Even though we are a dental office, we understand that Halloween is great fun and we’d never tell parents not to indulge their kids (and themselves) around one of our favorite holidays. But stretching out the eating of those huge buckets of candy should have its limits. Tooth decay is unlikely to occur after a few days or even a week of munching on sweet treats. However, keeping sticky, sugary Halloween candy around for weeks or even months after the holiday has passed can wreak havoc on your kids’ teeth and oral health in general. Therefore it’s good to come to an agreement with your kids after a set amount of time as to when the candy craze will have to come to an end.
So what to do with all of that leftover candy? There’s usually just too much to consume responsibly, yet throwing it away seems wasteful. But if you get creative, there are actually a number of things you can do when the annual candy haul has exceeded all expectations:
- Use it for Christmas gingerbread houses or other holiday baking (Peanut butter cups baked into cookies? Yes, please.) - Give it away at work. - Keep it for other events, but make sure the children don’t know where it’s located. - Roll pieces individually twisted into a long chain of plastic wrap. Cut off a single piece each day for each child and you have a great countdown “calendar” to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas! - Many charities will take candy donations, including Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Ronald McDonald House, Operation Gratitude, Any Soldier, and most food banks.
- Having a New Year’s Eve party? How about doing a pinata for the kids? Most candy doesn’t spoil for a long, long time and leftover Halloween candy would make an excellent pinata stuffer.
With so many options, there’s really no need to waste all of the treats your children bring home. By finding alternatives to eating all of that extra candy, you and your family can definitely still enjoy the holiday, while fending off tooth decay at the same time!