Halloween is here again. This means that scores of children will soon be taking to the streets at dusk in order to score scads of free candy. This also means that parents will once again have to be on their guard for potential dangers hidden within that candy.
Here are a few tips for keeping your children’s candy as safe as possible:
Check yourself before you wreck yourself
As tempting as is it to dive into that candy bag early (as a mid-trick-or-treating snack, perhaps?), make it clear to your children that their delicious treats should not be consumed until you’ve had a chance to check it. Don’t scare your kids by convincing them their neighbors are out to poison them, of course. But definitely drive the point home that they need to wait to gorge themselves until you’ve done your parental duty (and snagged a few freebies for yourself, of course).
Verify the poof factor
Check the seals of candy wrappers by utilizing what I call the “poof test”. When you squeeze the candy’s packaging, is the food item still protected by that puff of nitrogen the manufacturers put in to protect it from damage and spoilage? If not, the seal may have been broken, indicating either less-than-fresh candy, or potential tampering. Toss it.
Ziploc is for leftovers
Many of your well-meaning neighbors may put together those economical Ziploc baggies filled with loose candy. While this gives kids some variety and perhaps a little extra bang or their buck, I have never felt comfortable allowing my children to eat this candy. You just never know. Toss it.
Don’t be a sucker
Just like the poof test, check sucker wrappers for evidence of tampering. This is particularly necessary for the twist wrappers. Do they look like they’ve been opened and re-twisted closed? Is that waxy seal still on the bottom twist, adhering it to the stick? If the wrapper looks like it has been opened or damaged in any way, toss it. After all, you don’t want a pre-licked sucker, do you?
Some people want to make Halloween a slightly healthier occasion and hand out apples in lieu of teeth-rotting candy (and they’re usually the ones who’s houses get egged, TP’d, or have their windows soaped). While I am all for fresh fruit, Halloween isn’t the right time. There is too much of a risk factor in my opinion. If you are okay with keeping the fruit, check the skins for any puncture marks or other signs of tampering, and of course, wash it thoroughly. However, I’d recommend composting it, just to be safe.
No, not in terms of those high-school seniors wearing lame, half-hearted costumes. I’m talking candy. Could those Tootsie Rolls pass as steel rivets? Will that chocolate bar break a tooth? Is there a heart motif that clearly indicates repurposed Valentine’s Day candy? If so, toss it!
Soda, the lifeblood of trick-or-treating
Every year, there is always that one glorious house that hands out full-sized cans of soda. Those always seem to be the most popular houses. Shocking, right?
While soda cans are pretty tamper-proof, you should probably commandeer any soda your kids get and save it for yourself…. purely in the spirit of protecting your children’s teeth…?
(Or is that just me? Parent of the year over here!)
I’m just saying, you’ve walked your children through miles of neighborhoods collecting oodles of candy, you’ve spent an hour rifling through their goodies making sure it’s all safe to eat, you should get something for your troubles. You’ve earned it!
Besides pilfering my kids’ hard-earned soda, these are the tips I use to keep my children’s Halloween goodies as safe as possible. If you have any other tips or ideas, feel free to share them in the comments below.