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Halloween Treats with Braces

Halloween is the holiday of candy and more candy — which can wreak havoc for those kids (and adults) with braces. Does this mean your ghoulish evening must be treat-free if you or your kids have braces? No way! Check out these braces-friendly tips, tricks and recipes.


Generally any sticky, hard, chewy or crunchy foods should be limited or avoided. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends avoiding: caramel, nuts, licorice, jelly beans, hard pretzels, bubble gum, candy corn, lollipops, taco chips and ice. An off-limits treat now and then is acceptable but be sure to brush and floss afterwards and when it comes to hard, crunchy items, chew lightly.


Soft, easy-to-chew foods are acceptable Halloween treats. The American Association of Orthodontics suggests: melt-in-your-mouth-chocolates, peanut butter cups, milk shakes, gelatin, ice cream and sliced apples.


You don’t want your dental health to be a scary affair, so be sure to brush and floss after your Halloween outings. This will dislodge any candy and other foods stuck in the braces (and is just good dental hygiene you should practice daily).


Spider Bites
These creepy cookies are as fun to eat as they are to set out for hauntingly hungry guests. This recipe is adapted from The Braces Cookbook by Pamela Waterman. The spider legs are made from licorice; check with your orthodontist to see if these cookies are appropriate for your family.

• 1 cup vegetable shortening
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 tablespoons water
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
• 2 eggs
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup cocoa
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 package black rope licorice, cut into thin 1-inch pieces
• 1 small tube of white (or color of choice) frosting
• Toothpicks


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, combine shortening, sugar, water and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add eggs and blend.
3. Slowly mix in flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder at low speed. Drop tablespoon helpings of mixture onto ungreased cookie sheets and roll each helping into a ball.
4. Bake for 9 minutes. Let cookies cool for about 10 minutes.
5. Using a toothpick, create four small holes in either side of each cookie, then push one end of a piece of the cut licorice into each hole, creating the “legs” of the spider.
6. Once all eight legs are in place, create eyes or decorate at will using the white frosting.


Slimy Lime Punch
Make sure to use a very large bowl or a saucepan with high sides when making this frothy mixture — the meringue powder will really foam up when you start whisking. This slimy recipe was adapted from Parents Magazine.

• 2 tubes red decorating gel
• Powdered lemonade mix – to make 2 quarts
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon meringue powder
• 2 liters seltzer water
• 10 drops green food coloring
• 4 drops yellow food coloring
• 1 peeled and sliced orange
• 1 lime, sliced into 1/8-inch slices
• 1 pint fresh raspberries


1. Squeeze red gel down the inside of 12 small, clear glasses. Let dry for about 10 minutes.
2. In an extra-large bowl, combine lemonade mix, sugar and meringue powder. Slowly pour in seltzer, whisking continually until combined.
3. Stir in green and yellow food coloring. Add sliced fruit and berries for color. Pour punch into glasses and serve.

Pumpkin Cookie Pops
Pumpkin shaped cookies on a stick are a nice change from the usual cookie treat. This cookie pops recipe is adapted from www.pumpkinnook.com.

• 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
• 1/2 cup canned or fresh cooked pumpkin
• 1 tablespoon orange zest
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• Pinch of salt
• 20 wooden sticks (tongue depressors or Popsicle sticks work best)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer beat the butter, brown sugar and orange zest. Add the pumpkin, egg yolk and vanilla, and blend.
3. Gradually add the flour and spices. Mix with your hands to create a soft dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Divide dough into two portions. Roll out each piece to 1/4-inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut into pumpkin shapes with cookie cutters.
5. Place on ungreased baking sheet and securely insert a wooden stick into the bottom half of each pumpkin cookie.
6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Decorate with your favorite frosting and Halloween décor.

For more dental-friendly information, visit http://braces.org/nohm/.

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