This post was originally published on October 6, 2015 and updated on October 22, 2020.

Shoppers are loading up their carts with chewy, crunchy and sour snacks for little goblins, princesses and superheroes. A recent survey reports that 90 percent of us will buy the sweet stuff this Halloween, spending more than two billion dollars on candy. It’s no wonder that environmentally conscious moms are worrying about the effect all this packaged candy is going to have on their kids and our planet. Thankfully, American companies are increasingly using environmentally friendly ingredients such as Malaysian sustainable palm oil in their products. Stores are carrying a larger selection of organic treats as well as ecologically friendly non-food treats. But this good news doesn’t mean this holiday is without spook. Read on to learn what deserves your attention and what ghouls can be laid to rest. What you learn about Halloween candy and palm oil may surprise you.

What to worry about

  • Sugar overload. Between school parties, trick-or-treating and overly generous grandparents, many kids end up with an enormous amount of candy. Let them indulge for a day or two, but don’t allow this habit to continue. The constant onslaught of high-sugar treats is bad news for kids’ teeth and their overall health. A better solution? Many dentists offer a candy buy-back program where your child can sell their candy for cash or exchange it for gift cards to local stores.
  • Tampered treats. Always inspect your child’s treat bag after a trip around the neighborhood. Toss any packaged candy that has a ripped, loose or punctured wrapper. Carefully inspect any snacks from unrecognizable brands. If a package is dirty or has a strange smell, trash it immediately. Toss any homemade treats made by strangers.
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Worry less about

  • Ingredients that endanger rainforest animals. Many American food manufacturers are now using environmentally friendly ingredients in their recipes, such as Malaysian sustainable palm oil. This rich and creamy non-GMO oil, once blamed for deforestation, is sustainably grown and produced in ecologically progressive country of Malaysia. The country’s strict laws prohibit any practices that harm native wildlife or their environment.
  • Packaged treats. Individually packaged treats aren’t the best for the planet, but they are unavoidable at Halloween. When shopping for giveaway treats, look for snacks wrapped in recyclable materials. Candies and raisins in individual boxes are a better choice than a plastic-wrapped lollipop. If you’re handing out non-food treats, consider usable items such as pencils and coins, instead of plastic toys that quickly get broken and tossed.
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