Halloween candy: How much is OK for kids to eat?

With Halloween just around the corner, parents across the U.S. are scrambling to buy candy to pass out to trick-or-treaters. 

Spending on All Hallow's Eve 2021 is projected to surpass $10 billion, according to the National Retail Federation – an all-time high, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The group's annual survey found that about 65% of Americans are planning to celebrate Halloween, or at least participate in Halloween-related activities. 

66% plan to hand out candy and the federation predicts that $3 billion will be spent on candy alone. 

But, there are some things to remember before sending your little pirate, astronaut or vampire out to the house with the big chocolate bars. 

Research from Coupon Follow last year found that Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of Halloween candy every year and that the average American eats 3.4 pounds over Halloween.

Kids, they say, consume up to 7,000 calories on Halloween and the average trick-or-treater consumes around three cups of sugar.

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The 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines for Americans says that children aged 3-17 should have no more than 10% added sugars as part of their diet – but experts say that some candy is fine as long as their diet is well balanced.

While eating sugar on Halloween is part of the fun, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to make sure your child does so safely. 

In a post on the agency's website, it said to remember a few tips before going trick-or-treating. 

The FDA says candy should not be eaten until it has been inspected at home, labels should be checked in case of a food allergy, children should not eat anything that isn't commercially wrapped, commercially-wrapped products should be checked for signs of tampering and parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards.

In addition, the administration recommends eating a snack before heading out to avoid the temptation of eating treats before they have been inspected.

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In its own guidance, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended people eat healthier and warned about tooth decay

"Keep Halloween candy at bay. Care for teeth the right way – brush with a fluoride toothpaste each and every day," it advised.


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