Halloween is a multi-day event for the Parr family.
Dr. Brian Parr, his wife and three children plan on engaging in activities at the zoo and downtown Aiken, to name a couple.
As USC Aiken’s associate professor of exercise and sports science, Parr is aware on how to keep the holiday safe and healthy.
Although neither Lt. Jake Mahoney of Aiken Public Safety nor Sgt. Jason Feemster of the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office said they have heard of any recent incidents within the area, both advise guardians to inspect their children’s candy just in case.
Cindy Rudisill of Cyndi’s Sweet Shoppe agrees.
“Make sure everything is wrapped,” she said.
If it is not, throw it out. This includes homemade items or fruit, according to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Regional Poison Control Center.
Be also wary of loosely-wrapped items, like Tootsie Rolls and bubble gum.
“Candy with twist-type wrappings can be tampered with more easily than those that are sealed,” the poison control center said.
Ways to check for tampering are to check for tears in the wrappers, tiny pinholes, unusual appearance or discoloration, according to Clemson University Cooperative Extension.
A way to be cautious is to go with your child. That way you will see where the candy is coming from.
If you are unable to, instruct your child – advisedly in a group – to visit homes within a two- or three-block radius, according to Clemson University.
“That way the treats will most likely come from neighbors and friends,” the university’s website said.
However, “you are not going to know everyone,” Rudisill pointed out. So take extra steps such as telling your children not to eat any candy until they get home, so you can look at it.
If you are concerned this will be ineffective, give the child a healthy, full meal before they journey out so they are full from the meal and may not be as likely to turn toward snacking on their treats.
When sorting through your child’s candy, keep in mind his or her allergies or health restrictions, Parr said. For example, if he or she is allergic to nuts, going through the sweet-packed loot can prevent the child from having an allergic reaction.
Above all, kind in mind that Halloween is suppose to be a fun night and let your child enjoy the experience. Relax, and remember it is OK to let them be candy spoiled for that one night, Parr said.
“As long as we typically eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise, a Halloween candy binge shouldn’t do any lasting harm on our health,” Parr wrote in his Aiken Standard Health and Fitness column two years ago.
Parr said he and his wife let their children get their candy fills for the night then allow them pick out a select amount of candy to keep. Afteward, the remaining candy “disappears, and the Great Pumpkin brings in replacement items,” he said.
Or you can try to spread the amount out by giving them a couple pieces a night until it’s gone.
“Candy is usually good up to a year,” Rudisill said. Some candy can also be frozen.
Too much candy can lead to cavities or weight gain. Letting the child share his or her candy with those unable to enjoy in the night’s activities can help prevent this.
Also, encourage neighbors to pass out healthier snacks or Halloween-themed items such as pencils or craft books.
If you would like to avoid any complications, try to throw your own Halloween party. That way you can control what is served.
Other trick-or-treat alternatives are watching movies, doing crafts or reading stories.
Stephanie Turner graduated from Valdosta Sate University in 2012. She then signed on with the Aiken Standard, where she is now the arts and entertainment reporter.
Staff Photo by Stephanie Turner This candy bowl grabs at those who are brave enough to reach in it.×
Staff Photo by Stephanie Turner It’s almost time to put on your costumes and yell “Trick or Treat!”×
Aiken Standard File Photo Leslie Davis smiles at a trick-or-treater receiving her candy in Gatewood neighboorhood last year.×