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Dr. Gwenn: Trick Or Treat Fun And Safety

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Halloween is a much anticipated event in my household, even with my girls solidly in middle school now. I think the attraction of the day is doing some thing so childish no one wants to admit it's fun. Think about it! How often can we all do the toddler dress up thing and actually get away with it without anyone batting an eye? Plus, don't forget the sinful treats....

The candy part of Halloween causes a bit of a panic in some families but really shouldn't. Part of being healthy is learning to eat everything in moderation and that includes the occasional indulgence.

The key is to plan for it. Ideally, we'd have all our kids out and about the entire week before to preburn some calories - but that hardly happens. Trick or Treating itself is a calorie burning event so don't discount that - just keep the candy eating at the end to a piece or two.

As the next few days march on, the key is to allow a piece or two of candy but with increased activity. You could even go so far as to make it a cause and effect: if you want candy, you will move more. Making it fun - go outside as a group and walk around the block or toss around a ball. Increase your child's activity for 20-30 minutes more each day your child eats candy and that will sufficiently buffer the extra calories.

I wouldn't suggest keeping the candy around indefinitely - after all, it is a treat. In my house, we give it really just the equivalent of a long weekend. In past years, we've given away the candy but this year I've stumbled upon a new idea: my dentist is collecting candy for $1.00 a piece. That sounds like a great idea!! And, to make good use of the funds, I'm thinking of using that money for Toys For Tots when the winter holidays roll around. I bet your community has some sort of candy swap - make a few calls or check with your dentist.

Finally, since Halloween occurs in the dark, involves costumes that have all sorts of accessories, and there are often pumpkins lit with candles, it's important to consider a few simple safety tips.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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