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Every year, my four kids cycle through approximately four different trick-or-treating scenarios: There’s the community treat walk, the annual tradition of visiting the spooky village treat walk, the trunk-or-treat at their school and the actual main event of Halloween night trick-or-treating.
As you can imagine, come November 1, we are full of regrets about a certain late-night Milk Dud fest, sporting sugar hangovers and left wondering what on earth we’re going to do with so much candy. Typically, I let my kids enjoy the fun of feeling like they hit the candy jackpot for a day or two, remembering how great it was as a kid myself to do the living room floor candy dump and sort my riches. Half of the fun is just getting the candy, not actually eating it, right?
After a few days, however, the excitement fades and I start to employ my mom stealth tactics to squirrel away candy and dispose of it before my kids really do consume more sugar than they should ever eat in a year. My usual strategies include literally just throwing it away in spurts until the pile gets smaller and smaller—so subtly my kids don’t even notice—or putting it out of sight so they forget about it, then disposing of it.
But I have to admit, one mom’s strategy is a lot better than mine. Like a lot of us, Cara Vie, mom to two young kids, loves Halloween but doesn’t love all the sugary treats and candy that come with it. So, she came up with a rather unique solution to dealing with the Halloween candy: She told her children a story about Halloween Holly, an elf who collects all the extra Halloween candy to take with her to North Pole to help energize Santa’s elves as they make the toys and gifts for Christmas. Because we all know that elves survive on a steady diet of candy, candy corn and syrup, right?
Vie’s kids loved the story and how they would actually help Santa’s elves and Vie loved how she could help her kids cut down on some sugar. She designed a book and special plush candy bowlto accompany Halloween Holly, where the kids place extra candy they want to send to the North Pole. After they are done gathering the candy, Vie’s family donates the candy to a local charity, nursing home or an organization that will ship candy to the troops overseas.
It’s a simple, genius idea that can help both you and your kids deal with all that extra Halloween candy and I have to say, I wish I would have thought about it myself. If Halloween Holly won’t be visiting your home this season, you could try one of these other tactics for dealing with the surplus of candy.
Save candy for holiday decorating and baking.
Go through all the candy and pick out pieces that you can recycle for the holiday season. For example, my kids love to make gingerbread houses every year, so I save candy that works well for decorating, like gum drops, licorice or even Kit-Kats for sidewalks (although admittedly it’s harder to not eat those). There are also tons of recipes that use leftover candy.
Ask a teacher if they could use the candy in their classroom.
My husband is a middle school teacher and every year, some of our (safe, non-allergen, of course!) candy goes to his classroom. He swears nothing will motivate middle schoolers more than the premise of free candy and he’s happy to use the treats as rare treats throughout the year. Maybe a local teacher of yours feels the same way?
One of the easiest ways to deal with leftover candy? Dump it in the freezer if you’re not sure what to do with it yet. It will thaw out when you’re ready to deal with it.
Stash one jar for future use.
I also keep one glass jar’s worth of candy in our cupboard for miscellaneous uses such as: potty training bribes, bribes in general (not ashamed) and family bingo nights.
Like Vie suggests, organizations such as Operation Shoebox, which supports the military, welcomes candy donations to send to service members. Everyone likes candy!
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