BY MICHAEL ROIZEN, M.D., AND MEHMET OZ, M.D.
Americans will spend more than $2.5 billion on Halloween costumes ($310 million goes to costumes for dogs and a few cooperative cats!), and if that's not scary enough, this year $2 billion will be spent on Halloween candy. Clearly, you and your kids can't join in the festivities and avoid the candy train entirely. So what's a conscientious parent to do?
1. Hand out our tantalizing, better-for-you treats.
2. Check out your children's bags 'o sugar when they drag them back home. (Rule No. 1: No eating anything until Mom and Dad have a look at the haul.) And control their consumption. We know that's tricky -- but necessary!
Tasty treats to hand out: Make up goodie bags that contain some combination of pre-packaged treats: organic gummy bears; dried fruits and pretzels dipped in dark chocolate; amazing dark-chocolate edamame; and non-food treats like animal-shaped erasers or rub-on temporary tattoos.
The art of supervising treats: First, sort through the bag and check for anything that doesn't look right. Then have your child select five favorite treats. Take the rest and put them up on a high, high shelf out of sight and out of mind. Then make a plan: Limit the amount of favorite candy per child on Halloween night; the other favorites get parsed out over the course of a month. Explain that this will E-X-T-E-N-D the treats. Weeks from now, when all their pals have no more candy, your kids will still be enjoying theirs! Then there's no trick to getting the treats!