Ahh Halloween … for us in Florida, it means the temperature has dipped below 90 degrees, we can all start pulling out our plaid scarves and boots, and our children can start dreaming of the mounds of candy they will collect while trick-or-treating. But you know what? I am not a fan of Halloween. Yep, I am the mean mommy who doesn’t let her kids eat sugar very often.
I restrict the intake of sugar not just so the dentist and I can maintain the equilibrium in our relationship and knock-on-wood we will continue our no-cavity streak (11 years, in addition to my 29+6 years), but because I don’t want to make my job harder. I have 4 children – have you spent time with 4 children in a confined space after dosing them with a ton of sugar? It’s no treat. Plus they get enough sugar at school – I swear that it is some kid’s birthday every single day of the week, and that means the whole class gets to have a darned cupcake. So at home, we do very limited sweets. For the same reason they don’t get to have caffeine – I don’t need them to be any more energetic than they already are.
This presents a dilemma at Halloween – what to do with the 4-6 lbs. candy we end up with at the end of the night? I have come up with 10 feasible ideas for how to get rid of Halloween candy. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments below – let’s tackle this problem together!
How to Get Rid of Halloween Candy
Eat it yourself – now admittedly, this is maybe not the smartest idea, especially if you are trying not to break your cavity-free streak or develop diabetes overnight. But it’s still a viable option. I will leave it up to you to tell them what exactly happened to the candy (depending on the age of your children, this can be pretty easy – out of sight, out of mind).
The Halloween Fairy – I have never done this, because frankly, I feel like I am already juggling enough mythical beings and keeping my stories straight is exhausting. But if you would like to go this, route – I recommend you start when they are very little. The Halloween Fairy comes at night while the children are asleep and exchanges the candy for a toy or book. Simple enough. The only complication I see is when your kid tells his friends about the Halloween Fairy and no one else has ever heard of her…then you will have some explaining to do.
Pay your kids for the candy – I chose this option one year and was very pleased with the results. I offered my children the option of keeping the candy – but they would only be allowed 3 pieces a day for a week and then it was all going in the trash or to be donated. Alternatively, they could choose 5 pieces to have within the next 24-hours, and then I would give them each $5 for the rest. All 4 of my children chose the cash. Phew.
Donate the Candy – Children’s Hospitals, Women and Families Shelters, as well as, libraries and schools are usually happy to accept the candy.
Sell it – Yep, cash for candy. Visit Halloween Buy Back to find a location near you. They will pay you cash for the candy and then send it in care packages to the troops overseas.
Operation Shoebox – Another way to donate your candy to the troops overseas through Operation Shoebox. Simply mail your candy to the address on their website. You feel good about donating and your teeth stay free of sugar bugs. They especially love candy to include in their care packages around the holidays.
Take it to work – Send it to work with your spouse, or take it to your own office. We all have a few co-workers who like to stash candy in their desk drawers – they will love you for this.
Bake with it. Halloween means we are breathing down the neck of Thanksgiving, Teacher Holiday Gifts, Cookie Exchanges, Hanukkah and Christmas. If you are a baker, there are quite a few creative recipes out there using candy. Here are just a few:
Decorate Gingerbread Houses – You can certainly save the candy to be used for decorating Gingerbread houses at home or school – but you are running the risk of tiny hands sneaking that candy into their tiny mouths before December.
Freeze it – Many people freeze Halloween candy and use it at another time. Some thrifty people save the candy for next year and hand it out to unsuspecting trick-or-treaters. Personally, I do not think that year-old frozen candy tastes very good – but hey, what do I care if I am just handing it out to the neighborhood kids. I don’t use this method because my freezer is full of my pasta sauce and soups.