How To Help Your Goblins Gobble Healthier This Halloween

It's Critical That Children Discover Ways to Make Halloween Fun AND Healthy

Halloween is surely among the most fun-filled nights of the year. It's also one of the most indulgent; a holiday where maxing out on sweets is often the primary goal.

The super-sized nature of Trick-or-Treating is running headlong into a young America facing an obesity epidemic. And adults aren't helping. According to the National Retail Federation's 2012 Halloween Consumer Spending Survey, 75.7 percent of adults will hand out candy—the highest number in at least seven years. The average adult will spend $24.25 on Halloween candy, up nearly 19 percent from three years ago. That's a new record.

Experts agree that most American kids consume between 3,500 and 7,000 calories from candy at Halloween. Dr. Donna Arnett of the University of Alabama's School of Public Health estimates that to burn off 7,000 calories of candy, a 100-pound child would have to walk roughly 44 hours or play 14.5 hours of full-court basketball.

It's adults' responsibility to help kids enjoy Halloween with fun and exciting alternatives to the three pounds of refined sugar that the California Milk Processors Board says is found in the candy filling the typical jack-o-lantern. One substitute is non-food treats. Stickers, pencils, temporary tattoos, soap bubbles, or small toys from a dollar store can replace sweets. So can raisins, granola bars, roasted pumpkin seeds and other healthy treats.

Another option is nutritional snacks, like Funky Monkey Snacks. "As with most things, moderation is the key," said Matt Herzog , Funky Monkey Snacks' president. "By substituting healthier alternatives for part of the typical sugar- and fat-laden treats, kids can celebrate Halloween while also learning to make better choices."