Always suspicious, cynical and skeptical, the thought of dentists giving away candy begs the question: Is this altruism or a secret plot to dredge up business?
With no advertising or fanfare dentists in California, New York, Kentucky, Ohio and Massachusetts collect Halloween candy from their little patients and send it U.S. soldiers who are far from home.
Dr. Todd Hillyard of Canyon Country north of Los Angeles, came up with the idea after visiting his brother-in-law, Kleet Barclay, an Air Force chaplain, when Barclay was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, in 2004.
Barclay said the soldiers faces lit up at the sight of sweet treats that reminded them of home. What? They don't have candy in Okinawa? Hershey and Brach don't export candy there? I can't imagine they'd miss that business opportunity.
Seeing faces light up with relatively good teeth, Hillyard got the idea to buy back Halloween candy from his little patients for a buck a pound and ship it off to the G.I.s.
The plan, spread only by word of mouth, netted 350 pounds of tooth-melting confections the first year; 750 pounds last year; and, 350 pounds so far this year.
The story in the Los Angeles Daily News [click here described one three-year-old leaving the dental office $2 richer in cash, but with tear-filled eyes after giving up part of his toothsome treasure trove, after his mother convinced him it was the sweet, charitable thing to do.
"Getting the candy out of their mouths makes my job much easier," Hillyard said. "Too many kids have cavities."
Giving away their candy (not really giving away their candy; it's a trade off) is like brushing and flossing; good habits to acquire, and Halloween is also the time he sees the most deatal emergencies, he added.
The three-year-old is still probably thinking it over in his tot's mind, because he's still so young he hasn't yet learned to share his toys, let alone candy prizes.
The giving experience of the next two brothers, ages six and eight, is a hoot. Convinced by their mother that it was "a good thing to do," the boys left the office $6.50 richer each.
Miwawd. How many hours did these two greedy little beggar goblins spend Trick or Treatin'? Their mother, who said she was proud of her boys, should be hanging her head in Halloween shame at the amount of luscious loot her sons collected.
In this case the boys were thrilled to get the cash, because they're saving up for a video game. Oh, good. Now they can gain weight sitting for hours playing the game, and rot their brains instead of their teeth.
Told you I'm a cynic.
The men uniform will be happy to get the candy. Any reminder of home is always welcome. Lord knows that as quickly as they themselves are being ravaged by enemy fire, Bush is raiding their VA funding, so they need all the dentifrice help they can get.
Since the inevitable bitter usually accompanies the sweet, lets hope the good dentists sent toothbrushes and toothpaste along with the candy, ensuring that the welcome treats from home don't turn into tricks.