A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Shelley Shearer: This Halloween, start a trend and provide out-of-the box ideas for non-sugar treats

Soon it will be time for little Zombie’s, Captain America’s and a Mary Poppins or two to run from house to house eagerly awaiting Halloween treats. Since they are inevitably going to haul in a ton of chocolate and sticky candy, why not start a trend and provide some out-of-the box ideas for non-sugar treats and experiences that will position you as the cool house on the block?

While the little goblins aren’t supposed to run, their excitement for the evening gets the best of them. All that activity makes them thirsty. They’d be grateful if you tossed a small bottle of water into their Halloween bag.

Not only will it quench their thirst, it will start to rinse away all the sugar from the candy they secretly already popped into their mouths. It’s a triple win: for the kids, for the parents and certainly for dentists who constantly preach about sugar-free mouths.

If water seems practical but a bit boring, consider this: most children are so excited about the impending two hours that they neglect to eat their dinner. So why not bring dinner to the kids and their parents? Haul the grill to the front yard, set up a table and some lawn chairs and cook some hot dogs.

It may not be the healthiest dinner, but it will fill their tummies with more than candy, provide a rest stop for parents and kids, and give neighbors a chance to get to know each other.

It doesn’t take a creative genius to stuff a tempting Halloween goody bag. The local dollar store is teeming with an array of Halloween-themed fun such as stickers, spider rings, puzzles, bouncy balls, notepads, pencils, erasures, bracelets and much more. Places them in a see-through Halloween-decorated bag and tie an orange or black ribbon at the top. It looks classy and fun. Plus, unlike candy, these toys last for weeks if not longer.

Parents are often grateful for glow necklaces. Also found at a dollar store, they provide fun and protection when crossing the street. Drivers will never have an excuse for not seeing a black-caped vampire if a glow necklace is worn around the neck. The glow necklaces also help parents keep track of their brood throughout the night.

Shelley Shearer

Last, some health-conscious residents enjoy purchasing healthy snacks in bulk to distribute Halloween evening. This may include apples, oranges, bags of low-calorie popcorn and individually-wrapped packages of string cheese.

Whatever you decide to do, dentists have one request: be sure your trick-or-treaters brush and floss after their candy binges.

And don’t forget: Nov. 1, the day that conveniently follows Halloween, just happens to be National Toothbrush Day.

Wishing you a safe, creative and low-sugar Halloween.

Dr. Shelley Shearer is graduate of the University of Louisville Dental School and Founder of Shearer Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Florence, the largest all-female dental practice in Northern Kentucky.

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