I love Halloween. It’s scary and blustery and otherworldly. But from a nutritional perspective, Halloween is a nightmare. Even here in health-conscious Vermont, Halloween can be a trick for those cute little Trick or Treaters. Let’s take a look:

Chocolate Tootsie Rolls are comprised of sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, condensed milk, artificial cocoa flavoring, whey, soy lecithin, orange extract, and natural and artificial flavors. But look at the bright side, Tootsie Rolls are Gluten-Free, Peanut-Free, Nut Product-Free, and they are Kosher since 1896!

Snickers ingredients are: milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, skimmed milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor), peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, skimmed milk, butter, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lactose (a milk product), salt, egg whites and artificial flavor.

Kit Kat. Give me a break…here’s the list: milk chocolate (sugar, modified milk ingredients, cocoa butter, unsweetened chocolate, lactose, soya lecithin, polyglycerol polyricinoleate, artificial flavor), wheat flour, sugar, hydrogenated soybean oil or modified palm oil, unsweetened chocolate, sodium bicarbonate, soya lecithin, yeast, artificial flavor.

“Modified” is believed by many consumers to be a euphemism for genetically engineered. Hydrogenated oil cannot be assimilated by the body and gets stuck in the arteries. According to Wiki Answers, “this Candy Bar is not good for human consumption.”

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: Milk Chocolate (Milk Chocolate contains Sugar, Cocoa butter, Chocolate, Nonfat Milk, Milk Fat, Lactose, and Soya Lecithin and PGPR (as Emulsifiers), Peanuts, Sugar, Dextrose, Salt, and TBHQ.

PGPR, or polyglycerol polyricinoleate, is a yellowish, viscous liquid composed of polyglycerol esters of polycondensed fatty acids from castor oil.  TBHQ, or tertiary butylhydroquinone, is an antioxidant that comes from petroleum and is related to butane

According to Natural News:

Consuming high doses (between 1 and 4 grams) of TBHQ can cause nausea, delirium, collapse, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and vomiting. There are also suggestions that it may lead to hyperactivity in children as well as asthma, rhinitis and dermatitis. It may also further aggravate ADHD symptoms and cause restlessness. Long term, high doses of TBHQ in laboratory animals have shown a tendency for them to develop cancerous precursors in their stomachs, as well as cause DNA damage to them. It is also suggested that it may be responsible for affecting estrogen levels in women.

Now I’m terrified…

But don’t give up on the holiday. Just read your labels and don’t be tricked! Or choose some non-candy alternatives. Among my favorite are temporary tattoos, bubbles and sidewalk chalk.