The dark side to Halloween: marketing unhealthy products to our children?

Gillian P Porter and Nathan J Grills
Med J Aust 2013; 199 (8): 528-529. || doi: 10.5694/mja13.10722

Halloween is becoming increasingly popular in Australia, but what are the public health implications?

The use of fictional characters and festivals to sell unhealthy commodities is well established. Both Santa Claus and the Easter bunny have been employed to influence people, especially children, towards unhealthy behaviour.1,2 Each year, on 31 October, an increasing number of witches and wizards darken the doors of Australian households, demanding free junk food. The rising popularity of Halloween in Australia leads us to question whether confectionery manufacturers are exploiting Halloween to increase sales to children. If so, might Halloween represent a public health risk?

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  • Gillian P Porter1
  • Nathan J Grills2

  • Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC.



We thank Rob Moodie for his advice on terminology, content and approach to this article.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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