There is so much to be excited about this time of year! Spooky decorations, creepy costumes, and fun traditions bring out the kid in all of us! But if the fear of sweet treats leading to scary cavities is haunting your Halloween fun, West Maple Pediatric has a few tips and tricks to keep your trick or treat sweet!
- Keep it Fun!
Remembering that candy is actually just a small part of the Halloween experience can take the edge off of your oral health anxiety. Any time it pops into your head, think of three other things that make the season such a blast! Haunted houses, scary movies, silly costumes, the Monster Mash! The sight of your little pumpkin having so much fun is sweeter than any milk dud could ever be.
Plan a few special days to walk with your family through the neighborhood and scope out your neighbor’s decorations. Visit the Omaha Children’s Museum for some spooky fun, or carve pumpkins at Rockbook Village on October 19th.
The Old Market will host a book-or-treat event and fall festival on October 27th. Learn more about it at https://www.facebook.com/events/743415669429195/
The whole season is a blast, and the treats are more than a handful of candy. It’s sweet memories made with the little ones you adore!
- Be the Change You Want to See
You’re not the only parents trying to get out of the cavity club! Consider supply tricks and treats that are easy on the teeth! Stickers, pencils, temporary tattoos, mini notebooks, books, and puzzles all make excellent trick or treat gifts! Check out the area Dollar Tree, or visit Oriental Trading Company for endless non-sweet treat options for your trick or treaters!
- Celebrate the Sweet Moment
Trick or treating is FUN! Kids look forward to it all year, often thinking of what next year’s costume will be while they head home from this year’s trick or treat. Having multiple places to show off their costumes and enjoy the holiday makes the memory! But multiple stops can mean mountains of candy! You don’t want that inside your child, so what do you do?
Rather than banning Halloween candy entirely, set a time of day for the treats to be enjoyed. Depending on your children’s age, let them choose a number of their favorite candy. This can be 10, 12, however much you feel is enough to enjoy without overindulging. Set the candy aside with each child’s name on their stash, and get rid of the rest. (We have ideas for that coming up).
Now pick a time of day… maybe right after school while you all sit and talk about your day, maybe right after dinner when everyone has finished their vegetable, and choose a candy to enjoy. No tv, no phones. Take the time to let them savor their sweets and be mindful of the satisfaction they’re getting from it. Once the moment has passed, it’s time to either rinse with water or head straight to the tooth brushing station!
Studies strongly indicate that being overly restrictive with sweets can lead to a difficult relationship with food and your body, and can result in binging. Allowing time to indulge, and keeping the focus on enjoying the moment rather than medicating a bad day with candy, or mindlessly snacking while doing other activities can make candy enjoyable without becoming addictive or something that needs further attention.
- You Reduced, Now Reuse!
Once your family has chosen their favorite treats, what do you do with the rest? Remember, trick or treating isn’t really about the candy at all. It’s about the uninterrupted fun of time with their parents, showing off their costume to people who will lavish them with attention, and having fun being a kid. The candy is just an excuse to get out the door!
Getting rid of the surplus is easier than you may think!
Call around to local nursing homes and see if they’re interested in having some brought in for their residents. Many elderly patients don’t have a lot of visitors, and having your child put on their costume one more time and deliver their extra candy to people who missed out on the fun this year could brighten up a lot of hearts!
Be sure to call first, as some facilities have visitor restrictions, and dietary considerations must be taken into account.
Do the same with Children’s hospital. Many kids would welcome a fun costumed visitor dropping off just a little of the sweet stuff (as their diet allows) and including them in the holiday fun!
Check out Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages to troops deployed overseas. Include a hand drawn note sending your thanks to those serving our country who may be missing a little sweetness from home this season!
Save what’s left, whether that’s poorly wrapped sweets or the inedible stuff that makes its way into the bag every year. Set it aside and repurpose it in the upcoming season’s gingerbread house!
- Cleanup Can be Fun, Too!
This is a good time to gift your child with a new toothbrush! While you know that replacing their toothbrush every three months is important, a new brush in a particularly sweet season will ensure a better clean! Finding an especially fun toothbrush can make cleaning fun!
Target offers electric toothbrushes for just $5, and finding a character your child loves might mean they’re brushing better and longer than before!
Order a pack of disclosing tablets to help your child see what part of their mouth they may be missing when they’re brushing, and you’ll have a clean checkup this fall!
Halloween should be fun, for them and for you! We hope these tips help you have a sweet season with your little pumpkins!
Happy Halloween from your West Maple Team!