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Five ways to cope with all that Halloween candy

For many parents, the most frightening thing about Halloween is dealing with all the candy kids bring home.
You can't help but think about cavities and empty calories when you see those plastic pumpkins full of lollipops and caramels. Older kids will instead bring home something even scarier enormous backpacks stuffed with bubble gum, chocolate bars and licorice.
The good news: You don't need to act like a witch to get them to give it up, and you don't have to be a wizard to make the candy disappear.
Here are five simple strategies for what to do with all that candy.
1. Buy it back. Offer a nickel apiece for candies your children are willing to sell you.
After the kids make a pile of what they don't want, tell them you'll give them a dime per candy if you get to make the selection. Look for the chewy, sticky stuff that's hard to brush off or rinse away.
"It's not the candy so much as the fact that we've got to get it off the teeth," said Dr. Matthew Messina, a dentist in Fairview Park, Ohio, and a consumer adviser for the American Dental Association. "If we're looking for candies that are more problematic, they are things that are going to be stickier."
Also look for candies that are both sticky and sour. Sour treats are acidic, and may damage tooth enamel, Messina said.
But with a little negotiating, for a couple of bucks, you can reduce the stash.
2. Recycle it. Wrapped candy has a long shelf life. Surely there is a children's birthday party in your future. Save that leftover Halloween candy for goody bags and pinatas. So what if you're handing out Halloween-themed treats at your Christmas party or sweets wrapped in orange foil for a January birthday?
Squirrel away a few pieces for the next time you need a last-resort bribe. A lollipop works wonders when you're trying to shush a noisy 4-year-old at a ballet recital or a wedding.
3. Appropriate the chocolate. We all know that Hershey's Special Dark and Dove bars are utterly wasted on anyone under the age of 12. Beg, buy, or, as a last resort, steal (that is, quietly confiscate) the choicest chocolates from your children's haul, and save them for yourself.
4. Bring the leftovers to work. Here's a well-known magic trick: Put all your Halloween reject candy in a bowl, leave it by the office coffee machine, and watch it vanish.
5. Ration and discard. Tell kids they can pick out a few candies to have each day, and impress upon them the importance of brushing their teeth especially well in the days after Halloween.
"Maybe the negotiation point is not so much to eliminate the candy, but that we brush after the candy," said Messina. "If we can enhance brushing behavior for a lifetime, that's a win."
Finally, many parents find that after a week, kids will have forgotten about their loot. Make your move and dump whatever's left.

Source: Asbury Park Press

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