By Lauren Burns
Dentists and parents are in agreement that the tradition of trick-or-treating has become a bit too candy-centric, with each trick-or-treater receiving an average of 90 pieces of candy per neighborhood excursion.
According to a survey issued by the ADA, 94% of American children participate in the Halloween tradition of taking candy from the strangers we call neighbors, but about 75% of their parents want healthier alternatives to the ‘treats’ that end up in their pumpkin-shaped candy containers. As for parents of children who have had cavities, 86% would like to see some sugar-free treats.
In an effort to strengthen the prevention aspect of dental health, the ADA has teamed up with PopCap Games to create a treat that won’t cause cavities. The “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign has taken off with the ADA offering dentists a “Stop Zombie Mouth” kit, which includes 50 packs of five collectible trading cards and a redemption code for a free computer game download for pediatric patients, along with a poster and a countertop display for the dental office. Aiming to get trick-or-treaters interested in alternative “treats,” the ADA offered the kit for free to dentists. It shipped at the end of September.
“Stop Zombie Mouth” has taken off, already receiving more than 5,000 “likes” on Facebook. Parents can also partake in the campaign by visiting the website and downloading printable coupons for the Plants vs. Zombies computer game (redeemable from October 30 to November 10 online), which has won over 30 Game of the Year awards.
“This Halloween, the ADA and PopCap Games are redefining what a Halloween ‘treat’ can be… by giving FUN instead of candy,” according to the “Stop Zombie Mouth” website.
Although prevention is the best measure for maintaining every aspect of our health, there may be some negative criticism of the campaign by those who feel their children spend too much time on the computer or in front of the TV screen as it is. For those parents, I would remind them that alternatives to both candy and video games exist.