Trick or Treat: Is your Halloween Candy Worth the Splurge?
By Author Name
Oct 26, 2018
Updated Nov 17, 2023
5 min read
’Tis the season for all things pumpkin spice and Halloween. But before you steal candy from your kids (you’re just saving them from a sugar rush, we know) or dip into your trick or treat stash between doorbells, try these quick calculations. Because as much as we like to believe calories don’t count on a holiday, they do. (Sorry :/) So, check out the “this or that” scenarios below to help you decide if the candy bar is worth it or if you should just give it to the next ghoul that shows up at your door.
These cute and festive chocolate treats are very deceiving when it comes to their nutritional makeup. And while the pumpkin shape works for the holiday, they’re actually oversized peanut butter cups. Two pumpkins will cost you 170 calories, 10 grams of fat and 17 grams of sugar. That’s almost as much fat as a small order of french fries at your favorite fast food restaurant.
Fun size means smaller and healthier, right? Not exactly. One mini Snickers will only set you back 80 calories, but that little candy bar packs a whopping 12 grams of fat. That’s as much fat as a standard-size cheeseburger!
Now this is a fun-size candy bar we can (kinda) get. Coming in with only 3.6 grams of fat and 7 grams of sugar, this snack isn’t nearly as bad as some of the other candy you’ll find in the plastic pumpkins. In fact, KitKat’s have less than half the amount of fat as the ranch dressing you dip your healthy carrots in, so…
Snack-sized M&Ms seem like a safe splurge, but these chocolate bits have 13 grams of sugar. That’s almost twice the amount of sugar in a marshmallow Peep (which is a lot considering those are made of sugar!). If your sweet tooth is craving a few bites of sugar, try a healthier ice cream option like Halo Top where you can get one serving for around 80 calories (vs. the 95 in a small bag of M&Ms) and only 6 grams of sugar!
We shouldn’t have to tell you that just because this treat has an apple at its core (get it, core?) that it’s not really healthy. According to the MyFitnessPal database an apple alone has roughly 60 calories. Then add the caramel AND the nuts and you’re looking at 280 calories and 18 grams of fat on a stick. Dipping apple slices in a dipping sauce is a bit better (around 130 calories per tablespoon) but still not great. Still thinking about the splurge? A six-piece chicken nugget actually has fewer calories and six fewer grams of fat than a caramel apple — plus a healthy dose of protein, to boot! We’ll just let that sink in.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t enjoy some Halloween treats. In fact, indulging in bite-sized treats now and then is great for your taste buds and your brain. But maybe just don’t trick yourself into thinking they’re too small to do any damage. When you do sneak a treat — from either side of the sweet/savory spectrum — be mindful of portion sizes and enjoy each tasty bite mindfully.
Tell us, what’s your favorite Halloween treat?