First written for Halloween 2010, but updated for 2011.
I admit it I have a sweet tooth, a particular weakness for chocolate. On a rough day, chocolate melting in my mouth can slow things down. Pour it over an ice cream sundae; include it in a baked treat; it tastes all the more sweeter. Yeah, I love my chocolate.
Now, I’m the mom of three little boys. In an effort to teach them healthy ways and set a good example, I try to keep their and my access to candy under control. Knowing full well, that too much of anything isn’t good. I can’t keep them from it forever, but I can teach them about sweets in moderation. As cookie monster says, “Cookies are a sometimes food.”
But something is terribly wrong with society that is hampering my efforts. At what point did it become acceptable to offer 2 year-olds lollipops without asking their parents first? When did it become okay to send a 3 year-old home from preschool or a birthday party with enough candy to last a week or two? How can there be moderation when there is a party every couple of weeks? It’s enough to make me hate the stuff.
We are approaching the biggest candy holiday of the year. I remember last year and the amount of candy that was given out at school parties, even at the preschool level. This year, with Halloween being on Monday, it seems the holiday has stretched itself into a 4-day weekend with Trick or Treating beginning last night. It culminates on Monday, Halloween, the big Trick or Treat day, woohoo! (Yeah, there’s a little sarcasm there.) I enjoy the costumes and the trick or treating. It’s the overwhelming amount of candy in front of my children that makes me crazy. Have you seen the size of candy bars some families give out?
I am thankful for the values my husband and I have instilled in our boys. When they get to have candy they do make educated choices about what candy is better for their bodies and their teeth. From their trick or treat bags Sunday night, they will each get to pick a few pieces of candy to spread out over the next week. If they’ve eaten a healthy dinner they can finish it up with a piece of candy from their selection. The rest goes to the Switch Witch. My children will gladly take a gift over a bucket full of candy. (explanation below) I am also thankful that, at least this year
Before you come home with the kids and trick or treat bags spilling over with candy, I offer you these suggestions of what to do with that Halloween candy supply.
What to do with Halloween Candy
- Invite the Switch Witch to your home. Simply have your kids leave their candy supply in a special place. At night once they are in bed, the Switch Witch takes the candy and replaces it with a gift. In the morning, the kids will forget all about that candy as they are opening up that amazing gift you bought. Leave a few empty candy wrappers around to add to the Switch Witch effect. This will be our 3 year of the tradition and my kids love it.
- Donate some or all of your candy abundance to your local food bank.
- Check in with the local dentists or doctors. Some of them run buy back programs. In an effort to prevent the problems associated with eating high volumes of candy they will buy back your child’s Halloween haul. What child doesn’t love cash?
- Pull out a few favorites and use them in a special baked treat. For a church bake sale last year, I created a Chocolate Lovers’ Delight cake decorated with an assortment of chocolate candies.
- Share it with your coworkers.
- Individual candy pieces can stand in for chocolate chips in cookie recipes.
- Regift it. (Great for holiday gifts fill those mugs or candy dish gifts with your Halloween stash.)
- Use as a topping for ice cream sundaes.
- Include in care packages to your favorite college student or our military troops.
I’m realistic. I know I can’t control what they eat forever. :( But when my little boys are still 7 and under, I have a great responsibility to establish healthy eating habits. I think, and I hope you agree, that far more good will come from picking an option from above, than just letting them feast on it till it’s gone.