Whether you overestimated how much Halloween candy you would need, or your kids worked extra hard for it this year, the end result is the same: a big pile of leftover candy sitting on your dining room table.
You’ve allowed your kids to indulge in their hard-earned loot, now what do you do with it? After having your kids brush their teeth, of course, here are some ideas to whittle away the excess:
- Create a bartering system. Help them learn to make healthy choices while also learning about value. Trade in 1 piece of candy in exchange for choosing what to have for dinner, for example. Or trade in 5 pieces of candy for a higher-valued activity, like getting to go to a fun park or bouncy house.
- Do some educational activities with it. Depending upon the age of your children, have them practice adding and subtracting with smaller candies like M&Ms or skittles. Or put all of the candy in alphabetical order. Or sort them by size, shape, color, etc.
- Create art with it. Melt hard candy like life savers and suckers in the oven to make stained glass artwork. Here’s an idea from the Food Network.
- Assemble candy-themed crafts. There is no shortage of ideas on Pinterest, from candy wreaths to haunted Halloween houses.
- Give it to your dentist. Many dentists participate in a Halloween candy exchange or buyback program. Call your dentist to see if they’re hosting one of these events.
- Donate it to the troops. Holidays are the perfect time to send a care package to a member of the armed services, letting them know they are appreciated. Visit Operation Gratitude’s website for the do’s and don’ts of donating Halloween candy.
From my perspective as a pediatrician, the best part of trick-or-treating is the energy kids expended in collecting their candy. Halloween is a special occasion and kids should be allowed to indulge and appreciate their hard work. However, it’s important for kids to get back on track with their healthy habits, and using some of the ideas above can help get rid of the temptation.