Halloween Candy: How to Avoid a Meltdown
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It’s almost here…that one night a year when you brace yourself for the sugar highs (and lows) of your little screaming goblin. Kids everywhere are counting down the days. Dentists are refilling their printer inks for all those upcoming bills. And parents are left wondering, “Should I let my child enjoy the sweeter things in life, or force them to dump their loot when they walk in the door?”
As a parent and a pediatric dentist, Catherine Robinette, DMD, has some educated opinions on the matter. According to Robinette, the concern is not the amount of candy, but the frequency. “There’s a big difference in sitting down and eating it all at once, versus chomping all day on something sugary and sweet,” she says. “Parents need to simply think about the amount of time that candy is spending in contact with their kids’ teeth.”
Many parents agree. Rebekah Morris of Cincinnati, Ohio says, “We used to do the ‘three pieces a day until it’s gone,’ but I simply got sick of seeing it around the house. So I give the kids three days. And then whatever is left, gets tossed.”
Deciding to be done with it all at once is one thing. Figuring out how to get your kids to go along with it is another. If you want it all to be over before the decorations are down, you need a solution with spark. Consider the following creative ways to make that candy disappear:
- Invite the Great Pumpkin to your house this Halloween night by having the kids pile all the sweets they haven’t gobbled onto the floor before they go to bed so that the Great Pumpkin or Halloween Fairy can magically turn them into a new toy or set of art supplies while they sleep.
- Set up a “November 1st Store” in your house. Let kids buy things like small trinkets, get-out-of-chore coupons, or movie tickets, in exchange for candy: 5 suckers for the cool flashlight or their whole loot for a new video game.
- Offer to trade it in for cold, hard cash. You can buy each piece from your child for a quarter.
- Turn this into a philanthropy opportunity for your whole family by taking some candy to your local rec center or food bank.
- Save a large pile to use on your gingerbread houses at Christmas time.
- Get creative with glue, and use the candy to decorate the rest of the pumpkins on your doorstep. A sweet-toothed Jack-o-Lantern is bound to bring out some smiles. Or trace your child’s hand, and glue the candies onto the fingers for some decorative Thanksgiving turkey displays.
- Crush up all the chocolate candy bars and use them to make ice cream sundaes. Or better yet, substitute the “chips” in some chocolate chip cookies, and bake some gifts for your neighbors!
When you’re thinking about what to put in your own bowl this Halloween, Robinette advises going for chocolate. “Candy like M & Ms really does melt in your mouth. That’s so much easier on teeth than gooey, sticky things that get stuck there all day.”
Denying your child the sweet treats of the season may prove to backfire, as forbidden pleasures usually become quite appealing. But finding a middle ground where both parents and kids are happy makes for a Happy Halloween!
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