As Halloween approaches, children’s views and perceptions were measured by experts and revealed that kids agree that they eat too much candy and would actually prefer to receive a gift like a video game, instead.

A new questionnaire, conducted by the American Dental Association and PopCap Games, targeted trick-or-treating aged children (5 to 13 years) in the U.S., inquiring about their views on Halloween.

The researchers found that around 94 percent of all American children participate in trick-or-treating, and 65 percent of them think Halloween is the best holiday of the year. However, the survey also found that a vast majority of kids are ready for changes regarding the holiday.

Other top findings included: Two-thirds of kids questioned agreed that they eat too much candy during Halloween, while 89 percent reported that they would still like the holiday if it was not candy focused, but rather, aimed towards other types of fun. Ninety-three percent of children surveyed would prefer to receive a video game instead of candy while trick-or-treating.

The most-liked Halloween activities are “trick-or treating” (75 percent), “Dressing up in a costume” (71 percent), and “Getting lots of candy”(66 percent).

Over three quarters of children surveyed (78 percent) agreed with the statement “too much candy is bad for me”, and two-thirds (67 percent) report they eat too much candy near Halloween. Out of the chidlren who were questioned, girls (82 percent) were slightly more likely to respond favorably than boys (74 percent) to the statement: “too much candy is bad for me”.

Of the children surveyed, 89 percent reported they would still like Halloween if it was less about candy and more about other types of fun. Also, 93 percent of kids said they would rather receive a free video game over a piece of candy while trick-or-treating. In reference to obtaining cavities from eating too much candy around Halloween, 42 percent of children questioned said they worry about this.

An effort was announced earlier this month called the “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign. It provides parents, dentists, and other adults with trading cards and coupons for a completely free copy of PopCap’s family friendly video game, Plants vs. Zombies. This is encouraged to be handed out as a healthy alternative to candy during Halloween.

Thousands of ADA member dentists have ordered Stop Zombie Mouth kits to decorate their offices and provide free collectible trading cards and game vouchers for their patients to encourage a more nutritious Halloween.

Written by Kelly Fitzgerald