The Fine Art of Halloween Candy Disposal
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was Halloween, and I was fighting with my kids in an epic battle between liver preservation and letting them enjoy the sugar-laden holiday in all its white powdered glory. It’s a holiday that I, like many parents, have a love/hate relationship with.
I mean, what’s not to love about being someone else for a day – anyone you want – and then capping it off with an oversized bag full of candy to devour? It’s certainly a favourite for my kids, but I look at their huge sacks of spoils and cringe when I think of the pounds and pounds of tooth-rotting sugar just waiting to wreak havoc on their little pancreases.
One day I told my six-year-old that I didn’t like her and her brothers having a lot of candy because it’s poison to her body (according to this article in Time). She sighed and said, “Mom, your dream is dead. We get candy at school, at parties, at holidays, and tons of other places.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s everywhere. This is precisely why I try to keep healthy snacks in the house, and sugary snacks to a bare minimum.
So what’s a parent to do if they want to allow their child to participate in the tradition of Halloween? Some of you can keep the candy around, but personally, I have to get it as far away from me as possible. Apparently I have no self control to ration it fairly amongst the little workhorses who toiled for it in the first place. Nope, I’ll take it away in the name of health, but then continually sneak “just one,” all the while feeling guilty about the double life I am leading.
I can’t leave the candy in my kids’ hands to self-ration either, because apparently they take after me in the self control department. The only thing left to do is to remove it – lead us not into temptation! Sure, it’s technically theirs, but there’s no time like the present to remind them that life isn’t fair.
Over the years, I’ve found that getting rid of the candy is often a two step process; the first step is taking it from the guarded clutches of your darling offspring – and for some parents, a root canal may be preferable to this job. The second step, is disposing of it accordingly.
Step One – Parting with the Goods
In order to avoid a bunch of “Because I said so-s”, here are a few suggestions to convince your kids to part with their candy:
One Night Free-For-All
On Halloween, my good sense goes head to head with memory-making. Kids have a deep-rooted sense of fairness, and I wanted my children’s Halloween memories to be happy and not tainted with miser Mom making them miserable by withholding the goods they worked so hard to acquire. I needed to come up with a solution that seemed fair to them, yet got the candy out of the house in a timely manner.
Enter the One Night Free-For-All. On Halloween, the kids can eat as much candy as their little hearts desire. Cheap chocolate? Sign me up! Synthetic rubber-based bubble gum? I’m on it! Cavity-pulling gummies? The more the merrier! Artery clogging chips? Don’t mind if I do!
The only rule I give them is to listen to their bodies and respect their limits. To date, we have not had anyone throw up (knock on wood), and more importantly, they completely love this over-indulgent tradition.
After the Free-For-All, they are allowed to pick five pieces of candy that we ration throughout the following week, and the rest leaves the house. Usually by this time they are cranky and whiney, and wondering why they can’t keep it all, but a sugar hangover will do that to you, so I just stick to my guns and reiterate the fact that it’s not good for us and we need to try to make good choices for our bodies. They eventually comply with one last begrudging “it’s not fair!” hurled in my direction. Ah, such darlings.
Have you ever heard of the Switch Witch? She’s never made an appearance at our house, but it’s a great idea, especially for younger children who haven’t yet figured out cause-and-effect, and that if you don’t like what the Switch Witch brings, too bad – you ain’t getting your candy back.
The idea is that you leave your pile of bounty out and the Switch Witch exchanges it for something the child will hopefully want more than that glorious pile of goodies. Think games, toys, books, cold hard cash, or maybe even a one-on-one day with mom or dad.
Older kids might be harder to fool, but at any rate, check out this site for some great ideas on how to make your Switch Witch come to life, including purchasing your very own to hang out with your family in the weeks leading up until Halloween. Of course, the props aren’t necessary; you can have the witch be a magical entity akin to the Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny – never seen, but performs miracles nonetheless.
Once you’ve plied the candy from their fingers (hopefully somewhat willingly in a scam-like fashion), you move on to:
Step Two – What to do with the candy now?
Those of you with self control might be looking for ways to utilize the contraband, and there’s a lot you can do with it. Check out these uber-creative suggestions that you could find just about anywhere with a simple Google search (but hey, we saved you the effort, so quit complaining). Plus, we’ll spare you the simple suggestions like “eat it yourself” or “pack it in lunches,” so really, this list is golden.
Again, if you’re like me and have little to no self control, you should skip on down to number five. But for the rest of you, try these practical suggestions.
- Freeze it for future use. Christmas is another holiday that is chock full of sugar, so use your leftover candy to your advantage. Stuff them in a reusable Advent calendar (another great memory-making tradition), have Santa use them as stocking fillers, make some delicious ornaments for the mice in your attic space to munch on post-holiday, or use them to decorate your homemade, Martha Stewart-style gingerbread house.
- Make it teachable. I love learning with my kids, and there’s nothing better than a cool experiment to get us excited. Mentos and diet cola isn’t the only cool candy trick out there; check out these 10 science experiments you can do with candy.
- Ice cream Cold Stone Creamery-style! Chop up those chocolates and have a family ice cream party, where everyone can pick the toppings of their choice and mix them into vanilla ice cream. If you want to go really hard core, check out this awesome instructable that utilizes dry ice for an ongoing party. Otherwise, a marble slab or any flat thick pan such as cast iron placed in the freezer will do for a short term fix.
- Freeze it and give it to the neighbourhood kids next Halloween. Don’t worry, by the time they realize that some jerk gave them old, stale-dated candy, they’ll have no idea which house it came from and you’ll be safe from ridicule. Kidding.
- Give it away. There are several places that would make good use of your candy; your local shelter, the kids’ school, the women’s interval home, your workplace, the dentist. Wait. Scratch that. The dentist might not appreciate it – or maybe they might because it’ll cause dental problems. But you get the idea. I’m not happy that my kids are constantly rewarded with candy, but if you can’t beat them, join them.
Well, there you have it. A far from exhaustive list on what to do with your (ahem, your child’s) Halloween spoils. What do you do with the candy in your house? Let us know in the comments so that next year our list can be Google-worthy.
Will you need a little break after all the Hallowe’en craziness? Find out how to get started with Datenight — set up some interviews with a few great babysitters that you can call on when you need them!
About our Guest Writer:
Lynae Morningstar is a freelance writer whose husband is always telling her she’s not as funny as she thinks she is. When she’s not writing, she’s in the kitchen – mostly to avoid cleaning the house, but partly to ensure her three kids eat nutritiously. Her current success rate for them eating her healthy fanfare is approximately 29%.