I have been a dentist in Tigard, OR for over five years, but just yesterday, I was asked a question I have never heard before. A patient asked me if there were any alternatives to giving out candy on Halloween. I was first caught off guard by such a great question, but I soon reflected on my childhood and days of Trick or Treating for a good answer.
So let me share with you five ideas I came up with as I talked to my patient about alternatives to candy.
1. Money! Who doesn’t like money? When I was kid, I would always walk away from a long night of Trick or Treating with at least a dollar or two in coins. Many times I was handed a fist full of pennies, but I do remember one time receiving a dollar bill (that was the rich neighborhood). Money is a great alternative! What kid doesn’t like to hear the sound of a few coins in their piggy bank? Plus you are teaching a life principle, money management. If my kids walked away from every house they went to with a nickel or dime, they could have between five and ten dollars (they would have to be pretty speedy to reach $10).
2. A healthy alternative to candy can be Halloween pretzels, Goldfish, or other non-sugary snacks. Just go to your local grocery store and they are sure to have a variety of non-sugary Halloween treats. Now you might not be the envy of the neighborhood, like the guy handing out whole candy bars, but you can feel good that you are helping balance the Trick or Treaters’ diets.
3. Spider rings, Halloween pencils or pens, Halloween erasers, Play-Doh or Halloween notebooks. Now some of us probably think that is going to be one expensive Halloween handout, but actually it can be quite the opposite. A bag of those spider rings can be found at a Dollar store along with many other Halloween non-food items.
4. Glow in the dark items such as necklaces or bracelets. Not only do kids love these, but they are also safe to wear while out on Halloween night and by the next day they can be thrown away. Be cautious with young ones as they will want to take a bite on those glow in the dark items and that stuff can be toxic.
5. Bottles of water or other healthy juices. Most kids will be running around trying to collect as much candy as possible. A refreshing health beverage like water or juice is perfect to quench their thirst. If not used on Halloween night they can be used in their school lunches.
These are just a few things you can do other than hand out sugary candy that is bad for teeth. This year Dr. Justin Marostica of Tigard TenderCare Dental will be handing out tooth brushes designed especially for Halloween. Check them out and call 503-670-7088 to get your very own Halloween toothbrush!