Parents should have a candy plan in place before trick-or-treating begins

(Heather Pelat/Media General)

One of the greatest nights of the year for kids, Halloween, can also be a nightmare for tummies and teeth if parents don’t have a game plan. For example, before any costumed kid goes canvasing for candy, food safety expert Joyce McGarry says, slip-in a nice healthy snack or small dinner before you head out trick-or-treating.

“It keeps kids from wanting to snack because they’re hungry and then reaching into their bags and pulling something out that may have not been inspected.”

Speaking of inspection, arguably the most important thing to do on Halloween is to have your child dump all the treats he or she received onto a table to make sure they are safe to eat. Check to see if candy wrappers are still intact; look for holes, tears, or signs of shabbiness. If you’re suspicious, throw those treats in the trash. Plus, when all the candy is out in full view, McGarry says it provides parents an advantage… to manage.

“It gives you control of the amount of candy they can eat at one time, which is a really important part. It is a fun holiday, but you still need to have moderation of the amount of candy you can eat at one time.”

There are many ways from numerous sources on how to manage the huge bag of candy your kids will ultimately have in the house and here are a few worth mentioning:

*Do not let your child keep the bag of candy in his or her room — it’ll be too tempting for them to stay away.

*Talk with your kids about ways to provide them candy, but in moderation, like one a day for lunch or by earning these treats through chores.

*Buy the candy off your child – some kids would rather cash-in.

*Donate the candy to various organizations — some send these treats to troops overseas.

Once you have a candy plan in place then let the trick-or-treating party begin.

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