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Practical tips for trick-or-treat snacks

Is sugar overload inevitable?

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As soon as back-to-school season begins, it seems like Halloween is just right around the corner. We purchase new decorations and plan pumpkin-picking trips, but we also think about what our own kids will get while trick-or-treating, because that’s when the sugar-infused inundation begins.

Due to the large amount of candy acquired that night, many parents limit the number of sugary items that their kids are allowed to ingest in the days following the big event. Others let their kids enjoy their loot on Halloween night but ship it out to shelters and food pantries the day after. (Of course, many parents steal a few treats here and there, which lightens the load considerably.)

Whatever method you choose for Halloween candy consumption, remember that too much of a good thing can have residual effects. Sugar overload can make kids hyper after they eat it, and sluggish and groggy the next day.

Are you wondering what are the best treats to give out to trick-or-treaters at your door? Here are some things to consider:

Keep it safe

First and foremost, make sure that what you give out is age-appropriate and as non-allergic as possible.

Try to avoid handing out candy with peanuts in it. Parents of allergic children are cautious, but it’s nice when you can have the peace of mind that any child who comes to your home will be able to safely enjoy your snack.

Avoid handing out large hard candies and gumballs, which pose a choking risk, especially to small children. There is nothing worse than seeing people hand out oversized rock-like circular candies to toddlers. It happens every year.

It goes without saying that parents need to inspect each piece of candy before giving any to their child. Throw out anything with opened wrappers or looks otherwise old or tainted. Watch out for candy from foreign countries where there is no Food and Drug Administration mandate for food quality.

Make it nutritious (or at least less junk-like)

Calorie wise, there are a few things you can give out if you are looking to avoid adding to the pure sugar overload: fruit-based snacks, pretzels, or individual packs of Goldfish and Cheez-its are a few. Apples are still an option, of course, but you’ll surely lose points with the neighborhood kids in the “cool” department.

It also doesn’t have to be food-based. Brightly colored pumpkin and witch pencils, stickers, and rings are always a big hit with kids.

Mind those teeth

Chocolate is better than anything sticky for teeth, so avoid gummy worms and bears, Starbursts, and anything else that causes a glue-like bond between the teeth, which can loosen fillings and crowns. Don’t give out any sour candy because even though kids love them, some dentists compare it to battery acid on the enamel. Sour and gummy is a recipe for disaster!

Dentists also tend to agree that a one-time candy splurge on Halloween night won’t hurt a child’s teeth. It is repeated exposure that will cause damage.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Danielle Sullivan, a mom of three, has worked as a writer and editor in the parenting world for more than 10 years. Sullivan also writes about pets and parenting for Disney’s Babble.com. Find her on Facebook and Twitter @DanniSullWriter, or on her blog, Just Write Mom.

Updated 5:30 pm, December 9, 2016
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