Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trick-or-Treat: How Much Is Too Much to Eat?

(Full-size candy bars--notice Dad going for the Kit-Kat?!)

Even if you don’t allow your children to go trick-or-treating, many alternative Halloween events—including those at church—still involve passing out candy. Kids’ buckets fill up fast! So let’s talk about how much candy we as parents should allow our kids to consume.

Our pocketbook took a big hit from dental expenses this year (we don’t have dental insurance). Both my two- and three-year-olds (at the time) were diagnosed with 8 cavities, each. I know, I know. My oldest even needed baby root canals and silver crowns. They both had to go under anesthesia at an outpatient surgical center. (Yes, we brushed their teeth regularly, and no, I did not feed them junk all day. My husband had horrible baby teeth; apparently, it can be genetic.)

So this year, thousands of dollars later, my husband and I are on super-duper-cavity-patrol. No cavity is getting into our sons’ mouths, if we have anything to do about it! And there is a lot we can do about it, starting with what kinds of foods we do—and do not—allow them to eat. Collecting a basket full of candy? I’m not so sure.

On the other hand, restricting the kids to pretzels and apples is not much fun-- our dentist himself said not to do that. He said giving them candy is ok. (Maybe he wants our kids to get cavities??! Just kidding). The key, though, is to brush teeth well after consuming candy.

(last year...the binkie didn't help the cavity situation!)

That said, I want to avoid the never-ending-candy bag that I remember so well from my youth—where Halloween candy carried over until the next Halloween until I finally dumped it to make room for a new stash. So my somewhat arbitrary guideline is: two-to-three pieces a day for maybe about a week. We’ll stop collecting when their buckets reach that point. Period. (Plus a little extra for Mom and Dad) :)

What candy collection guidelines do you adhere to? (That sounds so official and technical, doesn’t it?!) When do you say “That’s enough?!”


  1. first i have to tell you...i just found your blog by clicking the "next blog" button at the top of the page. ever done that? i do from time to time. it's always interesting. i have read a few of your posts and have enjoyed them. thank you.

    but i had to put my 2 cents in about the candy thing. couldn't resist..... i was told, by a dentist, that the key is to not let them continually eat candy throughout the day(s). and also, as you said, to brush teeth after eating any. i personally can't stand the candy hanging around for weeks on end. so the husband and i have come to the decision that we let them eat as much as they can stand either that night or the next day sometime. and the rest goes away. as in- out of our house, in the garbage, wherever. as long as it's not around i don't care. we do the same thing for other holidays where candy is involved as well. it seems to work really well for us.

    sorry for the novel. :)

  2. Hey Cheryl,
    I just found your blog off of your FB page! Way to go... this is great!

    I guess I let the kids eat however much they want on Halloween and the next day... then I do a lot of tossing out... as I can't stand having it around either. I typically throw out what I consider "junk" candy ...keep the "cool candy" ... chocolate or Halloween themed candy.
    I don't make them brush right after they eat it... usually drink, sometimes a warm drink.
    Then I limit it to a 4 pieces a day for a few days.

    Anita Martin

  3. Oh we are so in the same boat with the cavity thing! Timothy has 6! and we are headed to surgical center on November 24. We NEVER had this problem with the 3 girls (lived in Laramie with flouride water, though....), didn't demand nurse (or bottle) him to sleep, brushed well, limited juice, etc. So I totally understand the frustration you have already walked through.

    As far as candy consumption, we are having a little (possibly not-so-little....) Reformation Party this year and handing out homemade gospel tracts with candy. I will let the kids eat sugary stuff at home but we aren't going out to collect mass quantities of it. You are welcome to come over and "Pin the Theses on Wittenberg's door' :).