What do I do with all this candy?! And other thoughts on Halloween

carving pumpkins, candy treats and plastic
carving pumpkins, candy treats and plastic “tricks” for our little trick-or-treaters

Halloween is over, and the sugar season, er, I mean holidays, are upon us.  If you are like us, you have loads of candy calling to you and are trying to decide what to do with it.  Below are some of the options that we have done over the years.

  1.  Eat it all at once!  When we had one child who didn’t like trick-or-treating, and we gave away almost all our candy this was a viable option.
  2. Ration it.  Everybody gets one piece a day. I hate to waste food, and this has worked in the past; frequently by the time we get to December it’s only the stuff we don’t like and so we end up tossing it anyway.
  3. Toss it all, except the kind that bring you the most joy.  Having recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up I am most tempted to do this, but would probably receive a lot of kickback from the rest of the family for minimizing the stash.  Plus there’s quite a bit there that still brings us a lot of joy.
  4. Send it to a soldier.  Veteran’s Day is coming up, and being prior military, we know it can be rough on those who are far from home during the holidays.  Paired with cards from the kids, this can be a fun way to off-load it onto someone who will actually appreciate it.  (Check first though – some deployed gals and guys have more sedentary jobs and prefer healthier care packages).
  5. Repurpose it.  Last year I saved the pieces that have fun shapes and colors and we used them for our homemade gingerbread houses. The kids loved it, and I had a wider variety of candy for that craft too.   Chocolate bars can be saved to make delicious bar cookies later during the holiday season as well.
  6. the Peaceful Mom blog also has some great recommendations.
We will do a combination this year.  I’ll set aside some of the good stuff for the troops, and separate the fun stuff for gingerbread houses later.
 I’m letting each kid keep a little baggie of their 5 favorites that they can eat as they like.  We’ll ration out a piece or two a day for a week or so, and then start tossing the ones that don’t make the first week cut.
I don’t expect to turn Halloween into a healthy holiday.  Sure, we like to serve chili or another nutrient-dense dinner before collecting candy, and I do try to minimize how much we buy (do it last minute) and collect (go to houses where I want to see friends and neighbors, not just random strangers.)
We have also handed out non-candy items like pretzels (bust), Play-Doh (kids loved it but it’s expensive), and plastic bugs.  Bonus of these items is that if you over-buy you can save them for next year, birthday parties, or other fun giveaways.  Some kids just want candy though, so the last two years we have had a “trick” bucket full of gross plastic bugs or a “treat” bin with candy, where trick-or-treaters can choose which they prefer.  Both go equally fast, but boys seem especially fond of mixing up the rubber roaches in with their candy.  As healthier alternatives become more widespread with programs like the Teal Pumpkin Project I’m looking forward to seeing the changing face of Halloween over the next few years.
What did you do that worked well for Halloween this year?
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