For kids with braces, the “trick” after  “treat” might be a trip to the orthodontist. WITH RECIPES.

For kids with braces, the “trick” after  “treat” might be a trip to the orthodontist.

“We can always tell when it’s Halloween because we have a jump in the number of emergencies -- brackets pulled off, wires bent,” said Dr. Michael Bernard, a North Canton orthodontist for 36 years.

The culprit is sticky candy.

“Caramel, Tootsie Rolls. The worst ones are the hard sticky candies -- Now and Later, Juju fruit, Starburst -- the kind that if you bite down, it sticks to your teeth,” Dr. Bernard said.

If your child craves those chewy fruit candies, consider a substitute created by Pamela Waterman, coauthor of “The Braces Cookbook.”

“We have this magnet from the orthodontist that lists forbidden foods,” Waterman said. “We took each item on there as a challenge and tried to come up with a substitute. So it says, “If you like fruit snacks, you’ll like black cherry bats and citrus pumpkins.” They’re softer, leaning toward a Jell-O jiggler.”

Waterman’s co-author is her daughter, Brenda, now 14. In her fourth year of wearing braces, Brenda told her mom she was craving caramel apples.

“I was less than sympathetic,” Waterman said. “I said, “Too bad – forbidden food.” So she went to the kitchen and peeled and sliced  an apple thinly, put it on a plate with caramel ice cream topping and came out dipping them.

I said, “What a great idea.”

And she said there should be a whole cookbook of these ideas.”

And now there is, available online and in bookstores for $9.95.

Dr. Bernard said the braces-clad can go trick-or-treating, as long as they separate the candy afterward.

“Peppermint Patties are OK, Reese’s Cups are OK,” he said. “Anything soft is OK, like chocolate. In fact, they’ve found recently that dark chocolate has an anti-cariogenic affect, that it reduces the amount of tooth decay. The theobromine hardens the enamel, kind of like fluoride. So chocolate is not a villain anymore.”

On the other hand, the seemingly innocuous hard candy is a bad guy.

“The sugar stays in the mouth longer, bathing your teeth,” Bernard said. “Hard candy, lollipops, sugary gum ‹ it can be in there for a long time, causing damage to teeth and the orthodontic appliance.”

The American Association of Orthodontists teamed with celebrity pastry chef Gale Gand (seen on the Food Network’s “Sweet Dreams”) to create a braces-friendly recipe called Peanut Butter Eyeballs.

Gand combines peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar and crispy rice cereal, rolls it into balls, then dips the balls in melted white chocolate. She tints the white chocolate to decorate the globes to resemble eyeballs.

Despite their spooky appearance, these morsels are tasty, like a Buckeye candy with crackle.

For more recipes, visit the American Association of Orthodontists’ Web site at www.braces.org.

BLACK CHERRY BATS

2 (3-ounce) packages black-cherry gelatin (dry)

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup grape juice

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Empty both packages of dry gelatin powder into a large bowl. In a medium saucepan, stir together the water and juice; bring to a full boil then remove pan from heat. Pour hot juice mixture slowly into bowl, stirring constantly with a large spoon. Keep stirring for two minutes or until all granules have dissolved. Add lemon juice and stir to mix.

Pour mixture into a 9-inch round or square pan and place pan in refrigerator. Chill for at least 3 hours or until firm. Cut into squares with a knife, or into bat-shapes with cookie cutters (available at craft stores or discount department stores) dipped in hot water. If pieces are hard to get out, set the entire pan for a minute onto a cookie sheet filled with a quarter-inch of hot water. Makes two dozen squares. Keep chilled.

CITRUS ORANGE PUMPKINS

Repeat directions for bats with:

2 (3-ounce) packages orange gelatin (dry)

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup orange juice (no pulp) or lemonade

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Use tiny pumpkin-shaped cookies cutters as desired.

From “The Braces Cookbook” by Pamela and Brenda Waterman

PEANUT BUTTER EYEBALLS

1/4 cup butter, completely softened

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/2 cups toasted rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)

12 ounces of white chocolate

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Food coloring (two colors)

Combine the butter, powdered sugar, and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until well combined. (If you have no mixer this can be done by hand). Then stir in the rice cereal. Using your hands, form into 1/2-ounce balls (the size of a large marble) and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).

Place the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt in microwave, 20 seconds at a time, adding vegetable oil part way through. After chocolate is melted, stir until smooth. Dip balls one at a time into the melted white chocolate mix, using a fork to roll them around so they are entirely coated then remove them from the chocolate and set on a waxed paper-lined sheet pan. Chill to set , about 30 minutes.

Separate remaining white chocolate into two bowls and add 1-2 drops of food coloring each to tint each bowl a different color. Reheat chocolate if necessary. Place a dollop of colored chocolate on the eyeball to make an iris. Use a smaller drop of the contrasting color for the pupil. Let chocolate set, place balls in individual mini muffin papers and serve. Makes 36 eyeballs.

From Gale Gand, host of “Sweet Dreams” on the Food Network

Canton Repository