‘Tis the season for ghoulish costumes and sweet treats.
Between the trunk-or-treat events the weekend before Halloween, the treats passed out at school or activities and the candy sampled before the big night, many kids are on sugar overload before ringing a single door bell.
After a couple of hours of pounding the pavement on Halloween, the total haul can be several of pounds of candy.
What on earth are we supposed to do with all of it?
I would never buy that much candy just to consume casually for no reason, and yet, that’s what we do every October.
On Halloween night, we institute only two rules about this massive haul.
The first rule is that there’s no snacking until we get home and adults have checked the candy.
I don’t know if there’s candy out there with staples or razor blades, but it’s a good practice to start as soon as your child is taking candy from strangers. All candy is examined at the kitchen table at our house.
The second rule is the candy tax.
As soon as our kids were old enough to realize my husband and I were taking all of the good candy, we started with the candy tax. You can make this as official or unofficial as you want. Maybe you collect one kind of a particular candy. Maybe you collect a percentage. Maybe if you’re a family of accountants, you have different tax rates for different kinds of candy. The how is totally up to you. But my share of the candy tax is sometimes the only thing that gets me out of bed on November 1.
After any defective candy is removed and a reasonable tax is collected, there’s still a lot of candy left to manage., From what I can gather, you have three choices when it comes to regulating Halloween Candy.
- Offload it. There are candy exchanges that pop up every November 1. Dentist offices and charity groups are to the two places to look. Some organizations will give a small trinket for your candy haul, or pay by the pound. Your kids can skip all that sugar and you can feel good that the candy usually goes to those who might really enjoy it (such as active military personnel).
If you think you want to go this route, start it when your kids are young. Mine would revolt at the very suggestion.
- Ration it. Growing up, I had a friend who always had candy left at Thanksgiving, and often even Christmas. Her family rationed the candy in some way or another. I really don’t know how. I used to attempt to ration my kids’ candy. I’d include two pieces for lunch, and then give another two pieces after school. And then every 10 minutes or so, they’d ask for another piece of candy all the way through until bedtime. In my house, this policy created a lot of unnecessary drama and sneaking around.
Which leads me to the last option when it comes to Halloween candy.
- Gorge. I’m not proud, but this is how my family operates. Rather than fight the begging for candy every day, we give the kids free reign. All we do is cut off what time they can eat it. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet from after school until about 7 p.m. every night.
This means we are all wrapped up with the candy by about November 4th, and they have a chance to detox until the candy canes make an appearance.