Healthy Halloween Candy: The Not-As-Bad-for-You Halloween Treat

healthy halloween candy

Unreal candy is made from all-natural, fair-trade ingredients. / Photo by Scott M. Lacey

American kids will carry home about 600 million pounds of commercial Halloween candy this month. And as they sleep, parents everywhere will begin the age-old process of tossing out the bulk of the booty.

That’s what Michael Bronner was doing two years ago when his 13-year-old son, Nicky, caught him in the act. When the boy asked for the candy back, Bronner—the founder of Digitas—challenged him to explain why he should be allowed to eat as much of the junk food as he wanted. Nicky’s research led him to a long list of ingredients that were both unpronounceable and unappetizing. “I knew candy wasn’t health food,” he recalls, “but I never realized how bad it was for you.”

That was the inspiration for Unreal, a father-son joint venture that makes healthier versions of popular sweets. Besides saying no to corn syrup, chemical dyes, and much of the sugar, the Bronners say they get their ingredients in ways that support farming communities and prevent rainforest destruction.

That’s nice, but how does a kid from Brookline dent the $30 billion candy industry? It doesn’t hurt to have endorsements from Tom Brady and Wes Welker. A little financial boost helps, too. Boston-based private equity firm Raptor Consumer Partners has invested in the company (they wouldn’t say how much), helping Unreal candies get shelf space in CVS, Staples, and Target. Consider Halloween saved.

—Steve Holt