Be Sugar Smart at Halloween

Halloween is a time of great fun – costumes, spooky stories and of course ‘trick or treating’. If your child goes trick or treating, it is very likely they will end up with a huge amount of sweets and treats. 



While there is nothing wrong with small amounts of sweets and treats occasionally  – can you imagine this?

5 fun size chocolate bars

5 tiny packets of sweets

1 carton of juice drink

35 teaspoons of sugar!



A high sugar intake isn’t healthy for anyone – with or without diabetes.


For Children with Diabetes

For a child with diabetes, excitement and extra activity can make blood glucose levels behave differently.  If your child’s Halloween plans involve a lot of running around or doing a lot of trick-or-treating, it’s best to be prepared. Test, and make sure you’ve got something suitable to treat a hypo (e.g. jelly babies, Lucozade, dextrose tabs etc). You may need to carry a follow-on snack like a cereal bar, piece of fruit or a sandwich.


Try to encourage children to wait until they get home to dive into their loot, not forgetting to count the carbohydrates and adjust insulin as needed.


To help make sure healthy eating isn’t scared away in favour of sugar overload, here are our tips:



  • Eat before you trick or treat – having a healthy meal before your children go trick-or-treating can reduce their temptation to feast on their treats while out and about.



  • Choose the container wisely – be sure to use a container that is size appropriate for your child. Small plastic pumpkin baskets are readily available and inexpensive and will prevent an unnecessarily large haul of sweet treats coming home – avoid using large shopping bags, school bags, pillow cases!



  • What about putting a limit on the amount of treats children can collect, and the number of houses they can visit – you may want to agree this with them in advance though!



  • Remember, Halloween is only one day – agree on what to do with sweets and treats not eaten that day i.e. give them away, or use them for occasional treats.



  • Take the focus away from sweets and treats – bring back old fashioned Halloween games – have a fancy dress competition, decorate scary masks, bob for apples, have a pumpkin carving contest, host a zombie party and tell ghost stories – the options are endless.



  • Disguise the healthy options – Serve familiar healthy meals and snacks disguised under a Halloween theme. Soups and casseroles can become a witches brew, dough balls can be renamed eye balls and fruit drinks a devil’s punch – let your imagination run riot.



  • Offer healthier options such as plain popcorn, fruit, bottles of water to trick or treaters who call to your door, or consider non-edible items – stickers, badges and plastic spiders / eye balls are inexpensive and available in the discount shops.




Old-fashioned Halloween Games help to
take the focus off treats and are great fun


Bobbing for Apples

Float apples in a large basin filled with water. The object of this game is to grab one of the apples and remove it from the water using only your mouth. Hands must be kept behind player’s backs.


Be prepared with towels as the players generally get quite wet.


Pass the apple

Line up the children in two rows, the same number of children in each line.


They have to pass the apple to the person behind them only using their chin, without using hands or dropping the apple. If the apple drops a team must start from the beginning again.


Snap Apple

Tie strings around apples and suspend them from the ceiling, a tree branch, or even use the washing line. You may need to adjust the length once your players arrive so they are at mouth height or lower.


Each player must attempt to eat the entire apple without touching it with their hands. Another prize can be given to the person who gets the first bite out of their apple. It is quite tricky, and you may want to change apples for donuts for younger children.


Apple Paring

Each child gets an apple, fruit knife and a plate with all being as close as possible in size and quality.


The children each have to peel their apple, with the winner being the one who produces the longest and narrowest peeling. In times past the person then threw the apple peel over their left shoulder and the letter which the peel resembled was the first initial of the person’s future husband or wife.


Ghost Stories

Setting the scene for a scary story is what is needed for maximum effect. Your story could be a real life haunting, a classic ghost story, or an urban legend. Candles, strange noises and even a hidden prankster (to jump out at the right moment, or squeak some floorboards) will all provide suitable ‘fright’.


Post Mortem/Autopsy

This Halloween game is well known and can be made much creepier by blindfolding the guests and passing around the contents of the ‘corpse’ (something gooey) while all of your guests cringe at the feel of their gooey hands!


Ghost in the graveyard

One player, the ghost, hides. Meanwhile, the other players stay together at a spot designated “base” or “safety” (such as a lighted porch), and count loudly in unison, “One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock,” and so on, all the way up to “midnight,” at which point they all head off in search of the hiding ghost.


When a seeker spots the ghost, he yells, “Ghost in the graveyard!” and, along with everyone else, runs back toward base. The ghost lets loose a ghostly scream and chases after the seekers, trying to tag as many as he can before they all reach base.


Who gets to play the part of the ghost next depends on which version of the game your group prefers, but usually it’s the first player tagged.


Bairín Breac

Various things are baked into the loaf, including of course a ring. It is seen as a form of divination for the year ahead. This is a traditional game and the hidden objects signify different things:

Ring – marriage

Coin – wealth

Rag – poverty

Thimble – old maid

For more information , please see 

Lastly, remember to help your children make healthy choices as they go. They can still enjoy the bounty of their trick-or-treating efforts, just so long as it taken in moderation, and part of a varied balanced diet.



Revised – October 2019