A Surprising Amount Of Halloween Candy Isn't Suitable For Kids

Certain shapes of candy are a safety hazard for young kids.

On Halloween night, every kid knows exactly what to expect: Dress up in a fun costume, say hi to neighbors, and be rewarded with a bucket full of candy bliss. As soon as trick-or-treating is over, it's time to dig right into the spoils—but one thing that might come as a surprise to parents is how much of the candy isn't necessarily designed with small mouths in mind.


The issue (aside from the sugar shock) is that some candies can pose a choking hazard, especially for younger kids. With input from a pediatric doctor, parenting site BabyCenter has compiled a handy list of popular Halloween candies that aren't generally considered safe for children under four. The list, as it turns out, is rather long.

These Halloween candies are a potential choking hazard

The shape and texture of these candies is what makes them hazardous, not the ingredients. The closer a candy is to the size and/or shape of a child's trachea, the more risk there is that a child will choke on it. Chewy candy is an issue as well, since anything we swallow that's not fully chewed can get stuck on the way down. Here are the high-risk candies for children under four, as laid out by BabyCenter:

  • Hot Tamales
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Candy corn
  • Jawbreakers
  • Tootsie Pops
  • Blow Pops
  • Whoppers
  • Milk Duds
  • Twizzlers
  • Skittles
  • Gummy bears
  • M&M's
  • Peanut M&M's
  • Reese's Pieces
  • That's not just an extensive list, but it's full of some of America's most popular Halloween candy. Luckily, though, there are plenty of other delicious big-name items that don't pose the same risks.

These Halloween candies are less of a choking hazard

The ideal treat for little ones is anything that largely disintegrates as we're chewing and before we swallow—a feature missing in products with a candy shell, since that takes much longer to dissolve. (Notice how many items above have candy shells.) In general, chocolate bars are a safer option, and to many little kids, that's the superior category of Halloween candy anyway.


Here are the sweets that BabyCenter says are less likely to be a choking hazard for young children:

  • Cookies
  • Cupcakes
  • Animal crackers
  • Butterfingers
  • Hershey's bars
  • Milky Way
  • Twix
  • Snickers
  • Kit Kats
  • Twix
  • Snickers
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  • As an added resource for parents this Halloween, St. Luke's Hospital has a useful guide outlining a child's choking symptoms, and what to do in the case of an obstructed airway. It's no fun to think about such things, but anyone trick-or-treating with young ones this year should bookmark it just in case of emergency. That way the grown-ups can do all the worrying while the kids have the time of their lives.