Controlling the Halloween Sugar Craze in Marco Island

Parents can deal with their children`s treats properly on Halloween. In addition, these treats might come with some cash and many teaching moments as well.

Dr. Thomas Hale, a Naples dentist, is offering his popular candy buyback program again, and he has been doing this for the past 9 years with tons of success.

Dr. Thomas Hale has been very intelligent in doing this type of program, and many other dentists have followed the trend, therefore it just keeps getting better. “The more the merrier,” said Hale, forty two, who has just followed the footsteps of his brother and wants to become a dentist right now.

This is how it works: from 4 to 6 p.m., right on Monday, Nov. 3, any area children will be allowed to bring any kind of unopened candy to the program Smiles by Hale right at 9180 Galleria Court. Mr. Hale will pay these kids around $1 a pound for the sugar bombs after being weighed on a scale.

Banks hate Mr. Hale as they have to give him tons of ones every year, said the dentist with a laugh. The first year, a large amount of ones just translated to $375 during the very first year of this buyback program, Mr. Hale said. A bank clerk had to count out around $1000 in singles last year, added Hale.

Because of the money children receive, they are more likely to give up their candies, said Dr. Hale. The proceedings will go to the less fortunate members of our nation and to the U.S. military troops, said Jennifer Warra, Smiles by Hale office manager.

Operation Gratitude will receive the nonperishable candy as a donation, and those that melt will be received by the Southwest Florida’s Harry Chapin Food Bank as a donation as well. Dr. Hale knew about Operation Gratitude through a fellow member at a Rotary club, who had one of his children working as a chaplain in Afghanistan.

Moreover, the U.S. troops not only keep these candies for themselves but also give them away to local children here in Marco Island, a situation that will foster goodwill in those far countries, Dr. Hale said.

The Smiles by Hale program has also teamed up with Colgate and other toothpaste firms to add toothbrushes and toothpaste in the care packages the program sends overseas. This situation is fine as people will not think that is all about the candies, which is also an awesome way to promote our children´s oral health.

When it comes to Halloween candy, there are many things we need to take into consideration, said Dee Harris, a certified practitioner who works at the Institute of Functional Medicine and D-Signed Nutrition in Bonita Springs.

Food has been associated with mood and brain health, and parents need to understand how important it is, said a woman who is a mother of two.

Because kids tend to be on a sugar high after the Halloween party, teachers worry about their health. A sugar load brings about changes in both attention and mood among children, and they are somewhat hard to calm down as well.

Artificial flavors and colors along with corn syrup made with huge amounts of fructose are the culprits of children´s behavioral problems and obesity, added Harris.

Organic candy is an alternative to the average candy that is sold out there, said Harri. Organic candy is available online as well.

Organic candy is a better choice as it is sweetened with cane sugar and its coloring comes from veggies such as carrots and beets, making organic candy a healthier choice.

Although the coloring will come from veggies, organic candy´s taste will be good.

Handing out trinkets and toys instead of candy as well as dark chocolate bars and wrapped trail mix is a good idea, said Harris.

A darker chocolate has less sugar than a lighter one, according to Harris.

A healthy diet is not the most important thought of a child when he or she is in front of a Halloween candy.

Have your child eat small amounts of standard candy at a time, said Harris. Allow your children to have a treat just a couple of days every week, so they do not end up taking in too much sugar and the treat will last longer.

In addition, these healthy practices should and can be done all over the year, according to Harris.

All in all, people just buy candy all year long and Halloween is just one day of the year, said Harris. So it is time for people to start thinking about natural products.