Candy, costumes, decorations major Halloween business

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Love it or hate it, there’s one thing you can say about Halloween — it puts off the Christmas rush just that much longer.

In fact, Halloween has become more and more a retailer’s dream in recent years, according to Sarah Hollenbeck of offers.com.

The National Retailers Federation estimates consumers will spend a record-breaking $9.1 billion on Halloween this year, and a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers found that the average consumer will spend more than $75 total on Halloween candy, costumes and other essentials.

Almost a quarter of us start decorating for Halloween by the end of September, and half of us have hanged up ghouls and goblins by the middle of October.

The average consumer will spend $25.57 on candy, and 8 percent — probably including McCook residents who live on Norris Avenue — will spend $61 or more.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are the favorite candy in Nebraska and many other states, with 32 percent of trick-or-treaters preferring them. Other favorites, in order, include Kit Kat and Twix, M&Ms, Nerds and Lillipops.

The majority of us will make our own costumes, but women are more likely to make one than women.

Despite the jokes about dentists subsidizing the candy industry, they actually have advice to help reduce the number of cavities.

Ashley Aubry, clinical instructor at Creighton University’s School of Dentistry, says the bacteria inside childrens’ mouths probably enjoy candy more than the children themselves, since they feed on the sugar, producing a weak acid that causes cavities.

Aubry offers some helpful advice:

* Timing is everything. Make sure kids eat candy and other sugary foods with meals or shortly after mealtime.

* Not all candy is created equal. Avoid candy that stays in the mouth for a long time or sticks to teeth.

* Have a game plan. Limit the stash of post-Halloween candy. Aubry suggests parents let children choose the candy they like best and then donate the rest.

* Have children drink plenty of water, immediately after eating sweets or drinking sugary drinks like juice, sports and energy drinks.

* Brushing twice a day keeps the monsters away. Use a fluoridated toothpaste and floss at least once a day.

* See a dentist every six months to keep any major dental problems at bay.

Instead of roaming the streets, consider attending a Trunk-or-Treat event, at a central, safe location, such as one sponsored by McCook Community College’s Student Senate, 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31 on the campus. Students will be handing out candy from the trunks of their vehicles.

Local youth groups will be collecting food for the McCook Pantry Oct. 25 through Nov. 1.

And, of course, the McCook Gazette and McCook Area Chamber of Commerce will again sponsor a popular daytime Halloween parade down Norris Avenue beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28.

Kids and parents will gather at the Keystone Building, pick up a treat bag from the Gazette and Chamber volunteers and walk down Norris Avenue to collect treats from downtown merchants.

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