For as long as our kids have been trick-or-treating, my husband and I have argued over what to do with all the Halloween candy they collect. The kids come into the house, dump their bags onto the dinner table, trade for favorites, and then commence a sugar binge on mini-chocolate bars, lollipops and packets of candy corn.
This is the same ritual my little sister and I acted out each Halloween when we were kids. Our parents never intervened or told us we were eating too much. They never took possession of our candy or rationed it out. Our candy was our property and we felt we had worked hard to earn it. Sometimes my parents stole a few favorites from our stashes but there weren’t any regulations on how much of our Halloween candy we could eat and when we could eat it.
Because our parents let us do as we wished, the candy was a distant memory within only a few days—the pitiful remains were the candies we didn’t like, and there weren’t many of those. My husband isn’t on board with my way of handling the Halloween candy situation. And when he starts to talk about it from a health standpoint, my arguments about letting kids be kids and it being a special once a year occurrence aren’t very convincing.
If you’ve decided you don’t want to let your kids ingest 3,000 calories of sugar in one sitting, here are a few alternatives.
- Take a portion of the candy and save it for filling a piñata where it will be divided amongst many children.
- Let your kids trade the candy in for something else. You could pay them a penny, nickel, dime or quarter per piece depending on their age and your budget. Another option is to let them choose a new toy or fun outing like going to the movies, in exchange for the candy.
- Give it to the dentist. Check with your local dentist—some of them have a Halloween Candy Buy Back program which allows kids to trade in their Halloween candy. The candy is usually sent to troops overseas.
- Ration it. Buy a box of snack-size, self-sealing plastic baggies and put a few pieces in each. Keep the candy stored away and only allow them to have a snack bag once in awhile.
- Trash it. It may seem wasteful but the candy isn’t good for anybody. Once they’ve enjoyed a sufficient amount of their favorite kinds, consider throwing it out. After all, they’ll always be able to collect more when they trick-or-treat next year.