Let the Great Pumpkin help your child enjoy Halloween while avoiding some of the many cavity-causing treats. Not only can sugar from Halloween candy make a typical rule-following child’s behavior go haywire, but sugar can also wreak havoc on a child’s teeth. Consider an alternative to letting children eat all that candy this year by enjoying a new tradition.
Dentists from across the United States have started the Great Pumpkin movement which encourages parents to ask children to trade in some of their candy in exchange for a present on Halloween night. The child leaves the candy on the doorstep for the Great Pumpkin (i.e. parental guardian) to visit Halloween night and take, and in return, the child receives a special gift. The more candy the child leaves, the bigger the present they get.
Children can still enjoy the Halloween festivities of dressing up in costume and roaming the neighborhood for candy with their friends. However, they don’t have to sacrifice their healthy diet and dental health by consuming mass quantities of candy. By starting this new tradition, kids will still get a treat in the end. It is a win-win for everyone.
Still worried about the deluge of candy coming into the house? The best way to approach Halloween this year may be to have a plan. Teach your children about the Great Pumpkin before Halloween to get them excited, and work with them to map out which houses they want to visit on Halloween night. Set a curfew for trick-or-treaters as well as a curfew to stop handing out candy. Having a plan will help limit the excessive amount of candy your child collects.
After trick-or-treating ends, sift through your child’s candy and remove anything that is not in a wrapper, looks suspect or that you would prefer your child not eat. Set limits on how many pieces of candy your child may eat per day. Don’t ask your child to leave all of her candy for the Great Pumpkin, let her keep her favorites and set out the rest. At the end of the night, be sure your child brushes and flosses her teeth and keeps up the habit at least twice a day every day, especially before bedtime.
Once you have collected that huge bucket of candy, you may ask, “What do I do with all this candy?” Consider sharing it with your coworkers or donating it to a non-profit like Operation Gratitude that sends treats to our troops, Ronald McDonald House or a local homeless shelter. That way, all that candy can be shared among many people rather than just one.