Sunday, October 21, 2012

Avoiding Halloween Candy Overload

This is an updated version of a post from October 2011.
Although we've never allowed our kids to have much candy, Halloween is still a holiday they greatly enjoy.  Pumpkin carving, costumes, and trick-or-treating! This will be our third Halloween while on a (mostly) grain-free diet, so I thought I'd share some ideas for avoiding candy overload.  With all of these options, make sure you talk to your kids in advance of Halloween so they know what to expect. 
  1. Non-edible treats: In advance of Halloween, I buy a few small items that my kids will enjoy, such as small puzzles, coloring books, animal figurines, and even Halloween socks.  I leave these items at my mother's house so that, when we arrive there and say "trick-or-treat", these items get dropped into my kids' goodie bags.   
  2. Natural sweets: Since my kids aren't often allowed to eat things like fruit leather, they serve as a great candy replacement on Halloween.  I'll drop a few natural sweet treats in their bags along with the other items they've collected while trick-or-treating.  Some ideas for natural sweet treats are: 
  3. Candy Fairy: Before bed on Halloween evening, my kids leave their bags of candy on the back porch for the Candy Fairy (they knows that the Candy Fairy is really just me, but nonetheless they enjoy the idea that it is a fairy).  In the morning, they find that their bags of candy are gone, but instead their are a couple new games or toys.  This has worked particularly well for us.  It may not work as well for older kids, but may be worth a shot. 
  4. Teach moderation: In advance of Halloween, take the time to talk to your kids about moderation.  They should know that, while tasty, candy is not good for their bodies.  This can help soften the blow when they are not allowed to gorge on candy.  
  5. Compromise: I would guess that moderating the candy intake gets more difficult with older children. A compromise may be in order, such as allowing the child to select a few pieces of candy that are favorites and then allowing the child to pick a toy or game to have in return for the rest of the candy.
  6. Trade money for candy: Where we live, there are several dentists who will pay kids for their candy.  This may be a good option for some kids.
  7. Celebrate without trick-or-treating: Having a Halloween party or going to a harvest festival at a local school or church can be a great way to enjoy Halloween without trick-or-treating. (This great idea was shared by a commenter.)
Do you have any ideas for limiting candy on Halloween?


Wendy said...

Thanks for your post...I appreciate ideas of teaching our kids to have fun but not overdo it.

Lose Your said...

I love #3, that is so smart and could really get a few years out of that. I pasted your blog onto my daughter for her kids.
Good post!

Sarah Smith said...

A comment fom my mother-in-law:

Alivia keeps about a dozen pieces of candy and then ships the rest out to the troops. Those 12 pieces have lasted for several months. This year over 5 pounds went out. I myself try to limit the candy I give out to the treaters by switching to pretzels/popcorn for the older kids, small containers of playdough for the 2-5 yr olds, assorted toys in baggies to the bit older kids. I can find great sales after Halloween picking up stencils, erasers, pencils, stickers, little books for as low as 90% off along with Halloween bags to put the goodies in. Oriental Trading Company after the holidays will also have great sales. One year I bought several bags of poppers and I went through every bag to make sure they worked. I called them and told them I had 20 out of 60 that did not work and they shipped me a new bag free of charge. They are great to work with. Should you need a replacement make sure you don't have anything else you want to buy as they will add your new items to the shipment and still ship everything free regardless of what you add. Here's the address for shipping candy:
VAN NUYS, CA 91406
ATTN: RICH HERNANDEZ / 262-674-7281
or here
If you don’t know what to do with all that left over Halloween Candy, send it to Operation Shoebox and they will get it over to the US troops. Every year, Operation Shoebox goes through tons of candy that they send to the troops and would be happy to have your left overs! The mailing address is:

Operation Shoebox
8360 E Highway 25
Belleview, FL 34420

Anonymous said...

Hi Just wanted to say THANKS SO MUCH for this post.
We are in Sydney Australia where Halloween is just starting to take off and this year was our first year of trick or treating.
The Lolly Fairy was the best idea ever and was the saving grace to allowing my 3 and 6 year old to collect many lollies without worrying that they were either going to be eaten or major tantrums when I wouldnt allow them to be eaten!
We passed on the Lolly Fairy idea to a few other mothers who were equally happy and the children have now embraced the Lolly Fairy (the sister of the Tooth Fairy) who needs lollies to turn them into her fairy dust!!
Its so nice to be able to let the children be involved with the fun without compromising their health too much.
Great Post ;o)

Unknown said...

I absolutely LOVE the fairy idea! That's so awesome! I know I myself have a very difficult time saying no to sweets, but I plan on changing that for the new life I'm bringing into the world. Her grandma is also real into tooth hygiene, so the better to keep gran happy.