A Sensible Candy Plan?

Most of you well know how dangerous (and insidious) typical American sugar consumption is to our health. But it’s Halloween! And your well-costumed little ones are going to arrive home this Saturday evening with giant bags of candy, eager to begin the feast. What do you do?

Halloween CandyCertainly you’re going to have a riot on your hands if you don’t allow them to have at least a little that night. It is a holiday, after all, and I personally believe a little candy is part of the celebration. But what about all the leftovers the next day? And Monday? And the week after that? In general, I’ve found that storing it somewhere and simply denying your child all but occasional access is a bad idea. Kids typically want what they can’t have. Adults too. Similarly, allowing them to free-feed on the typical trick-or-treat booty is both a health nightmare and a recipe for tantrums, hyperactivity, mood swings, crying jags, exhaustion, and inability to focus.

Here are some creative ideas you might consider:

1. Sensibility. After Halloween itself, allow them to choose 20 pieces they will really enjoy with the plan that they may have two per day as a treat for the next ten days. This empowers them to choose whatever they want with an understanding of the limits up front. Now, what to do with the rest…

2. Corporate Goodwill. Take the rest (all of it minus your Sensibility plan) to your office and allow non-trick-or-treating adults to enjoy a small treat. This will also spread the indulgence across a much larger group.

3. Holiday Crafts. String candy packages together (fishing line is ideal for this) to make garlands for your holiday decorating. Hang the strings of candy bars (in the wrappers) in a dry, protected place like the garage to dry out for the next several weeks. You can also make a fun front-door wreath out of them. Just don’t store them in a hot place. And don’t save them to use next year; you’ll sabotage your Halloween 2015 leftovers strategy (smile).

4. Thanksgiving donations. Give leftover candy to your local place of worship that makes Thanksgiving meal baskets for the needy. They are almost always happy to include a handful of treats in with their gifts.

5.  Dental Rebate.  Many creative dentists are happy to collect leftover Halloween booty and will actually reward kids with cash by the pound for candy they turn in to the dentist’s office.

6. Community Appreciation. Take your left-over candy to the local fire or police station and offer it in a basket in appreciation for what these folks do for your community every day.  I’ve done this before, and a few years later, a particularly touched policeman still smiles and waves at me every time he sees me in town.  This is also an excellent way to role model for kids the mutual value of giving and receiving and continuing to pay it forward.  Those who often have a thankless job will enjoy being recognized with a small treat, and your kids might learn something (or get a tour!) during your visit.

Happy Halloween!