Your Halloween candy binge-eating survival guide

Resist temptation by buying candy the little urchins like a lot more than you do.

Halloween. Is there anything more adorable than wee little Spider-Mans, Ariels, assorted monsters and princesses ringing your bell and hollering “trick or treat?”

You are well-prepared, ready to fill the giant jack-o’-lantern bowl with a vast array of chocolate, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and fat-filled treats. Sure, it’s junk food, but it’s only once a year, and those restless tykes will likely burn off the calories before the candy reaches their little tummies.

There’s just one issue: You bought an enormous stash of candy two weeks ago and have eaten 70% of it yourself. Those fun-sized Snickers are your version of crack, and after wolfing down six in one sitting, well, there’s nothing fun about them.

I know, because I’ve done this myself.

What to do? I suppose you could go the route of a colossal curmudgeon and skip the candy, batten down the hatches, kill the lights and hunker down in your “closed for business” house, but you’ll miss the joy and delight of interacting with the neighborhood children. Or you can instantly earn a reputation as the biggest jerk on the block by handing out raisins, Cutie oranges, gluten-free date bars or, God forbid, non-edible stuff such as stickers and crayons. Alas, the risk of retaliation by the older kids (a TP’d vehicle, smashed pumpkins, an egged house, to name a few offenses that went down in my childhood neighborhood) simply isn’t worth it.

Halloween candy can drive many otherwise healthy eaters to binge, but there are simple solutions. For minimal damage to your waistline and well-being, take these three steps:

■ Buy the candy on Halloween Day, and not one day beforehand. Having it sitting in your pantry a week ahead of time is asking for disaster. Purchase it just a few hours before trick or treat time for minimal temptation.

■ Do not, under any circumstances, buy the treats you find irresistable. I can’t have Milk Duds in my house. I’ll tear open each and every one of those little boxes of evil and eat them until I feel ill — only to then spend the remainder of the evening picking caramel from my molars. I now know to purchase candies I don’t particularly like — or at least don’t jones for. I’m not so cruel as to only hand out Junior Mints (blecch!) to the costumed cuties at my door, but I will only buy treats that don’t drive me to gluttony. Plain M&Ms bore me, so they are a shoo-in for Halloween handouts. I find Sour Patch Kids revolting but the little ones love them, so there’s another safe bet. Gummy worms, Jolly Ranchers, Blow Pops — I’m not remotely enticed by these. Figure out what does and does not seriously tempt you.

■ If you bought an excessive amount of candy and Halloween attendance was poor, get rid of it all, pronto. I want it out of the house no later than dawn on Nov. 1. If this means throwing it in the garbage, so be it. Just don’t fish it out of the trash later on for an impromptu sugar bonanza. (Guilty of such, right here.)

Whether it’s trick-or-treaters, your child’s school Halloween celebration or a neighborhood costume party, these three rules apply. And if you do stuff yourself silly with Reese’s Pieces, shift to damage control by reverting back to your regular healthy eating habits as soon as possible.

And on Oct. 31, go buy a 5-pound sack of Atomic Fireballs for those adorable urchins at your door.

Catherine Bongiorno is a personal trainer, nutritional therapist and owner of Lift To Lose Fitness & Nutrition. Email her at info@lifttolose.com or visit www.lifttolose.com for more information.

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