If you are like us, you have debated which holiday traditions make sense for your family. For our family, this includes Halloween and trick-or-treat of course. If we decide to celebrate what to do with all of the Halloween candy? Should I take my kids out for trick-or-treat? Should we skip it?
Most of the candy they will receive is complete junk and full of things we try to avoid. Partially because we are gluten free and vegan, and partially because we don’t allow refined sugar for our young children.
So what’s a parental to do?
If you do choose to celebrate Halloween by trick-or-treating, there are a few options that allow the best of both worlds. The children can get out in the community, have a great time dressing up and enjoying the festivities of trick-or-treat without consuming the processed sugars, chemicals and dyes.
1. Switch Witch/ Candy Fairy
This is a lot like the Tooth Fairy. The children leave their candy out on the kitchen table instead of under their pillow (so there isn’t any late night snacking.) While they sleep, the switch witch/candy fairy takes the candy away and leaves something in its place. What is left in its place is up to your family. The fairy could leave money, toys, healthier junk food that the kids love. Whatever you think would make your kids happiest. The key is to make sure it is a really good surprise that you know your children will love. They will have fond memories of the Candy Fairy and want them to visit again next year.
Once you have the candy, instead of an all night sugar binge, you can make it disappear with one of these science projects. You could also use it for crafting, building gingerbread houses or to fill goodie bags at an upcoming birthday.
2. Candy Store
Set up a mini store in your home, where the children use candy to “buy” items they want. You could measure by pieces of candy (5 pieces for a sparkly pencil.) But I would suggest doing it by volume — 1 cup of candy for a small stuffed animal. Making the bigger ticket items (a lego set perhaps) more “expensive.”
There are actually lots of places you can donate your candy. Operation Gratitude and Operation Shoebox send care packages including wrapped candies to troops overseas. If you have a Ronald McDonald House in your area they often take donations of candy and make it available to the families that stay with them. Call ahead to make sure they are accepting donations. Local non-profits, shelters and soup kitchens may also accept candy donations. Call around to find out what is available in your community.
The Halloween Candy Buy Back is a great way to get your children friendly with the dentist and support Operation Gratitude. The Halloween Candy Buy Back gives children toothbrushes, toothpaste, stickers etc in exchange for their Halloween haul. The candy is then sent to Operation Gratitude and they send it out to the troops.
Do you celebrate Halloween? If so, do you have great ideas to get rid of Halloween candy? Or do you just eat it all??