your favorite sweets can damage your teeth—and some types of Halloween candy are worse than others.
- Hard candy. You might think sticky candy would harm teeth most, but hard candy like lollipops and peppermints cause the most dental damage. These harder treats linger in your mouth longer, putting your teeth at risk for prolonged acid attacks, which lead to tooth decay. Plus, they can also trigger a dental emergency such as a broken or chipped tooth.
- Sticky treats. From gummy worms to caramels, sticky candy is plentiful during Halloween. These softer treats tend to remain on teeth and “stick around” long after the candy has been enjoyed. You can help reduce dental damage by enjoying one piece at a time, chewing thoroughly, and brushing teeth afterward.
- Chewing gum. Surprisingly, one of the safest Halloween treats to enjoy is gum. Gum stimulates extra saliva production, which naturally rinses the mouth and keeps plaque-causing bacteria at bay. Choose sugar-free, all-natural gum that’s sweetened with xylitol, which helps to reduce plaque acids and bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Halloween is a great time to promote oral health in your family and throughout the community. Whether you are limiting candy consumption in your own home or sharing nutritious, teeth-healthy snacks with friends and neighbors, you can help develop healthy habits while still enjoying the spirit of the holiday.