Children in Halloween costumes trick or treating with an adult handing them candy

Five Ways To Avoid Scary Treats For A Healthier Halloween

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

As a child growing up, Halloween is one of the best times of the year. They get to play dress-up in their favorite costume. They get to stay up late with friends and family. And of course — they score an insane amount of sweet treats. As a parent, it would be wise to step in on that last one. We're not saying to take all the sugar and fun out of the holiday. Nope. But — we do have a few helpful ways to make Halloween delicious, nutritious, and safe for your little one. Check out these 5 tips on keeping the scare tactics on the tricks rather than the treats.

1. Choose the Right Candy

It may come as a not-so-scary surprise to some, but not all candy is created equal. Hard, sticky, and sour candy are usually the ones to watch for your oral health. These candies either quickly get stuck to their teeth or stay in their mouth longer, giving sugar to bacteria, which could lead to tooth decay. A simple chocolate bar is actually their best bet as it quickly disintegrates in their mouth. And if you can swing dark chocolate with less sugar, even better.

2. Find a Candy Buy-Back Program

There a lot of healthy Halloween tips out there, but here's a different one worth remembering. A little bartering from a buy-back program with your child may do the "trick." Many dentist offices and health-oriented businesses collect Halloween candy and offer up to $1 per pound. The candy is then donated to a worthy cause. When was the last time a $5 toy of their choice caused a cavity? Now, 5 pounds of candy, that's more likely. There may be no candy, but it's a sweet deal for everyone.

3. Binge, Don't Graze

Halloween isn't a month-long holiday celebration from late November to late December. It's one night. So it's best to condense the snacking for everyone's own good. It's simple —after trick-or-treating, give your child or children a small window of time to enjoy their goodies. But also provide them water, milk, and other healthy snacks as they're chomping and chewing. Variety is the spice of life. The sooner your princess or pirate learns that, the better their oral health.

4. Opt for Healthy Treats

Pre-packaged candy is what we all know and grew up on. But since we all eat with our eyes first, making healthier alternatives that look more enticing than lollipops or taffy will do wonders for their smile. Your options are really endless:

  • Pumpkin oranges
  • Banana ghosts
  • Cheese Stick fingers
  • Monster Mouths
  • Veggie Skeletons

The great thing about these is that your kid will find them fun to look at and yummy to eat. And you'll love it because of the fruit, veggie, or protein you were able to hide. Now that's a Halloween costume to be proud of.

5. Don't Forget to Brush

Whether it's the last day of summer or the last evening in October, kids and adults should be brushing twice a day and flossing daily. While brushing for 2 minutes is recommended, it wouldn't hurt to shoot for 3 minutes on the 31st after they've come down from their sugar high. It's better than making a trip to the dentist in November to treat the cavities that have formed on their fangs. Now that can be really scary.

The ADA also has ideas for making your child's Halloween both healthy and fun. If you can avoid the hard, sticky candy and snacking all day while providing water and other healthy food options, your child's smile will be quite boo-tiful.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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