Halloween health: least healthy candies and safety guidelines

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – When it comes to health, dietitians say some costumes and Halloween treats are scarier than others.

Every Halloween, Nurse Practitioner Taylor Mckeowen says the number one health hazard for kids is a long costume that trails the ground.
“A lot of those costumes are very long, whether that be a dress, drape or cape,” he said. “That’s going to put that child at risk for falling. We want to prevent that.”

He said not to allow your children to wear masks, because they greatly increase the risk of injuries and suggests testing face paint or makeup on a small patch of skin before applying it everywhere.

“If your child is going to be putting on that facepaint, avoid doing that, and secondly, if your child is going to be wearing makeup on Halloween night, go ahead and take the time today beforehand to test it on a little patch of skin,” he said.

To make your children more visible to drivers on the road, he suggests adding bright florescent tape to candy buckets or on costumes.

After trick or treating, Bon Secours St. Francis Registered Dietitian Alyssa Bransley recommends asking your kids which candies are their favorites, then only giving them 2 or 3 pieces of those candies a day.

“You can always do something like offer a healthy snack with a piece of candy,” she added.

She said dark chocolate candy is the best choice, citing antioxidant benefits. “It’s been shown to lower blood pressure (and) reduce heart disease,” she said. Skittles, though high in sugar, she said also is low in saturated fats.

Bransley said candy corn is the least healthy candy option, and Reese’s is among the least healthy candies.

“(Reese’s) is very high in saturated fats and overall calories,” she explained.

Bransley suggests only giving soft candies to kids age 3 and up, hard candy only to children above 5 years old, and gum or blow pops to children aged 6 or 7 and up.

Mckeowen and Bransley say parents should always go through their kids’ candy buckets as soon as trick or treating is over to make sure candy packages are sealed and that there are no sharp or dangerous objects.

To submit a health question for our series, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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