OPINION: On Halloween, the Treat is the Trick

Photo by Sebbi Strauch from Unsplash.

Halloween is just around the corner, and while it may appear to be filled with the joy of dressing up and collecting candy, there are multiple overlooked dangers that plague this beloved holiday. While it may be easy to get lost in the Halloween fun, it is important to keep your safety in mind by being aware of the following risks:

  1. Unhealthy candy

High-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, and artificial flavors and colors can all be found in Halloween candy. According to NPR, the company that makes Skittles has been sued for using titanium dioxide in their candies, a blue food dye that can build up in your body and has been linked to causing cancer. The Environmental Working Group documents that Swedish Fish, Starburst, Sour Patch Kids and many other popular sweets contain titanium dioxide. High-fructose corn syrup can cause type-2 diabetes. As reported by Medical News Today, partially hydrogenated oils have trans fat in them that can increase the chance of heart disease occurring.

  1. Painful cavities

As documented by USA Today, 4 percent of the candy consumed in an entire year in the U.S. is eaten on the day of Halloween, which amounts to roughly three cups of sugar per child. The result is a lot of rotting teeth. The Guardian reports that, in 2014, emergency visits to the dentist were 80 percent higher on Halloween compared to any regular October day.

  1. Severe allergies

CNN reports that one in every 13 children under 18 years of age in the U.S. suffers from food allergies. The Smithsonian Magazine documents that allergic reactions to peanuts and tree nuts rise by 85 percent on Halloween. A lot of candies get mixed together and cross-contaminated on Halloween, making it difficult for trick-or-treaters to determine which candy they might have an allergic reaction to. Since many allergies can be severe and even deadly, this can be dangerous.

While it may be tempting to gorge on Halloween sweets, it is important to keep in mind that despite the candies’ alluring taste and colorful wrappers, most of them contain hazardous ingredients that should never be consumed if you want to live a long and healthy life. If you check the ingredients in common Halloween candies, you will see that the “treats” are the most terrifying part of the holiday. Forget ghosts and zombies — what you should really be afraid of is developing a mouthful of cavities or other health issues. So, consider checking the ingredients in the candies you eat and opt for healthier alternatives like candies made with honey, maple syrup, natural colors and organic ingredients as opposed to the previously-mentioned unhealthy ingredients.