As little fingers ring neighborhood door bells all over America this year on their way trick or treating, parents will see their children come home with sacks full of sugary goodness. Trick or Treating may be an annual tradition, but so too are the pounds of candy that get leftover afterward. Here are some clever ideas, tips, and tricks to deal with that multitude of monstrous munchies.
According to the chief industry analyst for the NPD Group, a market research firm that follows such things, a full 4% of all candy in the US is eaten on Halloween. NPD also reported that just about every kid in the nation would have some sort of sweet on October 31st. In addition a full of half of adults will also consume a candy as well. To give you some idea of comparison, on a regular day about a quarter of kids and adults will have a sugary treat.
Before You Head Out
Some of the best steps start before you go out trick or treating, reminds Ana Castilla, an orthodontist, who advises that parents should talk to their kids before the go out on their Halloween routes about how much candy they are going to eat. Just talking about setting limits will help ease expectations once they get home. Easting a filling meal before departing on candy gathering rounds is also a good idea, as it satiates some of hunger and children will eat less candy.
The Candy Fairy
Other strategies include a visit from a Halloween fairy, where kids are encouraged to leave their excess candy at the foot of their bed. Then a sugar fairy will visit and leave a non-candy gift in its place. Think toys, games and other diversions, which will not impact a child’s health or teeth. Allowing your kids to binge a little and then being done with it can be instrumental in letting them have their night, but not creating any small candy monsters.
Candy Buy Backs
If you are left with a glut of tootsie rolls and Mars bars, many communities offer a candy buyback programs, where dentists and physicians buy unopened Halloween treats back from local children usually at the tune of $1 a pound. They then send this candy to organization like Operation Gratitude who repackages it in care kits for troops stationed overseas.
Other post Halloween options include taking it to your work, where mounds of candy and chocolate are known to disappear into happy coworker’s tummies. Also, donating your leftover stashes to a homeless shelter or halfway house may add a lift to those less fortunate. You can also transform some of those ingredients into other uses like trail mixes, baking projects, and even craft projects for younger children. Saving a bunch of the stash for the next birthday party and filling a piñata with it is another great use for all those wrapped delights. Some parents report allowing their kids to eat a bit of the sweet bundle on Halloween and then the rest goes into “dessert bank”, where it can doled out to them later as rewards for good behavior, or completed chores. scene-scary-187784/
E.H. Rossman is a freelance writer who blogs about parenting, health, and food in Portland, OR. He has a weakness for Nerds and Sweeties on Halloween.