What to do with all the Halloween CandyDr. Bill Thompson | October 31, 2011
Going door to door in Grandview Heights, Ohio to collect candy on trick or treat night is as much a part of the fun Halloween tradition as dressing up in a favorite costume, going to Halloween parties, carving pumpkins and watching scary movies. But after beggars night is over and your youngster has a huge cache of candy to be dealt with, what is the wholesome healthy thing to do with the candy?
In researching this dilemma, I found an article by a dietitian whose husband is a dentist and what she had to say makes sense. “ We wanted our children to experience this kids’ tradition to the fullest…and that included candy. Sure, there are substitutes that kids like – stickers, small plastic toys, bubbles. One year a dental colleague gave out Flintstone toothbrushes that were a big hit! But in no way do these items negate the allure of candy. My advice to parents is just relax…lighten up…and use a touch of common sense. Indulging in candy treats on this one special night (and maybe a handful of days after) is not going to condemn a child to a life sentence of sugar addiction. The more focus you put on forbidding children to have candy, the stronger their desire to have it.”
So when your child is sitting there with 5, 10 or more pounds of candy, is it prudent to let them consume it all? Probably not. So after some nutritional education that goes something like: “Suzie” or “Sammy, it just isn’t good for your body to consume 10 pounds of fat and sugar in a short period of time, so let’s figure out which are your favorites and agree on how much you should keep”. My experience has been that out of all the candy that’s in the beggars night haul, most are not “gotta have it” items. Narrowing the candy down to ten or fifteen pieces over the next few days should not be a huge deal. In the end, they get to dress up, trick or treat, and indulge in their Halloween candy within acceptable limits.
So what to do with the rest of the candy? One option is donating the candy to the troops overseas. They like the candy and also hand it out to the children that they interact with. The contact information is www.operationgratitude.com . A Wall Street Journal article suggested food pantries and shelters as possible places to donate, but be sure to call ahead to be sure candy donations are being accepted.