Popular candy items during Halloween. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Popular candy items during Halloween. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Halloween is only days away and many students have already picked out a costume. Even if playing dress-up isn’t part of this year’s Halloween plan, grocery trips might lead to the desire to consume some of the brightly wrapped candies lining the aisles. This week, Janele Bayless, wellness coordinator at the Student Wellness Center, shares her knowledge on candy consumption and costume safety.

Q: There’s candy everywhere this time of year, and it can be pretty tempting to eat a lot. How much is too much? How much candy is it safe to eat in one sitting?

A: Research shows people typically eat more food with larger portions, according to the Centers for Disease Control in 2006. To prevent yourself from overindulging in Halloween treats, check to see if you’re hungry first! If so, have a small meal or snack first to curb your appetite and lower your chances of overeating. Aim to include a protein or dairy source with a grain, fruit or vegetable. Examples include apple slices with peanut butter, hummus with vegetables and yogurt with granola. Other ways to set yourself up for success are to limit how much Halloween candy you keep at home or have in a day. Try limiting yourself to one bag of candy every one to two weeks or allowing yourself to have 250-500 calories of a treat per day. Most types of Halloween candy are available year round, so Halloween doesn’t have to be the only time you allow yourself a treat.

Q: Do you have any tips for staying safe at Halloween parties?

A: First and foremost, create a plan before going out. When it comes to transportation, always have a sober friend or family member who you can call to give you a ride. As always, our primary focus should be on our health and safety when we go out to party. There are many ways to “party smart.” If you decide to go out, I think first and foremost you should stay with your close friends from the beginning of the night, all the way until you get home. Look out for your friends, and never leave them alone or let them wander off. Being an active bystander is so important when it comes to staying safe while drinking. Additionally, there are many ways that you can reduce the risks associated with heavy drinking. Set limits and pace yourself, alternate between alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, eat before and while you are drinking, avoid drinking games … the list goes on.

Q: The weather forecast puts Halloween in the 50s this year. Do you have any tips for those going out in dark costumes late at night on a possibly chilly night?

A: It comes down to being observant and aware of your surroundings. If you are in a dark costume, it will be much more difficult for drivers to see you when crossing the streets. Stay in well-lit areas and always use crosswalks to cross the street. If you are going to be out walking around at night, always use the buddy system and look out for one another. If you are looking for a safe ride home, the Campus Escort Service, 614-292-3322, is great and runs until 3 a.m., or a call a taxi or Uber. Lastly, dress for the weather!