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Halloween is a tricky holiday for reformed helicopter parents: handing over a pillowcase filled with candy is like handing them the remote control -- something that may have made sense decades ago, but might not today, when studies about the toxicity of sugar and the obesity epidemic are everywhere.
Last Halloween, I was so unnerved by the amount of candy my kids hauled in that I came up with the "Halloween Fairy." She’s a cousin to the tooth fairy, spawned from my imagination. Lore has it that if, on the night after Halloween, kids pick 10 treats from their spoils and then leave the rest at the foot of the bed, the Halloween Fairy will swap out the remaining candy with a cool toy. I know, pathetic. But I really wanted that candy out of my house.
Stronger parents than I might want to avoid the creation of another obligatory toy day.
Here are 5 ways to make your child’s surplus Halloween candy disappear:
1) Send it to the troops: Many dentists take part in "Halloween Candy Buyback" programs where they trade young patients for their Halloween treats and then send the collected candy to American troops overseas. Operation Shoebox is another organization that accepts candy donations for the troops.
2) Communal bowl: Not only is a community bowl in the middle of the living room a good chance to hone those sharing skills, but it’s also a lot harder for kids to keep track of the candy (i.e. parents can squirrel it out).
3) Keep only the least harmful stuff: According to Diabetic Living, mini Kit Kats, Almond M&M’s, dark chocolate, Twizzlers, and Fruit Leather are all (relatively) good choices to hold on to if you are bargaining with a little one.
4) Save it for holiday cookies and gingerbread houses: I did this a couple of years with my daughters and it worked like a charm. By the time Christmas rolls in, that candy is the least exciting thing around. Then, when the gingerbread gets stale the whole thing can be tossed.
5) Play mad scientist: Clever mom Loralee Leavitt provides a variety of irresistible experiments to do with kids on her blog, Candy Experiments. The activities are educational and they render candy inedible!
Do you and your kids do anything special with the candy they collect? Tell us about it in the comments or in a blog post.