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Make Halloween Healthier for Everyone

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Extra sweets around the house for Halloween can haunt anyone’s good intentions, but a few healthy tricks can make this holiday fun for everyone.

Ann Twiner, Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Sunflower County, suggested different ways to use surplus treats.

“If you buy more Halloween candy than needed, you can always freeze it,” Twiner said. “Make sure you put it in an air-tight container, like a zip-top bag, and it will be fine. This way, if the candy is not in Halloween-themed wrappers, you can use it for Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

Twiner also shared methods of sharing uneaten candy with others in the community.

“Put some in a bag for the mail carrier or the folks who pick up your trash, or take some to your salon,” Twiner said. “You can also send it to a homeless shelter.”

Janet Jolley, MSU Extension agent in Marshall County, suggested various alternatives to handing out traditional candy to trick-or-treaters.

“Some alternatives to the traditional Halloween candy would be individual bags of pretzels, goldfish or popcorn,” Jolley said. “You could also hand out stickers, holiday-themed pencils, temporary tattoos or small toys.”

Jolley pointed out that there are positive health benefits related to giving children items other than candy, including helping children who may have food allergies.

“Salty snacks would have a lower sugar content compared to traditional candy and would provide a higher nutritional value,” Jolley said. “Toys would also be good alternatives.”

Jolley encouraged parents to plan for their children’s Halloween experiences.“

If they have eaten a good supper before collecting treats, they will be less likely to overindulge on the front end,” she said. “Make sure all their items are safe for them and keep the candy out of reach for measured access.”

For more Halloween tips, visit the Extension for Real Life Blog at

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