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Halloween Candy

Halloween Safety

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Updated November 10, 2008

A lot of people complain that the fun has been taken out of Halloween, as fewer kids go trick-or-treating in their neighborhoods and many children go to Halloween carnivals, Halloween parties, or simply go to the homes of people they know.

Wherever they go though, kids usually come home with a lot of Halloween candy...

And while collecting and eating Halloween candy is part of the fun of Halloween, in this day and age of the childhood obesity epidemic and overeating, eating too much candy on Halloween and the days and weeks that follow can be a problem.

Can't you make an exception for Halloween? Well, parents already make too many exceptions for other holidays, regular birthday parties, and snacks after soccer games, etc., so you should think twice about how much candy you let your kids eat, even on Halloween.

That doesn't mean depriving them of candy altogether, but you should be thinking about allowing them to eat their candy only in moderation, which is a good lesson for any day of the year.

Halloween Candy Safety

Of course, you want to make sure that the candy your kids do eat is safe, and that means inspecting everything he brings home before he even gets a chance to eat any of it.

To make sure your child's Halloween candy is safe, be sure that you:

  • check the ingredients if your child has any food allergies
  • look for choking hazards, including hard candy and chewing gum, if you have younger children
  • throw out unwrapped treats or anything that looks like it may have been opened or tampered with

Halloween Candy Plan

If you want to make sure your kids don't come home and gorge themselves on their Halloween candy, it can help to have a plan in place even before you go trick-or-treating.

As a part of this plan, you might:

  • discuss how they can have a certain number of treats when they get home, but they must put the rest away for later. Unfortunately, depending on how much Halloween candy they get, 'later' can linger for days, weeks, or months, so you should also come up with a plan for this left-over Halloween candy
  • allow them to keep a certain number of pieces of candy or a certain percentage of what they collect and then give the rest away to a food bank or other charity
  • set a limit on how much candy they can collect on Halloween and don't let them fill up bag after bag after bag...
  • let them trade in their Halloween candy for something they have been wanting, like a video game, book, toy, trip to the movies, etc. or for fewer pieces of their favorite candy or treat
  • prepare a healthier alternative to the Halloween candy that they will bring home, including fruits, sugar free treats, etc.
  • offer them alternatives to halloween candy as a trade for their candy when they get home from trick-or-treating, which itself is a lot of the fun on Halloween for many kids, and not so much eating the candy itself
Also, make sure your kids eat dinner before going trick-or-treating so that they won't be so hungry before they get home.

Remember though, that when you are talking to your kids about why they can't eat all of their candy, you don't need to say anything like, 'you can't eat it because you're on a diet,' or 'it's too fattening.'

Instead, simply say that eating too much candy is not part of your family's healthy eating plan or that it is not good nutrition.

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