Halloween candy protocol has changed so much since I was a kid. We barely knew anyone with a known food allergy, and my mom certainly wasn’t taking our Halloween candy away. I love(d) her for that! But we did have to check wrappers to ensure no punctures (remember the poison scare?!). So now that I’m a mom and faced with heaps of health knowledge that our parents didn’t have in the 70’s, how do I balance the need to keep sugar out of my kids diet without taking the fun out of Halloween? I’m sure those of you with known food allergies struggle with the same question. Here are a few ideas I’ve picked up over the years:
1. Buy It Back. This is one of my favorites! A dear friend (and previous boss) of mine used Halloween as an opportunity to teach her kids a lesson in business and created a candy-buy-back system. They had a product, she was their target demo, they created a pricing structure and let the haggling begin. The system taught them about operating a business, limited sugar-intake and optimized fun. Win win win! Except for the challenge of not eating it all herself, haha!
2. Send it to the Troops. This is THE ultimate buy back system! Dentists around the nation participate in the The Halloween Candy Buyback operation. They buy candy from children after Halloween and send it in care packages to troops overseas. Visit halloweencandybuyback.com to search for a local participating dentist or for an address where you can ship your candy. Each dentist that participates sets up their own system, i.e. $1 per pound, etc. This is such a great way to brighten a soldiers’ day and will teach your kid about showing appreciation for all that they sacrifice.
3. Candy Trade. If your kids have allergies, let them get together with other kids at the end of the night and trade. I’ve seen kids do this to trade for favorites or sans-peanuts and it works pretty well. Or you could set this up at home and trade for toys or other treats you know they will love.
4. Limit Disbursement. This one is obvious, but don’t give your kid all of the candy at once. Let them choose 1-2 per day that they get at the same time each way. Perhaps set up an incentive system to get more or less, depending on good behavior. If you make it an exciting event, they will learn to savor and appreciate each treat rather than plowing through it, getting a sugar overload and an upset belly. In one to two weeks when they still have a stash they are enjoying, you can use it as an example of immediate versus delayed gratification.