Halloween can be a fun time of year for many kids. Dressing up in their favourite costumes and gathering treats from neighbours and friends.
Eating a lot of sugary treats can cause plaque on the teeth and create acid. This leads to tooth decay and potentially cavities. Here are some options that may work better than sugary treats.
Non-Food Items or Toys
Many dollar stores or party stores carry non-food items that work well for Halloween treats. Stickers or bookmarks, bubbles, notepads and pencils or erasers, or small toys. There are a lot of options when it comes to non-food treats. You can even get creative with homemade or minis of playdough or slime.
Mini Water Bottles
Trick or treating kids will undoubtedly be getting candy and sugary treats from other households. Help them wash those treats down with a mini water bottle. If you want to be creative, print out fun, Halloween theme labels to put on the bottles.
Grab some oranges and draw faces on the peel of the fruit (using non-toxic ink) to make jack o lanterns. A fun and healthy Halloween treat. Apples or other fruit are a good option too.
Goldfish Crackers or Pretzels
Small bags of goldfish or other crackers or pretzels provide a welcome change to other sweet treats. Most kids will love to get this Halloween snack in their bag.
Packages of gum are a treat for many kids. Look for sugar-free options and those containing xylitol. Some gums can even be good for your teeth, stimulating saliva production which can help to carry away food, rinse bacteria, and strengthen teeth.
Other Healthy Halloween Suggestions
Depending on your neighbourhood and/or budget, there is no limit to creative options. Coupons or gift cards from a local store or kid-friendly location; lip balm works for everyone, books, LED lights or reflective strips, homemade science, craft or game kits with instructions; whistles; roasted pumpkin or chickpeas (include name and address); cookie cutters for crafts or dough.
Blue and Teal Buckets for Halloween
There are two initiatives it can be helpful for community members to be aware of. One is for individuals (children or adult) carrying a blue bucket. This is an indication that an individual may be on the autism spectrum. While not supported by Autism Canada, some parents are adopting the practice so it is good to be informed if you’re handing out treats.
The Teal Pumpkin Project is an initiative of FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education). By using a teal pumpkin at your door, you indicate that you have non-food trinkets or treats that are safe for children with food allergies. If this is something you’re participating in, you can add your house to the map to let trick or treaters know you have a non-food treat.
Tips for Parents For a Healthy Halloween
- Have a healthy meal to fill kids up before they go out trick or treating.
- Rather than using a pillowcase, choose a smaller size to collect treats in.
- Check expiration dates and all edibles before kids eat them.
- Plan in advance how much kids will be able to eat. Most candy can be frozen so kids can consume smaller amounts in moderation over a longer period of time.
Follow Local Guidelines
Remember to have a safe Halloween and follow recommended local guidelines. Do what is comfortable for you and your family.
By following these tips, we hope to prevent a child (or adults that have secret Halloween stashes) from developing a cavity. If you do notice any changes in your or your child’s oral health, please book an appointment to see Dr. Beeram at Beach Grove Dental Tsawwassen.