You work hard to ensure your kids eat healthy foods. You try to buy organic, GMO-free produce and all-natural supplements… and then they come home on Halloween night with a huge bag of sugar-laden, genetically-modified candy made with artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. What to do? You don’t want to take all the fun out of Halloween, but you also don’t want your kids gorging on junk. You might be okay with a little bit, but not the mounds of candy that trickle in for an entire month leading up to Halloween. Or perhaps you don’t want them having any candy at all, but still enjoy seeing them run from house to house with all the other kids.
In my home, we don’t ban the candy all together. I fear it would become “forbidden fruit” and thus even more tempting. Instead, my son is allowed to keep a few pieces, but the rest must go. Interestingly, he has always willingly gone along with this plan, choosing just how many pieces he’d like to keep and what he’d like to do with the rest. But even more resistant kids will love some of these alternatives!
Send it to soldiers
Operation Shoebox, as well as many other organizations, accept candy donations to send to soldiers serving overseas. Kids are motivated to help others, and it’s a great cause. You can ship your candy to the address on their website, or find a local collection point. Often dentists, boy/girl scout troops, or other organizations will serve as collection points, or you can team up with friends and ship it all together.
Leave it for the Halloween Fairy
The Halloween Fairy, the Switch Witch, or the Halloween Ghost comes on Halloween night. She takes the bag of leftover candy, and in its place leaves healthy treats or a small, non-food present. There is even a Switch Witch doll and storybook, available here.
Buy it from your kids
Set your price — 10 cents a piece, or $1 a pound, whatever amount works for your family and motivates your kids to let go of their sweets! You can also have them bring it to a dentist listed on Halloween Candy Buy Back to trade it in for cash or prizes.
Gift it to those who help others
The nurses at your hospital, the firemen at your local station, teachers, librarians, and mail carriers all might appreciate little bags of carefully-selected treats along with handwritten thank you notes.
Donate it to the nursing home
Sweets can bring back great memories! Perhaps your kids would even be willing to dress up in costume to hand-deliver their bag of goodies for the elderly.
Add it to a food basket
Whether you are preparing baskets of food for families in need or making Blessing Bags for the homeless, throw in a few yummy treats for the kids.
Try some crafts or science experiments
Candy Experiments has some interesting science projects that the kids will both enjoy and learn from. Candies can also be used for crafts, toothpick structures, or gingerbread houses.
Send it to work
Mom or Dad’s coworkers will love finding a basket of candies in the break room, especially if they don’t have their own kids to bring Trick-or-Treating!
Candy can last a very long time, especially if you freeze it. Save it for special occasions throughout the year, so that at least they are not eating it all at once.