The Calorie & Sugar Cost of Halloween Treats

Halloween treats

Halloween is upon us and if you’re like me, I get a little “baked” on the availability of Halloween treats.

“Baked” as in “stick a fork in me, I’m done.”

I wouldn’t begrudge a child the experience of trick-or-treating, nor the opportunity to go a little crazy with candy. But…there are costs to the whole candy thing.

Yes, yes, I know the big grab bags of candy are now over $10 (unbelievable!), but I am talking about the calorie and sugar cost of candy. 

{Get your FREE printable here.}

Halloween treats fill buckets and pillowcases with mini-bites of Snickers, KitKats, and JuJube boxes.

But what’s the low down on calories? And sugar?

Calories and sugar in Fun-size Halloween treats. Click To Tweet

Inquiring minds want to know.

If you’re like me, you’re guilty of occasionally justifying multiple handfuls of those mini-bad boys. 

Don’t get me wrong—I am not anti-candy—I am pro-awareness.

Halloween poses its own set of candy management challenges. You need to pay attention to how much you and your kids are eating.

Insider Notes on Halloween Treats

  • Most of the mini or snack size versions contain 10% (sometimes less) of the calories I typically allot for Fun Food. In other words, one or two Halloween treats per day is fine, on average. But look at the big picture—how do these treats stack up when considering what’s eaten during the whole day? During the week?
  • The mini-versions are much easier to manage over a full-size candy bar. 
  • Sugar content is important to note because there are added sugar guidelines for children. While these Halloween treats are blatant sources of added sugar, you can track how they fit into the whole day, especially when consumed with other sources of sugar.

It’s pretty safe to say that most kids are getting far more than the recommended amounts of sugar in their diet. This is due to consumption of soda or other sugary beverages, hidden sources of sugar (cereal, yogurt), and blatant sources, like candy and desserts.

Recommended daily sugar intake (based on the age of your child):

  • 2-3 years: 4 teaspoons (16 grams) of added sugar per day
  • 4-8 years: 3 teaspoons (12 grams) of added sugar per day
  • 9-13 years: 5-8 teaspoons (20 – 32 grams) of added sugar per day
  • 14-18 years: 5-8 teaspoons (20 – 32 grams) of added sugar per day

While Halloween is certainly a highlight of the year for many kids (it sure was for me!), it doesn’t have to take your child’s diet down several notches.

Keep your eye on how much your child is eating on a daily basis, and help him enjoy it without being too restrictive or too lax

Check out these other Halloween posts from years past:

Food Allergen Content of Halloween Candy

Halloween Candy: Artificial Food Dyes

Damn You, Food Allergy

For a downloadable, FREE handout detailing some of those fun-size Halloween candies, along with their calorie and sugar contents, click here.        

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  1. I love reading all the differing opinions on how to handle halloween candy. Needless to say, it’s a challenge for parents! Can you explain why the recommended intake of sugar is lower for 4-8 year olds compared to 2-3 year olds?

    1. Hi Jessica,

      The American Heart Association makes this recommendation and suggests that there are higher nutrients needs during the 4-8 year period allotting less room for sugar. Honestly, this doesn’t make a lot of sense to me–i would think it would be opposite–lower for 2-3 year olds. Yale recommends a flat 3-4 teaspoon limit for children and the higher amounts of 5-8 teaspoons for pre-teen and teens. WHO takes a different approach and says limit it to 5-10% of total calories in kids. You can see there is a wide range of recommendations…I think the point is to keep it as low as you can without being restrictive. In my opinion–children under 2 years shouldn’t have any! (which I know will make some parents mad at me)…but when you consider flavor palate development, inherent preferences, and high high nutrient needs, sugar in the baby and young toddler diet doesn’t make sense.

      1. Thanks for sharing all the recommendations. it didn’t make sense to me either that 2-3 year olds would have a higher sugar allotment. Agree with your overall approach as well, to try to keep it low without being restrictive. This will be the first year my girls will really be aware of what is going on and what all the candy is. We’ll see how it goes!