Trick or Treat, Smile so Sweet

Halloween is the most exciting night of the fall for children and families of all ages. Kids spend months leading up to that special night dreaming of the perfect costume and the piles of candy that they will collect throughout their neighborhood.

For parents and dentists, it can be a different story. While piles of candy sound like a treat to the little ones, sugar rushes (and crashes) and cavities sound more like a trick to the rest of us.

To help families ensure that their kids have a great Halloween (without ruining their teeth), we have come up with some ways to cut back the sugar after a night of Trick-or-Treating:

Hand out toys instead of candy

Trade that bag of “fun-sized” candy at the grocery store for cheap bead bracelets, temporary tattoos, tiny games, small toys, or mini bubble bottles from your local party store (and they’re better than a rock, right Charlie Brown?) Kids and parents will love the fun, smile-friendly treats in their pillowcases this year!


Sweet Store

Growing up, the best part of Halloween was after Trick-or-Treating when all of us kids would go back home, dump out our candy and start trading with as much enthusiasm and intensity as the New York Stock Exchange. This year, sweeten the pot a little and have toys, games, or homemade coupons that your kids can trade their candy for.

For older trick-or-treaters, trade candy for cash or chore coupons. These have been some of our favorites:

5 pieces of candy = you don’t have to make your bed 1 morning

10 pieces of candy = you don’t have to do the dishes

25 pieces = an extra hour of TV

50 pieces = family movie night of your choice

100 pieces = new movie/game/toy


Halloween Candy Buy Back

Some local businesses participate in a national incentive to use excess Halloween candy to support troops fighting in the United States Armed Forces. These businesses will give you or your child $1 per pound of candy and send that candy in care packages to troops overseas, along with dental care products. Have your child send a thank you note or message to the troops along with their candy and use their money to buy a new toy or game. A full list of participating organizations can be found at www.halloweencandybuyback.com.


Candy Calendar

After Halloween is over, start the countdown to your child’s next favorite holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, New Years Eve) using their Halloween candy! Have your kids create a Candy Calendar the morning after Halloween and place a piece of candy on each day (think Advent Calendar) for the next few weeks instead of eating it all in one weekend.