How to avoid sugar crash during Halloween

Halloween candy season is ramping up and sugary treats are available everywhere1.

Even at the best of times, Halloween can be a tricky holiday for people trying to live healthier lifestyles. Whether we have kids young enough to trick-or-treat, or we just enjoy handing out candy to the little ones in the neighborhood, many of us end up with LOTS of candy sitting around the house for weeks after trick-or-treating has passed2.

Eating a few pieces of candy might not make a difference, but overindulging could lead to a host of mood and behavioral disruptions.1

The body responds to sugar intake by releasing insulin, a hormone that pulls blood sugar (glucose) into cells to be used for energy and helps manage blood sugar levels. Too much insulin could cause blood sugar levels to drop or “crash,” leading to symptoms like shakiness, anxiety, sleepiness, headaches, and more. 1

This stress response can make people feel edgy and irritable. While people might eat more sugary foods to compensate for these feelings, it will lead to another sugar crash, creating a vicious cycle. 1

The Halloween Sugar Rush

The average 4- to 8-year-old today consumes about 50 pounds of sugar each year. This sugar spike takes a toll on kids’ microbiome health, neurotransmitter function, and immune system, and places them at higher risk for serious problems later like obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver. In fact, a 1973 study showed 100 grams of sugar (which is about what’s in a 2 liter soda) inactivates immune cells for up to an hour–yikes! 3

Along with a lot of sugar, what makes today’s Halloween candy a problem is also the fact that much of it is made with man-made chemicals which hijack your child’s chemistry

Artificial sweeteners, food dyes, and downright frankenstein-esque preservatives would make even the scariest monsters quake in their boots. Most Halloween candy is made with high fructose corn syrup, and other chemicals that disrupt the body’s chemical messengers and trick us into eating and craving more. 3

7 tips to prevent a sugar binge

  1. Don’t buy candy too early on. Some people have no problem with bags and bags of candy in the house, but if you have trouble ignoring those fun-size treats, don’t buy them in advance. Instead, buy your Halloween candy the day before Halloween or even on Halloween itself. 4
  2. Shop for non-food treats instead. All holidays are about more than food. So, if you’re worried about eating too much sugar, put the emphasis on fun treats instead. Buy an assortment of spooky-themed items, like pencils and erasers, note pads, stickers, and bubbles. 3
  3. Eat a little, not a lot. When wanting to indulge in something sweet or sugary, just have a few bites.5
  4. Fight fire with fire: Satisfy your craving with naturally sweet foods. Put away the candy dish, which may have grown to bowl size thanks to Halloween. In its place, keep fresh, washed fruit conveniently ready to grab. Make it festive. Add plastic spiders, goblins, and mini pumpkins to the display. Mix up dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, and apricots. Mini-packs make great giveaways. 6
  5. Make Home made treats: Making goodies at home means that you know exactly what’s in them. You can make macro-friendly recipes that are still fun and feel like fall, which is the most important part! 7
  6. Eat a balanced, nutrient-dense meal before heading out for the big night. Once you add more fiber, fat, and protein to the stomach, then this is going to slow down the absorption of simple sugar,” she said. Having a meal before indulging in sweets could keep blood sugar levels from dropping too quickly.1 Be intentional about eating a real, PFC (protein, fat, and carb) balanced meal before dipping into your sweets stash. When you give your body the nutrients it needs, you’re less likely to find yourself mindlessly munching on sugary snacks. If you eat a great meal, drink some water, and STILL find yourself pining after that Reese’s Cup, then go ahead—enjoy just ONE, savor it, and then put them away. 2
  7. Get rid of the evidence: If you do find yourself with extra candy around once Halloween is over, get rid of it as quickly as possible. In our house, my son keeps his favorites (which he eats slowly over the course of many months), and we send the rest of it out the door. We like to gift wrap ours and donate it to residents at local senior centers or an organization that makes up treat bags for overseas military personnel. Just make sure you double check their protocol around socially distant/safe donation practices! 2

Healthier Halloween treats

Still want to opt for less sugar and a little better nutrition this year? There are plenty of kid-pleasing options to go for that parents will love too. These options have less sugar, and a little more fiber and protein, which can help bolster nutrition content and buffer a spike in blood sugar!

  • Pitted dates, stuffed with chocolate chips and drizzled with sunflower butter.
  • Coconut truffles sweetened with maple syrup and coated or drizzled in stevia sweetened chocolate.

For parents, dark chocolate (at least 80% cacao) is a great option for low sugar treats–with only 6 grams of sugar per half a bar, plus fiber which helps offset a blood sugar spike.

Healthy alternative recipe

Pumpkin spice almond butter cups8


  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup dairy-free chocolate chips (or chopped Paleo chocolate, like Hu kitchen)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup creamy almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
  • Sea salt, to taste (optional)


Step #1: Start by lining a muffin tin with liners and set aside.

Step #2: Next, add the coconut oil, chocolate chips, and raw honey to a medium-sized saucepan over low heat. Stir until the mixture starts to melt.

Step #3: Add the pumpkin spice, cocoa powder, and vanilla and whisk well.

Step #4: Add about 1 tablespoon of the melted chocolate mixture to each lined muffin tin. Top with a dollop of almond butter and set in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Step #5: Pour enough of the melted chocolate mixture to cover the dollop of almond butter and place back in the freezer to set for another 15-20 minutes.

Step #6: Sprinkle with sea salt and store the almond butter cups in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to enjoy!

More healthy Halloween recipes

Click on the link below for more healthy and adorable Halloween ideas and recipes.


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Nada Eltom

Nada Eltom (Hungary), CNP, CFMP worked as a physician (laboratory medicine specialist) in Hungary before immigrating to Canada where she earned her Certified Nutritional Practitioner, and a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner, designations. She completed her Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery in Semmelweis University, Hungary, her Holistic Nutrition Diploma from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, Canada and her Functional Medicine Certificate from the Functional Medicine University, USA.