What's more fun than a bag full of candy? Generally speaking, it's pretty harmless in the end, if you can handle the post-holiday mountain of sugar. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that for most children the "sugar high" is a well-entrenched myth. There are always exceptions, but if there are no health factors such as diabetes or ADHD, most kids don't become more hyperactive than usual after eating sugar.

This isn't to say that eating the whole stash at once is a great idea. Many families spread out the loot, to be enjoyed a bit at a time.

One mother allows her kids to choose their favorites to keep for themselves and the rest goes into a communal candy bucket that's brought out for special occasions. Others say that after the initial rush, candy stashes linger on, sometimes for months.

Another family's tradition includes dumping the candy out for visual inspection by the parents, ending with Dad inheriting all the "yucky" candy.

Some kids enjoy a candy exchange with siblings or friends, trading for the good stuff until their stash is perfected.

Then there's always the "get it over with" method, where the parents pretend not to notice the candy-wolfing, hoping it will all be gone soon so they won't have to worry about it any more.

Whatever the method, keep the toothbrush close at hand.

Margot Hovley's first novel will be published by Covenant Communications in 2012. Her self-reliance blog is at www.mynewoldschool.com and she shares her writing adventures at www.margothovley.com.