Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween and the never-ending stream of candy and sugar

The constant availability of sugar in many forms has to be a large part of the current obesity epidemic. Everywhere we go, someone is offering Lavender or all of us candy, a cookie, or some other flour- or sugar-based item.   It makes me crazy.  Food does not need to be a part of every activity in which we participate!

And now it's nearly Halloween, just one of the sugar-dominated holidays of winter.   The costume is the biggest fun, but my little trick-or-treater is sure to bring home a lot of stuff that none of us needs.

What to do with all that candy? 
Well, first... I need to come up with a way of separating it from Lavender.  My thoughts:
  • candy for 2 days
  • one piece of candy each day for a week
  • fill a small container with favorites
  • pick a few pieces, trade the rest for a family dinner at kid-chosen restaurant
  • pick a few pieces, trade the rest for a favorite homemade dessert that we will make
  • parent buys the candy at a per-pound or per-piece rate
  • kids can choose from these options but not "candy until it's gone."  This is probably the route I'll take this year.  Last year, I offered to buy the candy but she wanted nothing to do with that - however, this year, she is much more interested in money.
and then, what to do with the rest? 
  • Give the first-purged candy to the next kids who come to the door.
  • Conduct candy experiments.
  • Make decorations for Thanksgiving and Christmas (gingerbread house) or just let the kids make some art. Bonus result of seeing the candy as a not-food item.
  • Some dentists participate in this buyback program.
  • Our food shelf collects it.  I have mixed feelings about that.  
  • Give it to Herb to take to work.
  • Just pitch it.  Yes, it's a waste of resources, but using it doesn't make it healthier for anyone.
How can we limit our own participation in the annual tooth decay and environmental damage?  Instead of candy, how about 'treating:'
  • All those random plastic young-kid toys that entered your house to be played with once, that you would otherwise throw away - let someone else enjoy them for the day.
  • Pencils, regular or mechanical, or pens.
  • Small spiral notebooks
  • Raisins (these are in recyclable boxes, too)
  • Microwave popcorn (avoid the artificial, chemical "butter") or not-horrible chips, if you find some, although these are in throwaway packaging
  • Sunflower seeds (individually packaged)
  • Bookmarks


  1. One teacher collects Halloween candy the following week and donates it to needy kids. I like the idea of non-candy treats. One year, I had Halloween pencils along with candy and the pencils were really popular and inexpensive! I will try that next year!

  2. We started creating candy experiments as one way to get rid of the sugar overload. The first year, my kids were so crazy about the experiments that the whole Halloween haul disappeared in a few days. This year they were more possessive of their candy...but only until Thanksgiving. They haven't asked for a single piece for a month, even though it's still on the counter (I need to sort it into my experiment candy collection or we get swamped in candy). Hope you enjoy experiments!