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Delaware Health and Social Services

DHSS Press Release

Date: October 28, 2015

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498


Dover (Oct. 28, 2015) - The extra weight and tooth decay that can sneak up on kids from a sweet tooth can be frightening. The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) recommends serving healthy Halloween treats instead of calorie-laden candy. There are more Halloween alternatives to sweets than ever before. Consider the following options:

  • Mini boxes of raisins;
  • Mini bags of fresh fruit and vegetables such as apples, grapes, carrots, or celery;
  • Mini bags of dried fruit or vegetable "chips";
  • Squeeze fruit, fruit chews, or fruit rolls;
  • Mini bags of trail mix made with whole grain cereals;
  • Peanut butter or apple sauce in single-serve containers;
  • Individually packaged granola, cereal, soy, yogurt, and fig bars;
  • Mini bags of pretzels, animal crackers, mini rice cereal or granola bars, or whole grain cheddar cheese crackers; and
  • Small bottles of water and sugar-free hot chocolate packets.

If candy is served, choose bite-size candy bars that are lower in fat and sugar. Non-food treats are increasingly popular at Halloween. Try these:

  • Pencils, erasers, crayons, and coloring books;
  • Stickers and tattoos;
  • Glow sticks and glow bracelets;
  • Play-Doh containers, play foam, and bottles of bubbles;
  • Toothbrushes and tiny containers of hand sanitizer; and
  • Coupons to a local yogurt store or a roller-skating rink.

"Halloween is a special time for treats and fun," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "And, there are many fun and healthier alternatives to candy and sugary soda. Offering healthier treats and non-food items is good for your little ghosts and goblins, and adults, too."

Children and adults should follow the 5-2-1-Almost None lifestyle goals: eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day; spending no more than two hours a day of recreational time in front of a screen; getting one or more hours of physical activity daily; and drinking almost no sugary beverages. Daily calories should be high in fiber, low in sugar and sodium, and contain essential vitamins and minerals.

Tips for trick-or-treating safety:

  • Parents should walk with their children when trick-or-treating and stick to familiar neighborhoods. Do not let them go alone! Teach children never to go into strangers' homes or cars. In case young children become lost, put a nametag with two phone numbers on their costumes. Children should know their home phone number and how to call 911.
  • Choose light-colored costumes that are labeled "flame-retardant," meaning the material will not burn. Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags. To prevent tripping, kids should wear athletic footwear, with pants and dresses hemmed. Costume glasses, hats, wigs, and beards should not cover eyes or mouths. Do not cover eyes or mouths with masks and instead use non-toxic face paint or make-up, testing it first on the child's arm.
  • At home, turn on outside lights and remove any tripping hazards. Walk on well-lit sidewalks and driveways with flashlights. Use crosswalks and never assume that vehicles will stop for pedestrians. Insist that trick-or-treaters walk, not run or ride bicycles at night.
  • Avoid candles and other flames, and unknown pets.
  • Discard treats that are unsealed, have holes in the packages, are spoiled, or are homemade treats that were not made by someone you know. To prevent choking, do not allow young children to have hard candy or gum. To prevent over-eating and weight gain, store treats out of sight and dole out one or two daily.

For more Halloween health and safety tips, visit

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person's spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

Last Updated: Wednesday October 28 2015
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