Whether trick-or-treating or attending a Halloween party, most children (and adults) celebrate this October holiday.

Regardless of where the Halloween celebration occurs, it is very important to make sure treats are safe for children. Checking the loot basket vigilantly can ensure your child will have a sweet ending to this holiday.

Before heading out for the evening, give your children a light meal or snack to prevent them from snacking on treats from their goody bags.

If needed, bring along a few healthy snacks and a bottle of water; granola bars, trail mixes and fresh fruit are excellent choices.

Inspect the candy before children eat any by checking for the following suspicious “red flags:” unusual appearance, discoloration, tiny holes/ tears in wrappers or spoiled, unwrapped candy.

A good rule of thumb for parents and caregivers is “when in doubt, throw it out!”

Children should not eat any items that are not commercially wrapped, unless you personally know who handed them out to your child.

Even commercially wrapped items such as candy or baked goods are worthy of adult inspection for signs of tampering.

Parents and guardians of young children should also remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies and small toys.

Make sure items which can lead to choking are given only to kids of the appropriate age.

If your child has a food allergy, check the label to ensure the allergen is not present; do not allow your child to eat any home-baked goods he or she may have received if in doubt.

Nuts such as peanuts, cashews, almonds and hazelnuts are prevalent in Halloween candy. Along the same lines, be aware the candy children love, such as chocolate, is toxic to pets. Keep a watchful eye on your family pets to prevent them from diving into the Halloween candy bag.

Avoid the Halloween stomach ache! Encourage your child not to eat all their Halloween treats at once. Limit your child’s intake to an appropriate amount you are comfortable with and portion out the rest for a different time. Stomach aches can ruin the Halloween fun and are all too common following the excitement of the night.

With planning and care, your family will enjoy their costumes and buckets of candy.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Carey Stites is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. Carey is currently the Registered Dietitian working with Wellstone in Harker Heights. Contact her at carey.stites@smchh.org.

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