Saturday, October 30, 2010

You got all this candy… Now What?

Let’s face it: Halloween candy is totally unnecessary for the human body to consume.

Humans do not need the massive quantities of refined sugar, fat, preservatives, and questionable filler that make up most of the candy passed out on Halloween by your neighbors, shopkeepers, and friendly strangers whom you encounter. Does anyone really need 20 Snickers, 14 Milky Ways, 55 tootsie rolls and pops, stale bubble gum and other impossibly sticky things that make Dentists both cringe and get excited for the overwhelming number of November 1st phone calls at the same time?! No, we don’t.

Does that mean I’ve never touched a delicious King Size Butterfinger bar or dug into a Milky Way Dark Mini before? That would be no… I’ve had my fair share as a child, as a teenager, and now as an adult, because we have to give it out to total strangers who knock on our door on the 31st, right??! It would be downright criminal to turn off the lights and hide in a back room somewhere because we didn’t want to answer the many calls of social pressure that occur between dusk and the late evening on Pumpkin Day!

Besides, do we really need to send our children out into the night, dressed up in all things from princesses to superheroes to creepy crawly things or undead monsters we don’t want to run into in a dark alley somewhere, all the while begging total strangers for treats with the unspoken promise that they won’t in turn smash their pumpkins, egg their front door, or cause other illegal forms of mischief and mayhem?? Again, no. But it sure is fun!!

So now that the night is over, and your kids have gone trick or treating on no fewer than 3 different days at 5 different venues, they have amassed a gianormous fortune in hard candy and chocolate. What do you do with it all? What will keep you from having to put 2 pieces of poison in your kids’ lunches every day until next Halloween?

Well, because you are a responsible parent, you’ll first check the stash for obvious hazards to your child’s health: remove gum and hard candies for kids under 5; candies containing peanuts, chocolate, and/or dairy for kids, like one of mine, with allergies to certain foods; and the occasional caramel apple with hidden razor blades (do they still do that anymore, or was that just an 80’s thing?!) But, by your count, there is still 372 pieces of candy remaining for each kid and that means if you spread it out, each kid will have 4 pieces of spastic hyper-inducing junk to eat each day until February 2nd. Oh, good times.

Getting rid of it all… here are a few stellar choices!

Hard candies you’ve removed from the younger kids stash. Easy – give ‘em to grandma. Hard candies are such a favorite with the older crowd (like over 60… why? I don’t know. It just is.). Grandmothers have stashes of hard candy in baggies in their purses for centuries to hand out to bored kids in church, family dinners, or doctor’s offices. I see them sneak a few themselves, so chances of your kids seeing that hard candy again is about 1:10. I can deal with those odds.

Snickers bars and all other peanut containing offenders. Another easy one – send them to the office. Send hubby with a nice sized stash to give to the receptionist. She always has a bowl out for guests and if he is lucky, he’ll be the recipient of a few of those bars too! Take a bigger bag to your office, that way you can sneak a few without the kids around to be assaulted by your peanut breath.  Besides, if you are going to consume the calories, it might as well be something good!

Caramel apples and other homemade treats? Unless you personally know the generous person who took the time to make special treats for the kids in the neighborhood, you’ll need to toss them. I don’t know if police stations still “x-ray” candy for these things or if that was an urban myth from back in the day and I just never got the memo that it’s a parental joke.

Now the rest of the stash. It’s all for your kid(s). Do you drag it out, doling out candy for treats, bribes, or sack lunches? Do you get it all over with in a short period of time? Do you give it away? Either way, you will have a hyper kid or a sad kid, if they are old enough to remember how much they had at one point.

Young children: Out of sight, out of mind! The stash could be cut in half each night and by next Sunday, it could be totally forgotten! I know that my kids forgot about their candy by November 3rd even though my husband and I enjoyed it for another few weeks!

Another good thing about younger children is that they are often done trick-or-treating for the night by their 7:30 or 8 bedtime. This is good news if you have people ringing your bell as late as 9 PM .. just give your kids’ rejected candy back to those kids!! That is, if you can pry it from their little paws as they sleep with their plastic Halloween pumpkin tightly clasped to their bodies. Do you know how strong 2 yr olds are??

Older children: Have them choose their top 10 or 20 pieces and set it aside. Then appeal to their philanthropic nature. Donate the rest of candy to a church, a school (not your kids’ school!), youth group, or to a charity. (I do not recommend giving the candy to children in hospitals. Sugar is terrible for the immune system and in fact will make them worse if they have an immunosuppressant issue.) I googled “Halloween candy for soldiers” and found Operation Gratitude, which collects candy and send them oversees to our troops. Soldiers use the candy to hand out to children they come across, or get their own sugar fix if needed. I wouldn’t deny either group that! Another group of dentists will buy back your candy at a $1 a pound and they also donate the candy to troops through Operation Gratitude so your kids can earn a buck or two in the process.

Throw them away! There’s a free option that doesn’t take any effort on your part, other than the will power needed to keep yourself out of the trash before the garbage is collected!

Have a candy-eating party. Yes, you heard me correctly. Let them go nuts one day. Let me tell you what my mother did when I was a kid. My first memory of this day was when I was 9 and my brother just turned 6. On Halloween night, we could eat a few pieces, then for each day afterwards she would put 2 pieces in our lunch for school… until Saturday, that is. [This meant, of course that a Saturday- or Sunday-based Halloween Day was the optimal day giving us a full week to be “just like all the other kids whose mom packed them candy with their lunch”, whereas a Thursday or Friday Halloween was a total bummer because the holiday is over that much quicker.] The first Saturday after Halloween was even better than Christmas at our house. My mom’s reasoning behind Candy Saturday was simple (and magical!) – we’d go nuts on Saturday, be sick on Sunday, and be OK to go to school on Monday. Plus, back in her day, mom was a dental assistant so she knew the affects of sugar on children’s teeth, and she figured multiple exposures of a few pieces a day over the course of 2-3 months was WAY worse than a one-day sugar free-for-all pigfest.

We would excitedly wake up at the crack of dawn Saturday morning, and mom would prepare us a healthy breakfast with eggs, fresh squeezed orange juice, milk, and other protein-full items. Then, at 9AM, she would take us to the living room and flip on the TV. My brother and I would sit at opposite ends of the room and she would dump the candy out of our plastic orange pumpkins onto the floor all around us (we are talking MOUNTAINS of candy here, people!) and say “enjoy!”

We watched cartoons and ate candy from 9 AM until bedtime. (Occasionally when the sugar built up in our systems too high, we were told to go outside and run for 20 minutes to burn it off. There was a lot of screaming and giggling. Bartering and trading. Making sure we ate the same piece of candy at the same time. Candy Day was a magical day… my bro and I got along FAMOUSLY that day!! At the end of the day, we brushed our teeth for about 10 minutes before bed, and passed out in a sugar coma.

From that day forward, there was no candy until Valentine’s Day and Easter. For those holidays, there was such little candy that we were just encouraged to make it disappear quickly to save those precious teeth. I guess this plan worked. I did not have a single cavity until I turned 19.

I also think my mom’s idea was to turn us off of candy forever by being so sick due to the candy overload, that we would never touch it again. Unfortunately, that theory didn’t work then, and it didn’t work when I got a job behind an ice cream counter for 4 years either… I still love the stuff!

Whatever way you choose to get rid of the candy, I hope you and your family enjoy the day tremendously! Now that my children are getting older and will remember their precious Devil's Nite bounty, I might have a candy eating party Saturday and invite some other kids over too.  Why not let 10 kids all freak out and go crazy in my backyard, while hanging out with a couple of cool moms?  (...sipping mojitos, and having our own party!) 

Do you have any other ideas on how to escape prolonged candy eating at your house?

photo credit:,,,


  1. Isn't this interesting. . . . ?

  2. Yes, eating all the candy at once helps prolonged candy eating I find. ;)

  3. I had never even HEARD of OPeration Gratitude, but that is such a cool idea!

    I have never been much of a cnady person at all... Is it awful if I'm just hoping my kids turn out to be the same way?!? Ha!

  4. @Anonymous ... well, damn it, I didn't get that memo. So now I know. ;-)

    @WW ... so that means you are coming for the candy eating party on Saturday then? LOL!

    @SIF ... you know, those men in uniform would appreciate your future kid's Halloween candy. Espeically if you delivered it to them personally. :-)

  5. I was hoping for out of sight out of mind this year. But they KNOW!