Parents Prefer Healthy Alternatives to Halloween Treats

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Parents Prefer Healthy Alternatives to Halloween Treats


Approximately 94 percent of all American children between 5 and 13 years old participate in trick-or-treating, but new survey results reveal that parents of children that age want healthier alternatives to candy.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA) and PopCap Games “Halloween Consumer Parent Study,” the average child receives just over 90 pieces of candy on Halloween, and 70 percent of parents would prefer their children receive less candy and more non-candy treats.

“The fact that the majority of parents believe their children receive and consume too much candy around Halloween is encouraging,” said Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, spokesperson on pediatric dentistry for the Chicago-based ADA.

Through the ADA and PopCap “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign, the two agencies are “providing a fun alternative to sugary treats while further raising awareness of the importance of oral health among parents and children at this critical time of the year,” added Shenkin. “Tooth decay can be prevented through basic steps such as brushing twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste, yet only 44% of children brush twice daily.”

The following are key findings from the survey:

Halloween family activities

For parents, the most enjoyable Halloween activities are “trick-or-treating with my child(ren)” (74 percent of all respondents); “having fun with family” (51 percent); and “decorating the house” (47 percent). “Dressing up in costume” and “pumpkin carving” rounded out the top five responses, with 43 percent and 41 percent, respectively.

Parents: Less sugar, more fun

Seventy percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “If my child received less candy and more of other kinds of treats, that would be good”; 59 percent agree that “my children eat too much candy around Halloween.”  Of those parents whose children have visited a dentist three or more times to have a cavity filled, 71 percent said their children eat too much Halloween candy.

Too much candy

Candy represents 86.5 percent of all treats that children receive while trick-or-treating.  Seventy-seven percent of parents reported that their children receive more than 50 pieces of candy while trick-or-treating on Halloween; thirty percent receive more than 100 pieces of candy; and the average for all children is 90.9 pieces.

Tooth-friendly alternatives for treats

Three quarters (75 percent) of parents surveyed would prefer their child receive a free video game instead of a piece of candy on Halloween.  Among those parents whose children have visited a dentist three or more times to have a cavity filled, 86 percent indicated they'd prefer the video game alternative.

Conducted by Information Solutions Group (ISG), the survey comprises 1,043 online respondents with a child or children ages 5-13.