Oct 30, 2012

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

Reposted from October 2011.

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 12th through 19th.

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!


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  1. Our church is doing a candy tithe. At our carnival on Sunday, the children decorated a paper bag and learned how to count out one tenth of their candy on Halloween. They will bring their candy tithe bags to church on Sunday and give it as an offering. We've arranged to give the donations to a local assisted living facility. It teaches the kids a great lesson about stewardship, and they learn that when you give your first tenth, there's still PLENTY left over.

  2. Take your children and move to Japan, where it isn't widely celebrated. At least that's what we're doing ;)

  3. I usually try and make a few healthier treat options and then offer them those in place of the candy. Eventually they stop asking as much and I can get rid of them! This year though, I let them pick a few pieces each then offered them money for the rest. (Our church had a trunk or treat this past weekend, so we're pretty much done with Halloween.)

  4. I happened to be at the dentist a few days before Halloween when the kids were younger. I was lamenting. He suggested a movie ticket or $10 in exchange for the bag of loot. I managed to get by with a $5 bill in exchange for my son's bag of loot! When I went to the trash can to throw it in, I kind of cringed and thought, what a waste. So I had to talk to myself, "if it is not any good for your kids, why would you want to pass it off to someone else?!" I've gotten used to it, and now I congratulate myself on helping people reduce their dentist bills by consigning my bag of candy to the trash can.



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