Wait! don’t EAT that Halloween Candy…

Not when there are so many other things you could do with it.  Seriously.

Lately I’ve been pondering the merits of meat, vegetable oil, different oils when heated and even dried fruit.  I could point you to all sorts of conflicting opinions, ideas and even science on the merits or demerits of those foods, but no one would argue that while candy might make a child smile, it’s not good for that sweet little tyke’s body.  Of course, there is always the all things in moderation argument…. but since when do we do things in moderation anymore?  Some houses give out actual little baggies of candy that it would have taken me a whole block to collect when I was a kid…. in the snow…. uphill both ways ;-)

So my poor son faces every Halloween knowing there will be a time limit after which the remaining candy gets thrown out.  He does not over indulge except for the first night so we always end up throwing quite a bit away.  However, the presence and consumption of candy resets the bar for what constitutes a treat, or dessert.  I hate when the bar gets reset.  It takes a lot longer to get that bar inched upwards than it does to knock the sucker right off of it’s holder!

This year we may participate in our local dentist’s Candy Buy Back.  The sign says they are buying Halloween candy on November 1st and 2nd.  I don’t know if they are sending the candy to the troops or not, but “Operation Gratitude of the CA Army National Guard” accepts candy donations from dentists collected in buy backs and sends it overseas to the troops.  It’s a twist on a nutrition minded Robin Hood – take the candy from the most physically vulnerable and send it to grown ups instead ;-)  A nice program all around, don’t you think, especially for the men and women overseas who are away from family and tradition.

So what else can you do with the Halloween candy besides sell it?  Well, you can build stuff out of it using lots of glue so no one will be tempted to eat it.  You’ve heard of gingerbread houses?  Make a Halloween House or tower or igloo or yurt by gluing the Halloween candy together (wrappers will probably stick better!)

How about a read the label contest?  If you can’t pronounce something on the label then you don’t get to eat it?  Okay, okay -that one is mean.  Plus the ‘fun size’ little bits that come in big bags are probably not individually labelled.  Although it wouldn’t hurt to look up some ingredients on-line.  Most companies have their ingredient lists at websites and from there you can check to see what ingredients are found on the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s lists of food to avoid and cut back on.  You will of course find lots of varieties of sugar and also probably some caramel color and food color which are outlawed in Europe because of evidence of bad effects on health.

You can run some science experiments in the backyard if you have no pets.  Place some unwrapped candy outside and see if any creatures will eat it – and see what types of candy last the longest out there.  Some might make it til Spring.  Does that make you want to eat it?  Ever notice there are no expiration dates on candy?

You can do a ‘science experiment’ in the kitchen where you melt a variety of candy in one big pot just to watch the colors and textures swirl around before throwing it away.

You could also do your own buyback where you offer special activities, art supplies, or special time with Mom and/or Dad in exchange for coughing up the sweet goods.  And what about poisoning the neighborhood children?  Well…. this year I am giving away fake, plastic roaches, because who doesn’t need one or two of those?, as well as boxes of raisins, AND I will have one bowl of candy reserved for the older kids because I do not wish to spend November 1st picking toilet paper out of the trees.

P1010133

Last year it was plastic spiders and a good many of the older kids opted for spiders over candy…. after all they were getting that everywhere else!

And lastly, emphasize all of the other non-candy elements of the holiday.  Enjoy carving pumpkins, drinking special teas or a little hot cider, decorating your yard or house, making or planning costumes, walking around the neighborhood together and telling Halloween jokes…..

What did one casket say to the other?…………………..Is that you coffin?

Ba dum bum.         Now THAT’s a little scary ;-)

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10 responses

  1. I love the plastic bug idea! Personally, I feel the whole Halloween celebration has gotten out of hand. As kids, we only visited folks in the immediate neighborhood. To broaden to anything more than that was considered rude and gluttony. So many holidays are overboard. I’m still happy and content to keep it simple. It saves money and stress!

    • I agree – everything is WAY overkill…. although overkill singing, dancing, laughing and hanging out with loved ones doesn’t bother me… it’s the overkill on stuff and ‘being ready’
      I’m ready for some singing, dancing and laughing – how about you?

  2. This was great, I doubt much of the candy left outside would last. My granddaughter dropped a small sugary piece of candy on the ground right outside my door, soon it was covered in sugar ants who devoured it. I refuse to give out candy this year and have purchased a set of Halloween stamps with a little ink pad for the kids along with a rock for each of them that I am painting to look like a pumpkin. Our property is filled with plenty of rocks, today I let the little ones paint their own while they visited. I just sent them outside and told them to pick up a few rocks about the size of their hand, then when too cold to stay outside any longer handed them paints and let them have fun. :-)

    When they stop on Halloween I’ll also have apples with nut butter and other healthy snacks for them to munch on instead.

    I should also add I don’t get any children knocking at my door so handouts aren’t necessary.

    • Those sound like lovely Halloween activities. Painted rocks last a lot longer than painted pumpkins, don’t they? Living away from the trick or treaters gives you a little more control, doesn’t it? Although a surprising number of homes in our neighborhood do not participate – just leave the lights off.

      • Yes, the painted rocks will last longer and being little they are still fascinated with rocks so they will love these. In some ways I miss the trick or treaters as I love to see the costumes and the young ones excitement for the night.

      • I confess that one of my favorite parts is having the variety of ages and costumes come to the door. This year ours is not so little and is going out by himself with a friend, so I’ll get lots of door time, but I’ll miss doing the walk with him!

  3. I remember when I was young (waaaay back when) we would get hand made caramel apples and popcorn balls, not so much manufactured candy. In fact, my next door neighbor gave out nickels! We would trick or treat until we got to the middle of town, probably visiting 10 or 12 houses, give or take. Then at 7 PM all the children would parade down the middle of town in their costumes and at the end of the parade was our local town theater, which would open it’s doors to all children and we got to watch a movie or two for free! Much better than trick or treating for hours! It was safer, we ate all our candy up while watching the movie, and the parents had a few hours free for their own parties! Of course, I lived in a small rural town, population less than 5,000. Those were the days!

    • That sounds fabulous. A town I lived in 10 years ago had a downtown area in which all of the retailers would hand out candy in a 2 block area and the kids would then have a costume contest. Unfortunately more and more adults were hanging around in very scary costumes and it became less a kids’ thing and they stopped doing it. Your experience sounds great!

  4. My daughter sorts out her candy, keeping the chocolate and throwing out the hard or chewy candy. I have a personal vendetta against hard and chewy candy and my conscience has never reconciled with bathing her poor teeth in all that sugar for prolonged periods of time of sucking (hard) or what is left stuck in those molars (chewy) – chocolate at least has some redeeming qualities and if it is dark is almost healthy ;) Anyway, any candy left after a couple of days goes in the freezer and she can have one piece a day as long as she remembers. One year it lasted until December!

    • I love the put it away and ‘if she remembers’ We have also found that candy put away actually is forgotten about whereas if it is in the pantry or somehwere he looks when he wants a snack, he obviously wants the candy! Probably good advice for me as well…. hide the bad stuff!

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