Halloween Candy Dilemma ?

Posted by on Oct 3, 2011 | 3 comments

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Some would say I have Grinch-like tendencies around Halloween, but I try to take it in stride, and have come up with a few ways for someone like me (a hardcore food-quality inspector) to deal with the onslaught of candy without being a total party-pooper.  Here are a few options for other parents who feel the same way….

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~  Let the kids enjoy their candy for a few days, but don’t let it drag out too long.  Believe it or not, it’s easier on the teeth and less habit-forming if they gorge on it (if they must) & get it over with quickly, rather than eating a few pieces a day for weeks or months.  And if it causes a belly ache – all the better.

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~  If your kids are very young, just make it disappear after a day or 2.  Out of sight, out of mind works really well here.  They won’t even know it’s gone (I did this for years – for as long as I could get away with it).

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~  Offer trades.  Some of it inevitably goes down the hatch, but to me, any amount of artificial colorings, additives, hydrogenated oils, and chemicals that can be avoided is better than none.  Go out of your way to buy or make special treats you can trade to the kids for some (or all) of their candy. There are a lot of options for less processed, delicious sweets – such as real, dark chocolate candy bars (there are so many varieties and flavors these days), chocolate covered sunflower seeds, chocolate covered cherries, organic/natural lollipops, etc… Always read labels, of course, as even the health food stores carry a certain amount of junk.  The good stuff is there, however, if you seek it out. And don’t forget, you can also offer something other than edibles. For instance, if your kid is into Pokemon, buy a few packs of Pokemon cards and offer to trade one card for each piece of candy they give up. You can also go bigger, and offer something they’ve really been dying for (particular video game, Thomas the tank engine train, etc…) for larger portions of their candy.

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~  Buy it outright.  Another way to do this is to simply put a price tag on each piece of candy, meaning you’ll buy it from them for 5 cents, 10 cents, 25 cents per piece (depends on how desperate you are!)

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~  Give them a limit.  If you prefer, you can simply pick a number that sounds reasonable to you – 10, 20, 30 pieces of candy and end it there. Sometimes, the kids end up eating stuff they don’t even like, just because it’s in the bucket.  Give them the number ahead of time.  It might be fun for them to go through and sift out only their favorite kinds of candy.  Also, if a particular type of candy makes you uneasy, you can tell them up-front that if they get any “laffy-taffy” (for instance) they have to dump it (what the heck is that stuff anyway!!??).  Or maybe it’s the orange-colored “juice” (eww) in that little plastic pineapple that makes you twitch.  Whatever it is, just lay down the law.

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~  Donate it to soldiers.  There was at least one year the kids agreed to put most of their candy together and mail it to soldiers (several of their friends agreed to do this with them – and I mailed it all in one box). Explaining to the kids how special it would be for a group of soldiers, far away from their home, to get a surprise treat in the mail, and just knowing they’re being thought of, is a very powerful sentiment.  For more details on this program (called “Soldiers’ Angels“), click the following link:  WWW.SOLDIERS-ANGELS.ORG

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~  Some Dentists offer a Halloween candy buy-back.  I believe they also end up sending what they collect to soldiers.  Go to the following website, and enter your zip code to find a participating dentist in your area.  WWW.HALLOWEEN-CANDY-BUY-BACK.COM

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Of course, lowering your standards a bit this time of year is fine, but don’t feel that just because your kid collected 5 pounds of candy, they have to eat all of it.  There are ways around it!

May the force be with you…  :)


  • Karen

    Hi Diane, You have some great suggestions here! My kids are all grown up now, but I thought I would share something we did for years and they loved it- instead of buying/ making costumes and candy, one year we offered them the opportunity to go out for pizza and then a movie on Halloween night. …Even if it fell on a school night (gasp!). We had so much fun they never missed trick-or-treating.

    • http://dianeschnier.wordpress.com Diane Schnier

      Nice! For sure, the trade doesn’t have to be a “thing”, it can be a special outing, or promising them a sleep-over with a friend, etc…. GREAT IDEA – Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.veglatino.com Lucy

    My family members were getting on my case because I am not going to give my daughter of almost 10 months at least one lick of a lollipop for her first Halloween. I told them I would rather give her a banana bread muffin made from my kitchen.