ROYERSFORD PA – Some area families are expected to spend hours creating perfect costumes for both a spooky Halloween and its locally scheduled accompanying parades. The scariest part of the holiday, though, according to doctors, may be the amount of fat, sugar and calories consumed by trick-or-treaters.
In visiting just 15 homes on Halloween night, or in picking up edibles distributed along parade routes, the average trick-or-treater can collect up to 60 pieces of “fun-sized” candy. A recent hospital study that looked at the content in a bag of typical Halloween treats found it to be equivalent to 4,800 calories, one-and-a-half cups of fat, and three cups of sugar.
“Halloween and candy are synonymous, but it’s important to provide sweets in moderation and focus on the fun and family time of the event … not the candy,” says Dr. Stephanie Walsh, medical director of child wellness at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which conducted the research.
That fun includes the parades, now planned for:
- Boyertown, Saturday (Oct. 20) at 7 p.m., starting at the Boyertown Elementary School, Boyertown Junior High West, and Federal-Mogul parking lots. A Sunday (Oct. 21) rain date is planned. The parade is sponsored by the Boyertown Jaycees. For more information, call 610-385-4797;
- Birdsboro, Saturday from 4-7:30 p.m., leaving from Daniel Boone Senior High’s east parking lot, off of Garey Road. Parade registration is 4-5 p.m. The parade is sponsored by the Birdsboro Rotary Club. An Oct. 27 (Saturday) rain date is planned.
- Royersford, Oct. 22 (Monday) at 7 p.m., on Main Street from Third to Seventh avenues.
- Pottstown, Oct. 24 (Wednesday) at 7 p.m., with the parade route traveling High Street. The parade is sponsored by the Pottstown Rotary Club; and
- Collegeville, also Oct. 24 at 6:30 p.m., starting behind Schrader’s Service Station on Main St. For more information, call Joe Greenwald at 610-220-6454.
Candies with rich ingredients such as chocolate and peanut butter have the highest sugar and fat content, Walsh says. Many specialty Halloween candies, such as candy corn, contain unhealthy amounts of sugar if not consumed in moderation.
The physician suggests providing plenty of water with the sweets, and setting aside time to be active to burn the extra calories consumed; supplying kids with a nutritious meal that includes fruits and vegetables before going to gather candy; and talking to children in advance about boundaries for how many pieces of candy will be eaten on parade or Halloween night (only three to five recommended).
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