Trick-or-treating and Halloween fun might seem like harmless childhood activities, but according to registered dietitian Diane Dressel with Mayo Clinic Health System, the holiday can have frightening consequences to those struggling with their weight.

“Halloween can be the first challenge to people watching their weight as they approach the holiday feasting seasons of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s,” Dressel said. “You can move Halloween festivities beyond just candy.”

Dressel is a program coordinator for Mayo Clinic Health System’s Weight Management Services, and offers the following advice: Halloween candy packs a punch. Hard candies contain 110 calories per ounce; chocolate bars are 150 calories per ounce. Even the innocent looking fun-sized candy bars average 100 calories each, meaning 10 of them could easily exceed 1,000 calories. A child’s caloric intake for an entire day is typically 1,800.

Minimize trick-or-treat temptations. Hold off on buying Halloween candy too early to minimize snacking. Don’t purchase your favorite candy. Consider sugar-free gum, small bags of pretzels or fat-free candies. Forego sugary treats altogether by giving out stickers, temporary tattoos, bouncy balls, yo-yos, colorful pencils or pencil toppers.

Make your Halloween party a scream with healthy snacks. Veggie or fruit platters with fat-free dips, fat-free popcorn and sugar-free gelatin can be real crowd-pleasers.

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