Kids can’t vote. But they know a thing or two about Halloween protests.
“I used to hand out toothbrushes every Halloween,” Dr. Kandy Sayrs said. “But I quit that pretty quick. The kids just left them in the yard. After a while, I started to think I had more toothbrushes in the yard than I put in bags.
“So I don’t hand out toothbrushes anymore. I switched over to little toys, spider rings and Halloween stickers.”
Sayrs has been a dentist since 1986 and has practiced in Galesburg since 1989. In her official capacity as a dentist, she said Halloween is a “promotion of tooth decay.”
If dentists want to wage war on Halloween, they’re already losing.
According to a story Monday on Forbes.com, “nearly 60 percent of the 8,877 people surveyed by the National Retail Federation plan to celebrate Halloween in some way c including dressing up, going to a party, handing out candy, carving pumpkins, trick-or-treating and decorating.”
The NRF noted about 95 percent of those polled will buy candy, nearly $21 per person on average. The Forbes.com article also found a poll by the National Confectioners Association that showed more than 90 percent of parents swipe candy from their kids’ trick-or-treat bags.
Sayrs said she doesn’t waste time railing against Halloween.
“I really try to talk about moderation,” Sayrs said. “You want to be careful with sticky and hard candies. Those candies can dislodge fillings or restorative work. Kids want to be careful of candies that stick in their braces. Hard candy can knock off brackets on braces or bend them.”
Speaking as a civilian, the good doctor admitted Halloween is her favorite holiday.
“I really love costumes,” Sayrs said. “That’s the fun for adults.”
Did she stay in character for the usual round of Saturday-before-Halloween parties?
“I went out as a police officer,” she said.
The candy cop even confessed her favorite confection.
“As a dentist, I should say apples or any fruit are my favorite Halloween treats. I should say sugarless candy,” Sayrs said. “My favorite candy is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.”
Sayrs wasn’t the only candid health professional on the eve of Halloween.
Chris Willis has enough letters behind her name to make Dr. Frankenstein jealous. She is an M.S., R.D. and CDE c in layman’s terms she is OSF St. Mary Medical Center’s dietitian and certified diabetes educator.
She may sound like a credentialed Halloween hater, but don’t judge this professional by the framed parchment hanging on her office walls.
“I hope you don’t expect me to say people should hand out carrot sticks and apples on Halloween,” Willis said. “Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love the costumes. I love the atmosphere. I love pumpkins. I love harvest time. I really like hearing stories about witches and ghosts.”
Like Sayrs, Willis advised moderation when it comes to candy consumption.
“Most parents know how to handle their kids, so whatever their choices are should be the kids’ choices,” Willis said. “The big thing is to not eat all the candy at once.
“A good way to do it is have the child pick his or her favorite candies and include one or two of them every day with lunch. When my kids went out trick-or-treating, I made sure they had a healthy dinner beforehand. That way they weren’t starving when they went out.”
Willis said they hand out “the good stuff” at her house.
“I’d like to say I hand out toothbrushes, but I don’t,” Willis said. “At my house, it’s chocolate. I’ve always done it that way. It’s my thing.”