Sure, letting the kids binge on some of their Halloween candy haul won't hurt anything, but too much is too much. Here's what to do with the rest of it.
If your kid's not a total sugar addict, it might work to just stash the candy haul away and dole out individual pieces over time as you see fit (to your mouth, your kid's mouth—doesn't really matter, right?). But some moms and dads have to incorporate a little more creativity to cut their kids' sugar intake and keep the cavities at bay. Since the average American eats 3.4 pounds of candy over Halloween, and trick-or-treaters consume three cups of sugar (or 7,000 calories) on average, Halloween can be disastrous for sugar highs, hyper-activity, and those devastating sugar crashes. Here are some alternatives.
1. The Candy Fairy
This is a fun tradition to start! Kind of like the Tooth Fairy, the Candy Fairy (or whatever you decide to call her) visits homes of little children in the night and leaves a toy or other gift in exchange for the candy. It takes some planning ahead—you'll need to have the present purchased in advance so you're not having to make a midnight run to the drugstore on the corner!
2. Halloween Candy Buy-Back
To encourage clean eating amongst kids, some dentists and businesses hold buy-back events where they will actually pay your kids in cash and other incentives to relinquish their candy pile. Local entities who participate in the program can be found by searching here. Make sure you call ahead to find out each organization's specific buy-back rules, dates, and times!
3. Send It to the Troops
Share the Halloween love with the U.S. troops stationed overseas! In the past, Operation Gratitude has collected over 500,000 pounds of candy that they were able to then share with our soldiers serving across the world. There are several organizations that do this, too:
Check each of their websites for specific instructions.
4. Give It to Families in Need
Whether it's the Ronald McDonald House, a local homeless shelter, or a food pantry, donating the family candy haul to other kids is always a good choice. You'll be teaching your family how to think of others, and it's never too early to start fostering a giving heart.
Do you have any great ideas for how to handle the Halloween candy haul? We used to save some of the more colorful hard candies to help us decorate our gingerbread house at Christmas. We'd love to hear your ideas in the comments below!