The Halloween Candy Conundrum

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Parents committed to organic living are often conflicted on Halloween. You don’t want your children to binge on sugary nonorganic sweets, but you also don’t want to deny them the opportunity to go trick-or-treating. 


There are, however, ways to curb candy cravings. For example, it’s a good idea for kids to eat a good meal before trick-or-treating so their stomachs lack room to OD on Halloween treats. And for safety’s sake, remind them not to sample any candy until they arrive home. 

“It is rare for candy to be tampered with at Halloween,” says Michael Gittelman, MD, an emergency physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “However, it is a good idea for parents to inspect the candy to make sure that each piece is individually wrapped and safely sealed.” 

X-ray machines are not helpful, as they only help distinguish candy tainted with a metallic object, Dr. Gittelman explains. They won’t indicate if the candy was tampered with in other ways. 

“If the candy is not wrapped or looks suspicious, it is better to just throw it away,” he says. 

Be aware that candy can pose a choking hazard in children younger than 5. Dr. Gittelman also urges parents to carefully examine any toys or novelty items received by kids 3 and younger. Don’t let toddlers play with anything small enough to present a choking hazard or that has small parts that could separate during use. Many of these items have warning labels. 

If you’re unsure about an item, buy a child-safety choke tube that functions as a small-parts tester. It’s designed to approximate the diameter of a child’s airway. If an object fits inside the tube tester, it’s too small to be left within a young child’s reach.

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