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This Halloween, lower the sugar intake

Halloween is the pinnacle for many kids.  You get to dress up, run around, and when you ask people for candy, they just give it to you – what could be better?

Maybe that’s the kids’ perspective, but if you’re like me, you tremble at the thought of that much sugar running through your little ones’ blood streams.  It can be a lot of candy.

But what about alternatives to downing all that candy in one fell swoop?

A candy plan

1. As soon as you get home from trick-or-treating, make a deal with your child to exchange a set amount of money for a certain amount of candy.  For example, for every 5 pieces of candy they relinquish, they get a quarter.

2. The next day, take them to the store to let them buy a small toy with their money (avoid the Halloween candy now on sale!).

3. On Halloween evening, let your child eat as many pieces as they are old.  After that, it’s one piece a day.

Ideas for the relinquished candy

• Take the candy they relinquish, and immediately refill your candy bowl for handing out to other trick-or-treaters.

• Save all the small pieces for decorating a gingerbread house for Christmas.

• Store remaining candy away for future birthday parties, when you can fill a piñata.

• One evening down the road, have a homemade Blizzard night – mix ice cream and candy in a food processor.  Or, you can have a sundae bar with the candy as the toppings.

• Donate the candy to a children’s shelter or some other charity that will take it.

What do you do with extra Halloween candy? Share your creative ideas!

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  1. Tiffany

    There is a dentist in town who offers a dollar per pound for kids candy the day after Halloween. They mail the candy to the troops. Thought that was a cute idea.

    Our dentist said it is better (for their teeth anyway!) to let them eat it all within a day or two. We don’t T or T but they get loads of candy anyway. I am not a candy fan unless it is dark chocolate. Then I may offer them money myself!

    Tiffany’s last blog post…Happy National Chocolate Day!

  2. Gabrielle

    I’m not a big candy fan, but I eat my fair share every halloween. We simply save it for other times: movie nights, etc. When it gets a few months old I throw it away.

    I love the idea of homemade blizzards. Thank you, my kids will be excited to try it out!


  3. meagan

    I love the Blizzard idea! I did sort of the same thing with Banana m&m muffins last night. (I’m going to be posting the one-bowl recipe in a little while today, too!)

    Our trick or treat was Saturday, and I discovered some strategies for the 3-4 year old set. They understand they got *candy* but don’t have the brand awareness or sense of volume to be too attached to what winds up in the candy bowl. I took all of the candy we weren’t interested in keeping around and dumped it back in our “give away” pile for the last hour of trick-or-treating! That left us with a small bowl of mostly plain chocolate candies that we are doling out to him, one each night. It still looks like a lot to him, but we were able to exercise quality and portion control, which helps mom and dad, too 😉

    meagan’s last blog post…sage reads: october 29

  4. jill

    Because my kids are young, I just buy a toy ahead of time and swap them for most of their candy as soon as they get home. I let them each keep 10 things. Since my son is allergic to chocolate, this usually means chips and rocket candies and gummies and suckers. Then I dole this out over the next few days in small quantities.

    This year my oldest is four and he actually asked if he was going to get to swap it for a toy.

    jill’s last blog post…Did I mention my kitchen is green now?

  5. Stephanie

    Our kids dress up and we hand out candy, but I try to make holidays like Halloween, Valentines Day…..not so much about the stuff they get but about the traditions we can make. But we always end up with a lot of candy though, so I appreciate the creative ideas on what to do with it. I always just take it and ration it back out over time. Soon they forget about it and I just get rid of it.

    Stephanie’s last blog post…Sewing Seeds

  6. Dana

    Your ideas of what to do with the extra candy were awesome! I love the idea of making the gingerbread house with them. Such a neat idea!

  7. Julie - On the Dot Creations

    What a perfectly timed post! I was just thinking about this issue this morning. On the Wednesday evening prior to Halloween each year, our church allows the kids to dress up as Bible characters, and the adults line up around the perimeter of the church auditorium and give candy to the kids as they file by. It’s a fun event, but my 3-year-old received WAY too much candy!

    Now, I have some great ideas, thanks to you and the other commenters.

    Julie – On the Dot Creations’s last blog post…:: The Scarlet Letter ::

  8. Jennifer

    My mother-in-law said she would put it in large ziplock bags and freeze it. Then take it out little by little for other things like Easter and such. I on the other hand, knowing my lack of self control, send it with hubby to work. LOL!

    Jennifer’s last blog post…Kat Boo-ed me!

  9. michelle

    our daughter gets to pick our the most choice pieces and fill a container, the rest we weigh and do some creative math and she gets money in return. she wants to go to the bookstore with it this time around. even with the candy she does keep, she never eats it all (barely any).

  10. RF

    Growing up, my Dad would always do a check of my candy after Trick or Treating, and we’d throw out any questionable items. Then I would get to pick a piece, and he would pick a piece. We’d go back and forth until all the candy was divided between us, and I had my loot and he had his. I thought it was terribly unfair growing up, but having young kids of my own I now understand the logic of his method.

  11. Krista

    we hide a lot of it too. my son is 4, he has no concept of how much candy he actually ends up with. i don’t know if it makes us rotten parents, but we eat some of it too!!

    Krista’s last blog post…Infertility Awareness Week

  12. bethany

    hey simple mom!

    i have been “lurking” for a little while now and have to say that i love your blog! its helped me already in so many ways!
    my mom and i started our own blog a little while ago…we write together to get two perspectives on marriage and everything that comes with. its been fun so far and i would love for you to check it out if you have time.
    i am definately adding you to our blog roll! : )

    thanks again!

  13. Mary

    I agree that blizzards are fun but how do they lower the sugar intake? If there is a way I can eat them while lowering my sugar intake, hey! I’m IN!!

    Mary’s last blog post…One of the best ways to eat well on a budget

  14. Writer Dad

    I love the idea of saving the small pieces for a gingerbread house. We’re to the other extreme. Our children are rarely allowed any candy at all. We tell them to go to town on Halloween, but it’s done when they go to bed. Nothing in November. They usually give up after several pieces. Happy Halloween everybody!

  15. pam

    I have to admit I usually let my kids eat as much candy as they want on Halloween night, and after that they are usually over it.
    I saved some of the good stuff for movies, a occasional lunch treat, or an award for good behavior. As they got older they keep control over their candy but usually end up getting tired of it after a few weeks and chucking it.
    I love th blizzard idea though, I will pass that on to them!

  16. Amie

    This year I am borrowing my BFF’s idea of the “Switch Witch”.

    See, two days after Halloween, the Switch Witch will be coming to our house while we are sleeping and switch the candy for toys or books. The more candies she gets, the better the switch!

    My 4yo is really looking forward to seeing what she will get from the Switch Witch!

  17. Mocha Dad

    Giving the candy to a children’s shelter is a great idea.

    Mocha Dad’s last blog post…What Not to Wear

  18. Michelle Sybert

    such awesome ideas! I have been known on occasion to hide the excess after a few days and then use it for when the “house fairy” comes (she rewards kids at our house with a treat if their room is clean).

    but I am trying some of your ideas this year!!

    Michelle Sybert’s last blog post…Wordless Wednesday

  19. Karen

    We dump all the candy in a big bowl and eat it over a long period of time – like maybe one piece after supper or something like that. This year we didn’t get as much because instead of trick-or-treating downtown, we went to a festival at the community center. We had a lot more fun and came away with great memories and not as much candy. 🙂

    Karen’s last blog post…A Dog Made of Stone

  20. Katharine

    The kids usually only eat a piece or two on Halloween, then maybe remember to ask for some for a day or two afterward. I take the rest to work for my candy bowl on my desk. The same goes for all the other holidays. Thanks to Easter, I usually only have to buy any candy for about a month in the fall. My staff love the treats!

  21. Sara

    The “Pumpkin Fairy” comes to our house (for our 4 1/2 & 6 year old). The girls choose some of the their favorite candy and leave the rest on the fireplace ledge. The Pumpkin Fairy then comes while they are sleeping and leaves them a gift like a new book, pajamas, a game, etc. in exchange for their candy offerings.

    I can’t wait to try the blizzard idea! That’s great!

  22. Mary@SimplyForties

    I never made a rule about candy consumption. My son was not a big candy eater and his candy, save what I ate (!) would last and last until I finally threw it out. My neighbor told me today that when her children were young her rule was that they could eat as much candy as they wanted on Halloween night but the next morning, whatever was left went in the trash. I had exactly zero trick or treaters tonight so I guess I need to make some sort of rule for myself! If I keep it, I’ll eat it for certain.

    Mary@SimplyForties’s last blog post…On the Road to Financial Contentment

  23. Kristen M.

    Nursing homes or Meals on Wheels might also appreciate the bite sized candies to pass out to their clients.

  24. Lina

    I like the idea of exchanging sweets for money and giving them out 1 per year. We’ve missed Halloween fun, but I can foresee having a big amount of candies coming on Christmas day… These tips will be priceless…

    Lina’s last blog post…Skin Care Comes in Fabric

  25. Heidi Hess Saxton

    If your readers would like an easy gingerbread house recipe for all that Halloween candy, click here.

    And if your readers would like to give their kids self-defense tips for when the playground bully gets a sugar rush, click here.

    Heidi Saxton
    Extraordinary Moms (for moms facing extraordinary challenges, especially mothers of adoptive, foster, and special-needs children)

    Heidi Hess Saxton’s last blog post…Playground Politics: Conflict Evasion for Kids

  26. Melanie

    I (selfishly) suggest that you donate your candy to new moms coming off of the gestational diabetic diet at the hospital. After 10-20 weeks of “no sugar” a few pieces of candy would taste heavenly!

    • simplemom

      Ooh, I like it.

  27. monika

    We’re at a local Waldorfschool and we have the Good Witch that collects candy to give to children that didn’t have money for costumes to go trick or treating. The witch then leaves a toy in return. We always as the kids what they would like from the witch and try to get that thing. My niece is 7 1/2 and I think she knows that there is no such thing as the good witch, but is still game, as she knows she’ll have more fun with a toy than with too much candy.

    Stuff like chips and pretzles we keep as car snacks when we go on long drives.

    Of course the good witch is just mom, and I actually take it to the building where my studio is and put it downstairs in a bowl. Within a few days it’s all gone.

    monika’s last blog post…Sir Lancelot meets the Devil-Witch

  28. Rachel

    I take out all the smarties and m&m packages and put them away for to make special chocolate chip cookies down the road. I also only buy those types to give away so that any leftovers go to my baking shelf!

  29. Stacy (mama-om)

    My kids (who are five and two) leave their candy out that night for the “halloween fairy.”

    The Halloween Fairy exchanges their candy for a toy and some organic, healthier (non-GMO and no corn syrup) candies. This is the second year we’ve done it and my oldest loves it. This is the first year for my youngest and he’s just excited about everything! 🙂

    Last year, my oldest got a small set of legos and this year he got a Pegasus horse (so the present doesn’t have to be big). I also don’t give as much candy as they get trick or treating (and they don’t seem to notice).

    I’m not totally hard-core about it — for instance, my sons each had a piece or two of the candy from their trick-or-treating but once they have the fairy candy, I don’t have to worry so much about how much or when they eat it. (This year the fairy gave fruit leather, dark chocolates, vitamin c gum drops, and one big newman’s peppermint patty.)

    Stacy (mama-om)’s last blog post…Unraveled

  30. Heather

    I had my 4 and 5 year old pick out 20 pieces to keep. They handed over the rest of their candy in exchange for going to see HSM3 at the movie theater. Then we took their 20 pieces with us to the movie and they were allowed to eat as much as they wanted during the movie. Otherwise the regular rule stands- 1 piece after lunch max and 1 piece after dinner max until it is gone.
    With the ‘confiscated’ candy and my 21 month old’s candy I pulled out all the non-holiday specific candy and hid it in the freezer to be used by Santa for stuffing stockings and adding to treat plates for the neighbors.

    Heather’s last blog post…Thankful Thursday- Alive and well

  31. Jane

    Trading in the candy for coins worked BRILLIANTLY in our home. My 6 year old was working a math frenzy in his head to trade his candy in to get to the dollar amount he was after. We let them trade in as much of their candy as they wanted and then took them to the store to purchase a toy of their choice As it turns out, my boys (6 and 4 years old) ended up pooling their money and purchasing a lego kit they had been admiring for a long time. It was fantastic to see them work together, encourage each other, and most importantly- have their fun on Halloween but realize they didn’t need all that candy after all. It was a wonderful and gratifying parenting moment for us. Thank you!!!

  32. Kristi

    I just let them have how much they want on Halloween – it’s really part of the fun! Since our kids don’t usually have tons of sugar anyway, the appeal is usually short lived. We do a big toothbrushing that night and call it good. We keep the left overs in a big bowl put up high in the cupboard and they usually forget about it after a few weeks. After it all goes stale, I usually throw it away anyway. If you make sugar the bad guy they want it even more, but I downplay it, and we always talk about balance and healthy choices.

  33. Carrie

    When we get home, we dump it all out and we give our kids 10 minutes to eat as much candy as they want. When the timer goes off, the remainder goes in the top-of-the-fridge basket that’s used for special treats and/or needed bribes.

    They get the full kid joy of seemingly unlimited candy on one magical night a year, with the almost immediate consequence of realizing how you feel after you eat unlimited candy.

    They never last the full 10 minutes. 😉

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