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Kids collect 11,000 calories of sugary loot on halloween

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Halloween is supposed to be spooky and scary, but for trick-or-treaters the holiday is very sweet.

According to Children's Healthcare Testing, the amount of candy children collect on Halloween night adds up to 11,000 calories. It's equivalent to two 3-pound bags of candy sold at stores like Wal-Mart.

"There is an obesity epidemic, especially in children right now, so the question is, how much candy is good for the child? Should you let them eat tonight? It's one night. It's OK for them to splurge one night," said Dr. John Torres with Premier Urgent Care.

Torres has tricks for limiting the treats you and your child consume.

"The main thing is not to let them eat handfuls and handfuls of candy for the next two weeks," said Torres.

For parents, give away your favorite candy to trick-or-treaters first. That way, you won't be as tempted to keep dipping your hand into the candy bowl between visits from trick-or-treaters if your favorites are gone. Plus, if candy is left over, you'll be a little less likely to eat it.

For children, have them sort their candy into piles. Have children put candy they don't like in one pile and candy they do like in the other. Next, take the pile they do like and divide it up again. Save some candy for children to eat occasional in the days following Halloween. Torres recommends getting the remaining candy out of the house by taking it to work or donating it.

Also parents, you may want to think twice before you sneak another piece of candy from your child's candy collection.  Torres picked up a miniature box of Junior Mints. There are 80 calories in the box.

"If you eat four of these (boxes), that's not hard to do, that's 320 calories right there," said Torres.

Delta Dental surveyed 250 dentists to see what the best and worst Halloween candy is for your children's teeth.

"Time is of the essence when it comes to teeth and sugar, so not all candy is equally scary," said Delta Dental on its website. "Chewy treats and hard candy are particularly damaging because they spend a prolonged amount of time stuck to teeth and are more difficult for teeth to break down. Sweets like chocolate that quickly dissolve in the mouth and can be eaten easily lessen the amount of time sugar stays in contact with teeth."

Peter A. McIntyre D.D.S. General & Hospital Dentistry has a program this Halloween may coax kids into parting with their sugary loot.

Children will get $1 per pound of candy donated, up to 5 pounds.  The candy will be donated to Operation Gratitude to fill packages for deployed troops.  Children are also encouraged to write a note to the soldier to include with the candy.

The goal of the program is to show appreciation for the troops while cutting down on the candy kids consume on Halloween.

Children can bring candy to the office on 595 Chapel Hills Drive, Suite 105 on Monday and Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m.

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