Oct 28, 2011

Sweet...But Scary: What to Do with Halloween Candy

So...what's got you shaking in your boots right about now?

Christmas shopping on the horizon??  Your neighbor's freaky Halloween displays??  ...OR the idea that in a few days your children might be bringing home a boatload of Halloween "goodies" and then proceeding to bounce off the walls right before your very eyes?! (Never mind possibly get sick.)

We parents sometimes laugh amongst ourselves about the sugar highs and the inevitable sugar crashes our children experience, as if there are no real lasting effects. However, refined sugar (the kind found in candy and other processed treats) is a bit more frightening than many of us realize. Just Google it...for quite the fright, indeed. (Here--I'll do it for ya.) Once you really start doing some research, you will want to run as far away from sugar as you can!

Speaking from personal experience, as one who was utterly and completely given over to an addiction to sugar, there are severe consequences over time. Was I addicted to sugar as a child? Of course, not! But, honestly, it was so readily available to me and any possible consequences so remote and seemingly far-fetched, that eating it as much as I did was simply NOT a big deal whatsoever. So I did. Thank you very much.

And now, at 37, I sincerely regret the life I once lived, nutritionally-speaking. Because NOW here I am with a damaged thyroid** and fatigued adrenals, no thanks to the sweet stuff (among other things). If I could do it all over again, I would. But things don't usually work that way. So instead, I'm trying to train my kiddos to do better. To KNOW better. They will still have personal choices to make, of course, but they will be more educated than I was and are already far healthier--because they eat "real food" and their mean ol' mommy makes them avoid the sugars and corn syrups and other freaky substances found in all those brightly-colored, fun packages at the check-out line...or at the movies. (Resist, people, resist, no matter how cute they look when they beg!)

The truth is, though, we don't always resist. In fact, many times we're not even present when our children are offered the unfriendly fare. And candy-related holidays are certainly not the most helpful to us health-conscious parents. So, we recently polled our Facebook followers for ideas on what to do with the Halloween candy that threatens to destroy our kids could soon fill our kids' buckets. Well, we got a grand total of ONE response, by the way, which is probably an indication that we parents...ummmm...NEED some ideas. So we compiled a handful of options for you.

Top Ten Things to Do With Unwanted Candy

1. Explain to your kids that there are men and women serving our country overseas, and then send a large family donation to the troops through Operation Shoebox. Or perhaps you have a personal favorite soldier!

Operation Shoebox
8360 E Highway 25
Belleview, FL 34420

Along the same vein, maybe your church supports foreign missionaries. Missionaries have kids, too, and they often don't "get" to partake of sweets as readily as we in the States do. You could put together a care package for them. 

2. Lots of churches in central Arkansas participate in Operation Christmas Child, a ministry that sends Christmas packages to needy children all over the world, and could use candy to help fill their boxes. (Chocolate is not the best choice in this case, however.) If interested in this option, leave a comment and I'll get you the proper contact information. National Collection Week is November 14th through 21st.

3. There are other, more local, places to donate candy as well: Food banks, homeless shelters, battered women's shelters, schools, senior citizens' centers, or Dad's friendly office staff.  ;)  Just drop it off and wave a happy goodbye!

4. Save it until Christmas, use it to decorate a gingerbread house...and then give the house to a neighbor or friend.

5. Make a deal with your precious offspring: candy for money. (Toy shopping to follow.) I'm thinking this one could work year-round...

6. If your kids are young, you might manage to get away with hiding it and then hoping they'll just forget about it. It happens. *hangs head in shame*

7. But if that's too deceitful for you, there's always the "Halloween Fairy," the "Candy Fairy," the "Great Pumpkin," or whatever you want to call the one who comes to empty the gigantic bowls (cute trick-or-treat containers, paper bags, etc.) of Halloween candy and put a much-wanted toy or gift inside as a replacement. Convenient service, huh?

8. Have your very own mini-parade (no specific occasion necessary) through your neighborhood. Get all the neighborhood kids on board. Let them ride their bikes, pull their wagons, wear costumes, play instruments, maybe even decorate floats. Be sure to invite everyone to come out for the event. And then? Throw the candy to the onlookers and be done with it.

9. Run and hide. Seriously. Go somewhere entirely non-Halloween-related as a family. This way you avoid the crowds at your front door (and, by default, don't have to shop for them) and your children will have empty treat bags! Or...turn off your front lights, go to the back of the house, and hide there for a special family movie night with your own much-healthier, homemade treats like ice cream, caramel corn, or soaked cookies.

10. There's always the trash can.

One more friendly tip:  If you DO give out "treats" at your own house to all the cute, masked door-knockers, do yourself a favor and give out non-candy treats so you won't have to deal with the leftovers. Things like stickers, bubbles, small toys, party-favor-type-doohickeys, or small bags of pretzels, trail-mix, popcorn, and small boxes of raisins.

Whatever you choose to do with the stuff, the key is in educating your children about making healthy choices and why it's important.

We'd love to hear any other creative ideas our readers may have!

**I'm attending the upcoming thyroid/adrenal workshop. Are you??


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  1. Trick or treat early. Don't buy enough candy. Get you kids excited about passing out candy. Run out of candy. Let kids share their stash with other trick or treaters.

    OK, so this happened by accident... But it might make for a good plan.

  2. good ideas- thanks! I like #1 sending to troops or missionaries!

  3. Our personal strategy is this: Let the children partake in the festivities, and either that night or the next day (or combo of both), let them eat as much of the candy as they want. Then throw the rest in the trash :)
    This way, they don't feel like they're deprived from participating in what all the other kids do, but we're not keeping it around to make a habit of candy-eating.
    That's my .02!
    (Sorry I never saw the FB post)

  4. My teenage daughter indulged in the trick or treat candy bowl before bed last night. This morning she told me that she woke up in the night shaking and extremely hungry. She wisely got up and ate some real food. Fortunately, she recognized a “sugar crash.” Hopefully, it is a lesson learned. One thing I suggested to her is that if she is going to indulge in sugar to make sure it is not on an empty stomach and that she also has fat to help keep the blood sugar from spiking and plummeting like that.



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