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Mary Therese Gehrmann, 13, wears a scary costume during the annual Halloween Parade in 2013 in Bettendorf. This year, the police chief asks that parents keep their children from chasing pieces of candy in the streets. The parade this year is 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, in Bettendorf.

I wrote a story on Halloween safety for this Friday's HEALTH section, and shared a few giggles with two of my sources: Bettendorf Police Chief Phil Redington, and Keene Hart, a paramedic and safety expert from East Moline.

Both men mentioned that after trick-or-treat time, parents should be prepared to examine their child's treasures, and then discard any candy in torn wrappers, fruit, or home-made goodies.

We of a certain age well remember warnings from years ago: "Don't eat the popcorn balls! They might have razors in them!"

My mom repeatedly told me to be careful, and so did the parents of Phil and Keene, apparently. To this day we all remember NEVER eating a popcorn ball collected from a neighbor's house.

However, I love popcorn, and it was pretty hard to make that decision. Today, you hardly ever see popcorn balls even offered.

As I told the men: There was always some nice lady in the neighborhood who had a terrific popcorn ball recipe, and was so happy to give them away to trick-or-treaters. We always had to ignore them!

The TOPS program (which has chapters in the Quad-Cities) sent a message last week that offers up options for healthy eating, even while dealing with all that candy. Maybe you will get some inspiration!

Instead of: A milk chocolate bar,

Choose: Dark chocolate cocoa-roasted almonds.

Instead of: Candy corn,

Choose: Golden raisins.

Instead of: Peanut butter & chocolate candy,

Choose: An apple and natural peanut butter.

Instead of: A popcorn ball,

Choose: Air-popped popcorn.

Instead of: Fruit-flavored candy,

Choose: Grapes.

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