In just over two weeks, we will all be wondering, “What in the world do we do with all this Halloween candy?” Am I right?
I can see it now: my 5 kids still in their costumes, staring at their gigantic piles of candy they’ve dumped from their pumpkin bags all over the living room floor. They will be rejoicing, their eyes wide, anticipating which pieces they’ll eat first as my hubs and I quickly inspect it all.
It’s a tradition at our house to watch Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown as they start to dig in. Wrappers end up everywhere, sugar pulsing through their veins. But I don’t mind one bit. It’s only for one night, after all.
A few years ago, we changed our diet and cut out all processed foods and added sugars. I wasn’t sure how to handle Halloween and all the candy. I didn’t want to be the party pooper mom who didn’t let our kids participate on one of their most anticipated nights of the year. But I knew I didn’t want us to consume all that sugar!
Enter the Switch Witch
After talking to a few friends who had adopted similar healthy eating goals, I learned about the Switch Witch – a magical Halloween witch who could come to our home on the night of October 31st and switch my kids’ candy for a gift instead.
I told my kids all about her and asked if it would be something they’d like to “sign up” to do. I was not entirely sure what they’d choose.
After debating between having candy in the house for a few weeks vs. a new toy they could have for a long time, they were ALL onboard with asking the Switch Witch to come to our house and leave them a surprise in place of their candy. I was elated, but still a little unsure how it’d all go down on Halloween night.
After their sugar-indulgence session with Charlie Brown, they put their gigantic pile of Halloween candy back into their pumpkin bags, and left their bags on the kitchen table for the Switch Witch to come. They were so excited – it almost felt like Christmas! The Switch Witch did come, and she’s been coming to our home every Halloween night for the past five years.
After the Switch Witch does her magic, my husband takes the candy to his office the next day and instantly becomes the most popular guy around. And – ta da! – no more Halloween candy to deal with!
Last year I asked in my Facebook group, Jen Bradley MOMS, what they did with the gigantic piles of Halloween candy, and I got some awesome responses. (I’d love you have you join my group for moms. For real, the moms inside this group are AH-MAZING! Just click this link here.) For now, read on for some more great ideas.
Re-Use Candy from Early October Events
If you’re like us, my kids end up trick-or-treating several times throughout October. There’s a church trunk-or-treat, a work trunk-or-treat and the actual Halloween night. I’m a huge fan of these events because we get more use out of our costumes!
I know several families who only buy treats to hand out for events happening before Halloween. The vast majority of the candy their kids receive is combined and passed out for trick-or-treaters on October 31st.
Halloween Christmas Stocking Stuffers
One of my friends keeps some of her kids’ Halloween stash to use as Christmas stocking stuffers. I loved this idea so much, and we did it ourselves last year.
We saved five pieces per child, divided them between fruity and chocolate types, stuck them in the back of the freezer and pulled them out on Christmas Even morning. It worked out great! I was amazed how many Christmas-y wrapped pieces my kids got on Halloween – so saving them for Christmas only seemed natural.
Save Halloween Candy for Gingerbread Houses
Along the same vein, I like the idea of freezing some candy to use for decorating gingerbread houses at Christmastime. I am a die-hard gingerbread house kit buyer – I’ve never made them from scratch, and I have zero desire to do so. But even with the kits that come with a small amount of candy, it’s so nice to have some extra candy decorations to get creative with!
Halloween Candy Buy Back
Several of my mom friends mentioned that they take their kids’ candy to a dentist office offering a candy buy-back program. Completely genius for dentists to do this right!? Often they’ll give the kids $5-10 depending on the amount of candy the kids bring in.
If you have young entrepreneurs who love to make money, this is a simple and logical option that will make everyone happy. Just call ahead or look online to find out which dentist offices are offering this in your town and be sure you know (and follow!) the specific rules and procedures for that office.
Halloween Candy Rationing
One of my good friends shared this: “They have a few each pieces on Halloween night, then it all goes into one big pile. Then they can have a couple pieces a day until we forget about it, at which point, we send it into my husband’s office.”
I don’t know about you, but getting my kids to forget about candy is seriously #goals around here! But I do like the idea of combining it all – consolidating is basically my favorite activity. This is what we did in our pre-Switch Witch days. As long as chocolatey candy and fruity candy were divided from each other, it was smooth sailing around here. Biting into a Snickers that tastes like its part Starburst is not so delightful, in my humble opinion.
Donate Halloween Candy to the Troops
My friend Jessica J. shared the organization Operation Gratitude with me last year. Every year, this organization collects packaged Halloween candy to include in care packages for military members deployed overseas. They run campaigns through larger organizations, and also accept donations from single families as well. As a wife to a someone who has been deployed for a long stretch of time, this speaks straight to my heart. Check out the website here.
This year Operation Gratitude is beginning an initiative to give candy to first responders as well, and are looking for volunteers to deliver the candy in person for at least half of all deliveries! This could be a great way to get your family in the spirit of giving before the holidays.
Share with Those in Need
If you want to give your Halloween candy to non-military related organizations, check out your local homeless shelters to see if they are accepting candy donations. Chances are, they will gladly receive what you are willing to give!
Your kids might also like the idea of giving their candy to Ronald McDonald House charities. This organization seeks to provide care, comfort, and lodging for families with children staying in the hospital. You can find their website here.
I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited for Halloween! I hope having a plan with what to do with all that candy will help you. Which one of these ideas are you going to try? What other ways have you shared or used your kids’ Halloween candy?