Halloween is a ghoulish nightmare for some parents, and not just because of the spooks and spirits! While candy is half the fun for many kids, it can be hard on dental health and, for some kids, can cause sugar-related behavior problems.
Experts advise that total deprivation can lead to an unwanted increase in candy cravings, making sweets irresistible. Instead of banning Halloween treats, let your kids enjoy trick-or-treating and holiday parties and snack on sweets through the special night. Floss and brush well, then use November 1st to discuss and implement a candy-eating strategy. Some dentists recommend letting your child choose a set number of favorite treats, then giving the rest away, while others suggest letting them keep all their booty but managing when and how it’s eaten. Eating candy at a specific time each day, such as after school or after dinner, can help keep a child’s teeth from the harm of all-day sugar exposure. Flossing, then brushing and rinsing with a flouride rinse, is recommended by the American Dental Association. If your child has trouble relaxing at bed time, rethink the after-dinner sweets and, instead, make room for candy consumption earlier in the day (but still at a set time, and followed by a toothbrushing).
Some suggestions for using up Halloween candy more quickly include baking it into cookies and cakes for the family to share and looking for charities in need of sweet donations. You might consider saving some chocolate candies to crumble into a Thanksgiving dessert!
Finally, the U.S. Army accepts donations of unopened candy for troops overseas, mailed to the following address:
CA ARMY NATIONAL GUARD
17330 VICTORY BLVD.
VAN NUYS, CA, 91406
ATTN: RICH HERNANDEZ