As the nights draw in and the clocks go back, it’s time to prepare for Halloween – an ancient festival, celebrated with increasing gusto as each year goes by. Halloween has now developed into one of the UK’s largest cultural and commercial events and the date is certainly turning into a treat for retailers, as UK consumers’ appetite for food, costumes, pumpkins and yes, trick or treat, resulted in an eye-watering £419m spend in 2018.

According to around 40% of consumers buy some form of chocolates and sweets for Halloween, which made us think about why Halloween has become synonymous with sugar.

The link originates in the US, where by the late 1940s giving treats as an alternative to tricks had become an established practice. The tradition was encouraged by sweet companies that saw the Halloween holiday as a means of boosting autumn sales prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, US children could expect to get nuts, coins, or toys and if they did get a sweet treat, it was usually home-made. But as trick-or-treating grew in popularity, the economic and ‘ease’ factors of shop-bought sweets began to gain traction. And by the 1970s, sweets were pretty much the only thing given out on Halloween.

Although Halloween in the UK is still a fairly recent tradition, the focus on sweet treats has been exported from across the Atlantic and puts children’s (and adults’) dental health under pressure.

So, if you’re expecting trick-or-treaters this year, 543 Dental Centre would like to offer a few healthy Halloween treats that make a great alternative to the normal sugar-filled offerings. There is a mixture of edible and non-edible options, but we hope that children will love them, we’re sure parents will be thankful for them and all are better for dental health than traditional Halloween fayre.

  1. Glow Sticks – this is a great alternative to foodie treats – children love wearing them, especially on a dark 31st October night and they can be picked up inexpensively online or at any local discount store.
  2. Spooky Accessories – think plastic vampire teeth, plastic spider rings, and other age-appropriate goody-bag fillers that will keep the fun going even after the fun is over!
  3. Bouncy Balls – there are some great ‘eyeball’ variations, which are ideal for Halloween, available online and at discount stores.
  4. Activity Pads – instead of a treat that will last all of five seconds, hand out small activity pads full of colouring sheets, puzzles and games that will keep them occupied for hours.
  5. Banana Ghosts – this is a really simple, but really effective addition to any plate of Halloween goodies. Simply peel a banana, cut it in half and then use a few chocolate drops to form eyes and a mouth.

Don’t forget, whatever your children eats on Halloween, always get them to brush their teeth at night before bed!