There isn’t a kid in the world whose eyes don’t light up at the thought of the trick or treating frenzy on Halloween night. Parents, however, have the great task of monitoring every treat that their child brings home and living with the inevitable sugar rush. Halloween trick or treating can pose many threats for children; choking hazards, unwrapped candy, homemade treats, and food allergies are amongst the top food safety concerns. Not to mention an excess of empty and nutrient-void calories. But, as a rite of passage in American childhood, who are we to pooh-pooh all the fun?
Follow these safety concerns to enjoy a safe and fun Halloween holiday:
- Feed your children a power dinner before they venture out in their costumes. Lots of protein and fiber to fill them up, and plenty of veggies to counteract the inevitable chocolate overdose at the end of the night. Make it early enough so they can contain their excitement and the family dinner isn’t interrupted by continue door bell ringing of other trick or treaters! Whatever you do, don’t send them out on an empty stomach or you know exactly what they’ll be eating for dinner!
- Children shouldn’t snack while they’re out trick-or-treating. Urge your children to wait until they get home and you have had a chance to inspect the contents of their “goody bags.”
- Tell children not to accept – and especially not to eat – anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.
- Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.
- Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
- Consider tossing all candy the next day or at the end of the week. There are many places that gladly accept donations …. Halloween Candy Buy Back where dentists “pay” for returned candy and then donate it to American troops overseas (http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/), Operation Shoebox (https://operationshoebox.com), and Operation Gratitude (https://www.operationgratitude.com) offer similar options. A great way to help your child feel good about giving their Halloween treats away!