October 19, 2021

Best Halloween Candy for Kids — And Which to Avoid

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Kids Halloween 2022

It’s that scary time of year again, and I’m not just talking about the time when we squeeze into sexy cop and witch costumes (get it, mama!).

I’m talking about artificial dyes in Halloween candy. 

Artificial colors a.k.a. food dyes are added to foods to make them look prettier. They've been linked to organ damage, cancer, and birth defects in animals. In humans, food dyes have been linked to behavioral problems like hyperactivity and ADHD in otherwise normal children.

The FDA defines a color additive as “any substance that imparts color to a food, drug, cosmetic, or to the human body”. This definition conveniently leaves out a little side note:

Food dyes are man-made, complex chemicals that were made from petroleum. petroleum is a crude oil product, which is commonly used to also make gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt (the sticky black stuff that a driveway is paved with), and plastic.

In 2016, Mars made an announcement that it would remove all artificial colors from its human food products by about 2021. 

Looks like they haven’t made much progress…

No candy is technically “good for you” but don’t be a weirdo, let your kid live a little there are other options that can give you more peace of mind, especially if you have really little kids and have more control over what they’re eating.

I get it, depending on how many trick or treaters you get, you may not be able to afford to get the whole neighborhood dye-free treats, but you can always buy them for your own kids, for their class, or for a Halloween party you host. 

If you’re committed to buying only dye-free Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters, here are some links to make it easier to shop! This is a round-up of the safest candy for 2 and 3-year-olds, who are just beginning their fascination with Halloween, and whose brains are the most at-risk for problems associated with artificial dyes.

Best Prices for Dye-Free Halloween Candy

The following brands/stores offer individually wrapped dye-free treats:

  1. Unreal Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups — soft candies are great for toddlers!
  2. Golly Lolli's
  3. YumEarth Organic Pops — 40 lollipops for $6.41!
  4. YumEarth Giggles
  5. Justin's Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
  6. OCHO Organic Minis — Awesome deal on a variety pack!
  7. Smart Sweets Lollipops
  8. Organic Gummy Bears
  9. YumEarth Favorites Variety Pack
  10. Annie's Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks
  11. Annie's Organic Snack Variety Pack — Cheddar Bunnies + Bunny Grahams
  12. Assorted Halloween Stickers — 100 sheets

Obviously, going HAM on Halloween candy isn't good for anyone, even if it is dye-free or a “better for you” version — candy is still candy! But I know most moms want their kids to participate and want them to have fun on this festive holiday, so hopefully, these options will give you some peace of mind when your kid comes home with enough candy to last all year.

The Switch Witch

One amazing idea I came across from a mom on the ‘gram was to institute a “Switch Witch” tradition. Every Halloween, her kids go trick or treating and come home with massive amounts of candy. She lets them eat a few pieces before they go to bed that night, they have the option to leave their candy out for the Switch Witch! The Switch Witch comes while they're sleeping to collect their Halloween candy, and in exchange she leaves them toys — they always choose this option so she ends up donating the rest of the candy. How awesome is that? The kids still enjoy Halloween and they also get to choose between candy and a toy, kind of like a mini Halloween. And the mom doesn't have to worry about her kids going ham on sugar for the next several weeks. Win-win!

Candies to Avoid

Basically any candy with a “color” — like Skittles, Starburst, candy corn, Swedish Fish, etc.

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