Cavities or Cash: Halloween Candy Buyback in the Hamptons

Halloween is the type of holiday that truly is amazing when you are a kid. As Hamptons resident Jerry Seinfeld says in his stand-up act, “Family, friends, school, these were just obstacles in the way of getting more candySo the first time you hear the concept of Halloween when you’re a kid…remember the first time you even heard about it? It’s like… your brain can’t even process it…What is this? Who’s giving out candy? Someone’s giving out candy?! EVERYONE THAT WE KNOW is just giving out candy?!!! I gotta be a part of this, take me with you, I wanna do it, I’ll do anything that they want! PLEASE!!! I can wear that!”

Yes, kids love candy on Halloween—so much so that in 2010, the estimated number of potential trick-or-treaters among children ages 5 to 14 across the United States was 41 million. Read that again: 41 million kids. That’s a lot of teeth chomping and chewing on a lot of food that provides practically no nutrition and causes cavities! [expand]

Well, we have two dentists on the East End who are combating the problem through a program that will hopefully get kids to consume fewer M&M’s and Snickers bars—and give a little something back in the process.

Dr. Alexis Gersten and Dr. Jason Parli of Beach Dental in Speonk are married and are raising two young boys, so it is their personal and  professional duty to be worried about the dental health of kids in the community. After all that trick-or-treating in the Hamptons, the dental couple has a plan to battle the bulging trick-or-treat bags.

“It’s called the Halloween Candy Buyback program,” Dr. Alexis Gersten explains. “It is a national program that dentists can use to buy back candy from children on Halloween for 1 dollar a pound. We then send the candy to Operation Gratitude, and they make care packages for American troops overseas.”

Along with the philanthropic aspect of the endeavor, “We do it to keep kids from eating too much candy, which is really harmful to their teeth.” This is the second year the two doctors are participating in the program. Along with the Halloween candy, they also send along toothbrushes to the troops.

“A lot of the children actually donate the candy,” Dr. Gersten further explains. “Many of them refuse the money. This year we are holding the give-back program November 1st and 2nd. Many of the kids also write notes to the troops and then draw pictures for them. It’s really special. We send everything together in a little package over to Operation Gratitude, where it is distributed to our troops.”


You can contact Beach Dental about the Halloween Candy Buyback or any other dental questions at 631-325-0731 or visit them online at


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