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The Scariest Halloween Treats

These high-calorie Halloween goodies can be deadly to your diet.
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Summer vacations are a distant memory, a chill is in the air, and scary decorations, creepy costumes, and candy-packed grocery aisles are clear signs that Halloween is on the way. Kids spend hours planning the perfect costume to romp the neighborhood in pursuit of a pillowcase full of candy. But many parents dread the season -- not because of the festivities, but because of all the calories from the Halloween treats that are so plentiful this time of year.

Halloween is the beginning of the feasting season, which lasts all through the holidays. If you are like 60% of overweight Americans, you're looking to keep your weight in check or even lose a few pounds -- not blow your diet by mindlessly eating fun-size candy bars.

"One day of splurging on a few small candy bars won't hurt most kids or adults, but unfortunately there is so much candy that the indulgence goes on for days, even weeks, and that can spell dietary disaster," says Marilyn Tanner-Blasiar, MHS, RD, a pediatric dietitian at the Washington University School of Medicine.

Halloween Candy, Desserts, and More

All it takes is an extra 100 calories a day to pack on 10 pounds in a year. Just one piece of Russell Stover chocolate-covered pumpkin caramel has 150 calories and 7 grams of fat. A fun-size Reese's peanut butter cup has 110 calories and 6 grams of fat. And these are not the worst candy offenders.

Even more frightening is the fact that it's not just the candy that makes Halloween a weight control nightmare. Halloween desserts are equally scary.

"Walk into any grocery store and witness decorated cupcakes with one inch of frosting and iced and candy-coated cookies that are land mines of fat, calories, and sugar," says Lona Sandon, MEd, RD, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Further, many restaurants spice up their menus with pumpkin, spice, and gingerbread seasonal specials that can be nutritional nightmares.

"Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A for eye and skin health, a good antioxidant if you bake it or use it to make soup. ... But this time of year, most pumpkin foods and drinks have lots of sugar, fat, and whipped cream, which strips away the nutritional goodness," says Sandon.

Here is a look at the most fattening Halloween foods and beverages, along with tips on better choices.

Fattening Halloween Treat No. 1: Full-size Candy Bars

In general, the bigger the bar, the more calories it has. "Dispersing large candy bars invites kids to overeat, and they are expensive, so do your neighborhood kids a favor and pass out fun-sized bars, or better yet, sugar-free gum, pretzels, stickers, or pencils," says Tanner.

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